Radek Faksa came into the 2012-2013 season as one of the highest ranked Dallas Stars prospects and one that was expected to do good things in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers. He had got 66 points in 62 games in his rookie season in the OHL and in North America. It was hoped that he would take a step forward in his development, which never materialised.
Faksa got off to a slow start with the Kitchener Rangers and suffered numerous injuries, including an MCL strain, reducing the promising young centreman to 39 games in the regular season. He got 32 points in those 39 games and generally wasn't a huge offensive threat. His offensive development didn't regress but it didn't take any step forward either. Offensively it was a disappointment.
The one positive when it came to Faksa's game last season was the fact that his defensive game continued to progress and he was relied upon by the Kitchener Rangers to do lots of defensive work, on a team renown for its defence, and when playing for the Czech team at the WJC he provided the defence that was expected of him. Again the Czech team wanted offensive production as well but it just never appeared.
I've scaled back my expectations for this season and for his NHL potential overall because I think expectations were too high following the 2012 Draft. I believe Radek Faksa has the talent to be a second line centre but I think its far more likely that if he makes the NHL he will end up being a pretty good third line centre who can take those heavy defensive minutes and chip in offensively a bit.
So what are my expectations for Radek Faksa?
I still hold a hope that Faksa takes that step forward offensively and finishes the OHL season with at least a point per game. I'd like it if he didn't get another injury like that MCL which can really hurt a player that young's development. In the 68 game OHL season I'd like for him to get at least 75 points. Or something along the lines of a 1.2 point per game pace.
Depending upon his OHL teams performance this season he could be joining the Texas Stars at the end of the season to join the pros. While I doubt he makes a huge impact straight away, especially considering the depth in front of him, I'd hope that he made an impressive, maybe not offensively but with his defensive work.
"He'll spend the summer here with us (training), go to Traverse City (for the NHL Prospects Tournament), go to training camp and then go back to Kitchener, which is good because that's where he should be," said Jackson. "He's going to get a lot of ice there, he and the coach have a good relationship and I suspect he will take a big step next year."
Lots of ice time, a healthy season and his brief experience of pro life should help next season be one in which he takes that step forward offensively in order to reach his potential. Its his final season in the OHL, I hope he makes it a good one.