Monday, May 30, 2011

Jeřábek and Přibyl taken in KHL draft

The KHL held its third annual junior draft on Saturday. Two Czechs were among the 135 players selected: Jakub Jeřábek of Plzeň 1929 and Daniel Přibyl of Sparta Praha.

Jakub Jeřábek could play for the KHL's Lev
Poprad next season. Photo: Photo: Rick
Stewart, Getty Images North America.
Jeřábek was taken 109th overal by Lev Poprad, the expansion club that will begin play in Northern Slovakia this season. He was Lev's fourth selection. Jeřábek, who just turned 20 in May, was a mainstay on the Plzeň pro club's defence this past season, and played well enough to earn a spot in the LG Games in Sweden, playing for the Czech national team. He proved his value in the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, where he was the Czech team's captain and best player.

Přibyl was taken 17 spots later, at 126, by Severstal Cherepovets. The 18-year-old played 3 games in the Tipsport Extraliga this past season, but spent the majority of the year in the Junior Extraliga, where he recorded 58 points in 41 games, leading Sparta to first place in the standings. The junior Sparta team was knocked out in the semifinal by Karlovy Vary, but that wasn't due to a lack of production from Přibyl, who recorded 5 points in 4 games. He scored the tying goal late and assisted on the overtime winner in the quarterfinal clincher against Litvínov.  He is projected to be a middle-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and considered a top candidate to be on next year's Czech World Junior team.

Considering his age, the higher level of competition he played this past season, and due to the fact he was chosen by the Poprad club, which is by far the closest team to home, distance-wise, Jeřábek seems like a much safer bet to make the jump straight to the KHL this upcoming season.

That sentiment was shared by the team's head coach, Czech Radim Rulík, who stated, "(Slovak Marek) Tvrdoň and Jeřábek very much want to play in the KHL, therefore there is a chance that they could appear on our team as early as next year. I think that Jeřábek could turn out to be the discovery of the year."

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