This is Josef Hrabel. The Edmonton Oilers signed him today. It’s a two-way contract and there’s no doubt he’s going to spend some time in the AHL but the math says this is a terribly interesting player.
Some of us have been following him for some time and Gabriel Desjardins’ magic NHL equivalencies tool suggested he might be a player some time ago.
Here’s a few comments from this blog over the last few months:
- December 2006: D Jozef Hrabel, Vsetin (CZE) 20gp, 3-7-10. Last season with the same team he went 33gp, 3-9-12 so he’s improving his stats. He’s a smooth skating defender who makes a nice outlet pass, more finesse and positioning than rocket shot and heavy hitter. He is 21 years old and playing in a very good league.
- June 2007: Skilled puck mover who lacks the size NHL teams look for but may find a career anyway.
- May 2008: The math has been a fan of this guy from the start and I bet you he makes some noise somewhere. He’ll be a free agent June 1.
He’s played forever in quality leagues and has been able to put up numbers. We won’t know until we see him just how slight he is (listed on the Oilers site as being 6-1, 180 up from 6-0, 165 on draft day) and how well he moves the puck but he’s survived 97 Czech Elite and 76 RSL games so far and he is not yet 23 years old.
Here are the Desjardins numbers for 07-08 for Oilers blueline prospects:
- Cody Wild (20) 4-19-23
- Jeff Petry (20) 2-17-19
- Sebastien Bisaillon (20) 6-13-19
- Taylor Chorney (20) 2-17-19
- Josef Hrabel (22) 4-12-16
- Mathieu Roy (24) 3-11-14
- Danny Syvret (22) 1-11-12
- Theo Peckham (19) 4-5-9
- Bryan Young (21) 0-4-4
- Alex Plante (18) 1-1-2
With all that pro experience and a nice track record over a few years, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get a cup of coffee or more in the show next season. Certainly that AHL team is going to have some wonderful prospects in 08-09, among them Peckham, Bisaillon, Wild and now Hrabel.
EDIT TO ADD: I post this as soon as the Al Gore powered up and didn’t see the comments by posters below. A few additional points:
- I don’t think Taylor Chorney factors into the 08-09 roster at this point. He’s unsigned and coming off an injury. Should he sign we can talk about him but the young man is burning daylight for next winter.
- I don’t think this signing alone signals that Greene or Smid may be moved, but Dennis (in the thread below) makes some excellent points. Quoting his post: I’m thinking in light of this signing one of Smid or Greene are gone at the draft for a pick or one of smid or greene will be packaged for an experienced forward or D. I think you’re looking for a guy with say two years left on his pact; which means you stop paying him just at the time you start to play Gagner and Cogliano- Pitkanen’s out the door.
Finally, a word here for Frank Musil. This has to feel good. For a guy who basically stands on the sidelines every draft day and acts like the 5th Beatle this is a day for a cold beer and a satisfied mind.