Latest Features

Hajek, Libor

AHL Game Night: 3-29-17 Crunch at Senators

Roller coaster goes back up.


Mike McKenna allowed 1 goal on 21 shots for the win, making that 2 quality starts in his last 3 outings, by my count. Getting better.

First Period
7:06 BNG Akeson (19), (White, Nehring)(PP)

Second Period
1:02 SYR Peca (11), (Taormina, Thomas)
2:22 SYR Kurtz (4), (Taormina)
15:31 SYR Bournival (7), (unassisted)

Third Period
0:31 SYR Condra (13), (Brodeur, Koekkoek)
10:07 SYR Lynch (4), (Brodeur, Koekkoek)
19:17 SYR Hajek (1), (Richard)

Matt Taormina, Slater Koekkoek, and Mathieu Broduer were the game's three stars, as the Crunch D showed out tonight. That included Libor Hajek notching his first pro goal, as well.

Syracuse moves back into a tie with the Toronto Marlies at 79 points atop the North Division, with Toronto holding a 4 game lead in ROW for the tiebreaker.

Box score from

Hajek Makes Pro Debut in Crunch's Loss to Penguins

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Libor Hajek hopped over the boards for the first shift roughly 1:20 into the game.

The 19-year-old defenseman described the feeling simply. “Just nervous. That’s it.”

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2016 second round draft pick made his pro debut with the Crunch, but Syracuse was outmatched by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-1, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

“Libor was good. I like the way he skated,” Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said. “Tough night for him. It’s tough to start your career in a game like this. Overall, I thought he did some good things.”

Bolts Ink Hajek to Entry Level Deal

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Libor Hajek (LEE-bohr, HIGH-ak) to a three-year, two-way entry level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Hajek, 19, skated in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League this season, recording four goals and 26 points to go along with 81 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound defenseman ranked second on the Blades for penalty minutes. Hajek also ranked second among all Saskatoon defensemen for assists (22) and points.

The Smrcek, Czech Republic native has appeared in 134 career WHL games, all with Saskatoon over the past two seasons, posting seven goals and 52 points to go along with 157 penalty minutes. He led all Saskatoon rookies for points and assists with 23 during the 2015-16 season. Hajek was selected second overall at the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Hajek was originally drafted by the Lightning in the second round, 37th overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft.

Hajek Signs With Lightning, Will Join Crunch

By Jeremy Houghtaling

Libor Hajek signed a three-year entry level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday.

The defenseman, who was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Lightning after they dealt Anthony DeAngelo to the Arizona Coyotes for the pick, wrapped up his second season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League last weekend.

Hajek also signed an amateur tryout with Syracuse, and Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx said he is expected to practice with Syracuse Wednesday.

“I saw Libor in camp in September. He's a good, young defenseman who skates well,” Groulx said of the 6-2, 202-pounder. “We’ll see how it plays out with him. We’ve got to see him in practice first, and obviously it’s a huge adjustment playing against junior and against men.”

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9-27-16 Hurricanes at Lightning

Valiant Third Period comeback bid by Junior Lightning gives hope for the future.


Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 2 goals on 23 shots before giving way to Adam Wilcox, who allowed 1 goal on 15 shots for ye old backdoor loss. It was a respectable outing for both netminders who get additional time thanks to the World Cup of Hockey.

First Period
19:07 CAR Br. Sutter (1), (Foegele)

Second Period
10:26 CAR Wallmark (1), (Kuokkanen)
11:28 CAR Skinner (1), (Stempniak, Pesce)

Third Period
11:28 TB Point (1), (Johnson, Hajek)
18:41 TB Imama (1), (Vermin, Cerelli)

Brayden Point was the game's third star.

This is going to be a strange camp/preseason because of it being chopped up by the WCOH. The silver lining is some extra time for potential future contributors like Point, who didn't embarrass themselves tonight. Among those prospects, the ice time was as follows, revealing more who the organization wanted to take a long early look at for the future than who they trust and are thinking about from an NHL roster standpoint for this season...


Brett Howden was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 17:50. He was also 44% on 9 draws.

Point had a goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 15:38. He was also 57% on 7 draws.

Anthony Cirelli had a helper and 1 shot in 15:36. He was also 39% on 18 draws.

Joel Vermin had a helper and was +1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 15:19.

