A study of Stastny
Slovak centre on the radar of Hay, Bonner
By Marc Weber, The Province
December 27, 2010
While the country fixates on Canada's world junior team, Vancouver Giants brass will be scoping out Team Slovakia.
That's because Slovak centre Andrej Stastny will join the Giants after the tournament and this is the first good look head coach Don Hay and general manager Scott Bonner will get of the 19-year-old.
"We intend on watching all the Slovak world junior games," Bonner said. "Ritch Winter [Stastny's agent] has indicated that Andrej is free to join us after the tournament and gaining a free player with that experience could really help our lineup."
Vancouver added Stastny to their protected list on Oct. 4 after the Saskatoon Blades dropped him.
WHL teams can have two import players and a spot opened up with the Giants when Swede Casper Carning quit the team early on.
Stastny is no relation to the well-known NHL brothers, Peter, Paul and Anton.
Hay and Bonner aren't sure yet what they have in the young forward and hope to gain some insight over the 10-day world junior tournament.
At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, they know they're getting some much-needed size, and he can also play on the wing, but how much he'll be able to help offensively isn't clear.
Stastny had three points in six world junior games last year. Aside from playing with the national junior team, he's been with HK Dukla Trencin, a pro team in Slovakia.
Aside from figuring out where Stastny fits in, Bonner has some big decisions to consider with his current group.
The WHL trade deadline is two weeks away on Jan. 10 and Vancouver (16-14-1-4) lost four of five games heading into the Christmas break, including a 9-1 defeat in Tri-City, where, at least, the team didn't go quietly, racking up 171 penalty minutes.
Vancouver has dropped to third in a tight B.C. Division.
Bonner will have plenty of opportunities to evaluate the situation: the Giants play five games in seven nights, starting tonight at home to the Kamloops Blazers (7 p.m., AM 650).
Top defenceman David Musil remains out indefinitely after blocking a shot on Dec. 8, but blueliner Zach Hodder, out all season with a shoulder injury, could play his first game.
The 17-year-old from Delta had eight points in 25 games last season and should provide an offensive boost from the back end.
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