Leader-Post article (Volek still in Pats' plans)June 5 2012 at 7:22 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Volek still in Pats' plans
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
June 4, 2012
The Regina Pats are prepared to forgive and forget in the wake of Dominik Volek's flirtation with a Swedish junior team.
In fact, the Pats are operating under the assumption that the talented Czech forward will be back in Regina next season and take his place as a key member of the team.
"Right now nothing has changed," said GM Chad Lang, whose team wrapped up its spring prospects camp at the Co-operators Centre on Sunday. "He hasn't signed over in Europe. I've had two conversations with his agent and his representation from over here. We're still planning to go ahead that he'll be returning here."
It was announced on May 16 that Volek had signed with Färjestad Karlstad, a team in Sweden's junior elite league. Although Volek's name still appears on the club's roster, the Pats insist it's not a done deal and - even if it was - there's nothing to prevent him from returning to Regina.
"I talked with his agent (his uncle, Ales) and his dad (David, a former New York Islander)," said Lang. "There was an opportunity and an option for him (to sign in Sweden). There's a relationship between his father and the owner of that hockey club. I think (the team) got a little excited when he said they'd consider it an option. Down in Europe is no different than down here, we all fight for players. They wanted to show they're the ones who are getting him as far as competing within those European teams. We've been assured there has been no signing over there. I have not received any documentation from (the International Ice Hockey Federation) indicating he has signed or any of that. You have to take their word for it.
"They were adamant in both our conference calls that there has been no agreement signed."
Volek is regarded as a possible late pick in this year's NHL entry draft, slated for June 22-23 in Pittsburgh. Central Scouting ranks him 163rd out of the top 210 North American-based skaters eligible for the draft - down from 95th at midseason - after notching 14 goals and 32 points in 70 games as a WHL rookie last season.
Based upon what the Pats have seen from Volek - and the history of European players taking a big step forward in their second WHL season - Lang believes the best is yet to come, a sentiment he expressed during recent talks with Volek's representation.
"Our discussions went very well," added Lang. "We talked about the importance of him and the importance of where we are as a group and the group we talked about building around. He's a piece of that. I'm anticipating that he'll be back."
Assuming Volek's status remains unchanged, the Pats will make one selection in the June 27 import draft to replace defenceman Martin Marincin, who - barring an NHL lockout - is expected to play pro in the Edmonton Oilers' system.
Regina is slated to pick 32nd out of 60 teams in the opening round.
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