Mathieu Joseph had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:04.

Dennis Yan had 2 penalty minutes in 12:40.

Boko Imama had 1 goal, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 10:28. He also killed 0 Hurricanes with his fists... this time.

Libor Hajek had a helper and was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in a hefty 20:45.

Luke Witkowski was -1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:59.

Matthew Spencer was -1 with 4 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 18:51.

Slater Koekkoek had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 16:23.

Box score and extended statistics from

Second Round, 37th Overall, D Libor Hajek

Name: Libor Hajek
Position: Defense
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 196 lbs.
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: 04 FEB 98
Club: Saskatoon (WHL)

Saskatoon (WHL), 69 GP, 3-23-26, 76 PIM

Scouting Comments:
"He’s a bigger body, a very solid two-way player ... Libor Hajek was a 'safer bet' to be able to adapt both offensively and defensively to NHL than DeAngelo ... You watch Libor Hajek play on a really weak Saskatoon team and he just plays as hard as he can every shift all night long and his coach, who has just left the team to take an assistant position in Buffalo, couldn't say enough good things about him through the course of the year. On a weak team, he showed up and competed hard against the best players in the league every night when he could have folded his tent." - Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray

Libor Hajek


Smrcek, CZE
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2 (#37) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft
Last Team: 
Saskatoon (WHL)
Projects As: 
Top-4 2-way defenseman

Draft Info

Draft Status: 
Draft Year: 
Drafted By: 
Tampa Bay Lightning
Pick No.: 
Draft Team: 
Saskatoon (WHL)


Contract Status: 
Waiver Status: 
Waiver Exempt
Signing Date: 
Contract Type: 
Entry-level w/slide
Contract Length: 
3 years
Cap Number: 
$864 167
Contract Start Year: 
Contract End Year: 
Contract End Status: 
$742 500
$925 000
$925 000


expected to be assigned to Saskatoon for 2017-18 with ELC slide to 2018-19


  • CHL Top Prospect Game


  • Czech Bronze Medal
  • Hlinka Memorial Silver Medal


  • Czech U16 Champion


Hajek has a been a prospect on scouts' watch list for some time, playing in the Czech top league as a 16-year-old. He made the jump to the CHL in 2015-2016, joining the struggling Saskatoon Blades. Hajek played an aggressive game to start his North American career, but settled into a defense-first role as the year went on based on team need. Despite the weak team around him, Hajek earned high praise for his effort from everyone associated with the team.

Scouting Report

Scouting Comments: 

"He’s a bigger body, a very solid two-way player ... Libor Hajek was a 'safer bet' to be able to adapt both offensively and defensively to NHL than DeAngelo ... You watch Libor Hajek play on a really weak Saskatoon team and he just plays as hard as he can every shift all night long and his coach, who has just left the team to take an assistant position in Buffalo, couldn't say enough good things about him through the course of the year. On a weak team, he showed up and competed hard against the best players in the league every night when he could have folded his tent." - Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting Al Murray

"In his first season in the WHL Libor was a bright spot in a rather disappointing season for the young Saskatoon
Blades. Libor stands out as a strong, smooth skating defenseman who impacts the game on both sides of the puck. He he has very good acceleration and can explode off a stand-still. His first couple steps are very good as is his edge control and this allows him to have great escape ability in his own end as well to be a threat offensively as he can get up ice and join the rush. Hajek can also surprise with a move in the offensive zone where his quick feet allow him to quickly gain some space forward and try to make a play with the puck on his stick before the defense sets up into position again. Hajek is capable of getting his shots on the net but isn’t a big threat there, his mobility and offense that springs from transition is more impressive than his offense from the point.

"Hajek is a strong player that has great balance and agility and uses this to win puck battles along the wall, although he still needs to add some polish to his physicality as he can be prone to chasing the play a bit and losing his positioning in the process. Hajek is a strong defenseman in transition as he uses his size and skating to keep opponents to outside. He can also be the defenseman that recovers in time if his team turns the puck over in a dangerous position. Hajek is very hard to beat one on one and is very steady on odd man opportunities. If the forward dumps the puck past him, he also has the skating ability and size to win the race, get it back under control and start the transition the other way.

"Libor needs to work on being more consistent from shift to shift if he is going to make the jump to the next level. We found that at times he would get caught chasing the play. He projects as a mobile two-way defenseman with size that will probably lean more towards the defensive side of it at the pro-level. That said, Hajek not only already is more than a defensive defenseman, he also has enough offensive tools to develop the offensive part of his game further as he moves forward." --'s Black Book

"He has a chance to be a first rounder. He really impressed me with his feet. This kid is mobile." - HP Scout Mark Edwards

"Powerful, athletic frame produces a strong stride with great pop off his edges and fantastic lateral agility. Also gives him leverage on hits, and he’s able to knock opponents off the puck easily. Frequently catches opposing players with their heads down in open ice. Spins off checks in own zone to prevent getting taken out of the play. Uses forceful physical game to contain defensively. Started the season off constantly pinching aggressively and forcing the play, but began playing more conservatively in second half; still trying to find the right balance as he learns nuances of smaller ice. Outstanding footwork makes him hard to beat 1-on-1. Accurate breakout passer hits targets in motion. Feet are always in rhythm with hands when carrying the puck. Playing on a weak, lifeless club has hampered his extroverted style - seemed to get discouraged and showed growing pains adjusting."

Projection: Dependable #4 defensive rearguard.
Style compares to: Niklas Hjalmarsson
-- Red Line Report

"Hajek has been a top prospect for a few years. He was one of the top 16-year-old players in recent memory to be a regular in the top Czech league, and he was one of Saskatoon's best players this season. Hajek is a fantastic skater, one of the very best in this draft class. He closes his gaps well on his checks, evades pressure and is a threat offensively by
activating off the point or jumping into the rush. He moves the puck efficiently, shows some creativity on the power
play and is a steady positional player. He is also able to defend his off-wing very effectively. Hajek's hands aren't great,
but his IQ lets him get his points, as he opens lanes so well with timing, patience and skating ability. Hajek has some
room on his frame to bulk up, and he shows the intangibles to battle for pucks and throw his weight around." -- Corey Pronman, ESPN


Owns a very projectable frame (6-2) and has great mobility. He can play a strong, shutdown role with some physicality. Has the raw tools to produce points, but hasn't been able to showcase that side of his game with much success so far.


Must fill out his frame in order to maximize output at the NHL level. Must add offense to be a formidable top-4 defenseman who can play more than a shut-down role.


Quality top-4, 2-way defenseman.


Player statistics powered by

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2010-2011 HCM Warrior Brno U16Czech U16 2- - -- -|        
  HC Kometa Brno U16Czech U163 0 11 2|        
 2011-2012 HC Kometa Brno U16Czech U1632 4 610 12|        
  HC Kometa Brno U18Czech U182 0 00 0|        
 2012-2013 HC Kometa Brno U16Czech U164 0 11 2|Playoffs5 0 00
  HC Kometa Brno U18Czech U1843 1 34 57|Playoffs3 0 11
  Czech Republic U16 (all)International-Jr17 0 22 18|        
 2013-2014 HC Kometa Brno U18Czech U1832 4 1418 24|Playoffs10 0 77
  HC Kometa Brno U20Czech U2013 0 11 10|        
  Czech Republic U17WHC-175 0 11 4|        
  Czech Republic U17 (all)International-Jr24 1 34 10|        
 2014-2015 HC Kometa Brno U18Czech U182 1 23 4|        
  HC Kometa Brno U20Czech U2044 1 910 62|Playoffs1 0 00
  HC Kometa BrnoCzech17 0 11 2|Playoffs7 0 00
  Czech Republic U18Hlinka Memorial5 0 11 4|        
  Czech Republic U18WJC-185 1 01 4|        
  Czech Republic U18 (all)International-Jr24 2 13 14|        
 2015-2016 Saskatoon BladesWHL69 3 2326 76|        
  Czech Republic U18WJC-185 0 22 6|        
  Czech Republic U18Hlinka Memorial4 0 11 4|        
  Czech Republic U18 (all)International-Jr10 0 33 12|        
 2016-2017 Saskatoon BladesWHL65 4 2226 81|        
  Syracuse CrunchAHL8 1 01 4|        
  Czech Republic U20 (all)International-Jr2 0 00 0|        
 2017-2018 Saskatoon BladesWHL- - -- -|        

Player statistics ©
Syndicate content