Out of the System: Polasek, We Hardly Knew Ye

Josh W
December 31 2013 12:18PM


Image Courtesy of CBC

In a surprise move it was recently reported that the Canucks have placed prospect defenceman Adam Polasek on unconditional waivers to have him bought out.  While there is little in terms of reports on this, it would appear to be a similar situation to Zack Hamill where Polasek had his contract bought out as he was not happy sitting in the ECHL and is looking to play elsewhere. 

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While this happened fairly quietly, it appears that Polasek has been cut early, from his three year contract, which brings the Canucks down to 48 contracts (with the limit being 50). This gives the Canucks some more freedom at the trade deadline, or to possibly sign an NCAA player at the end of the year (i.e. LaBate or Hutton), but also gave them the chance to roll the dice on Dane Fox.

Polasek started his career playing for the Czech U18 league before being drafted at 19th overall in the CHL Import Draft with the PEI Rockets, where he played for two years. In 2011-2012 he spent the year with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. Last year he spent his time split between the AHL and ECHL and this year he has mostly played in the ECHL. It appears he has fallen to 5th on the prospect depth chart behind Corrado, Andersson, Tommernes and Sauve which might be an indication of what the Canucks think of him long term, and why he is no longer happy.

This year Polasek played 16 games with the KWings registering 1 goal and 1 assist.  In 16 games he has 25 SOG. The Canucks still have another defencemen down there, Blain, who Hockey's Future has ranked higher than Polasek. Polasek did play 2 games in the AHL this year, only being on the ice for 1 goal against so we can't draw much from that. 

Some early descriptions on Polasek from Hockey's Future after his 09-10 season:

Listed at 6'2, 187 pounds, Polasek looks bigger both on and off the ice. The Czech has a hard-hitting, and effective, approach to defense. But his skill should not be overlooked. He skates well, has a hard and accurate slapshot, and makes good reads.  Polasek was steady and dependable in his own end and he could quickly read the play and make moves to intercept. Strong on his skates, the 18-year-old has plenty of room to grow.

And from McKeen's Hockey:

A) He has produced some decent numbers in PEI but he is not really an offensive defenseman. I feel his point totals is mostly based on the fact that he played a lot of minutes on a very average PEI team as they didn't really have anyone else who can play that role. On many teams, he would not have seen first unit power-play time. B) His physical play is rather good. He started his QMJHL career having lost some of it but he has much improved that aspect of his game as he gained more experience. He doesn't take himself out of position to do so and he doesn't draw too many penalties.  C) Not sure how good his english is but he doesn't seem very vocal on the ice or bench with his teammates or the coaching staff. D) I don't see him as an NHL defenseman. He does a few things well but I don't see what he does well enough to get him a role in the big leagues. If he doesn make it, he is a few years away still.

While the Charlottetown Guardian had this to say about Polasek:

[Polasek is] friendly, a good interview, very accessible from a journalist's standpoint. A joker with the guys, not overly serious, but dedicated toward hockey. Put in the extra time working out, staying after practice when he could. Seemed like a good teammate. Adapted to the North America lifestyle. By his second year, he was fluent in English. Good for a kid that spoke almost no English as a rookie. On the ice, he played physical and could skate end to end when the coaching staff turned him loose.

And Jason Shaver, the play by play guy of the Chicago Wolves described him, after his first season with the Wolves:

He was the youngest defenseman by far. When Tanev was sent down, he didn’t get a ton of ice time

What I really like him is he was an even or plus player in almost every game and the thing that stuck out to me the most was he wasn’t getting scored on. He was the 5th/6th guy, so what else do you want?

Here's a moment we can remember Polasek from.

Going back and looking at the 2010 Draft Class for the Vancouver Canucks.. it was not a good one. The Canucks did not even make a pick until the fourth round, so obviously they were behind the eight-ball to begin with, but now that Polasek is gone the Canucks only have two picks left in their system from that year (Patrick McNally and Alex Friesen). McNally is looking to be a good pick down in Harvard while Friesen has managed to only play five games in Utica this year. With this chapter of Polasek's history coming to a close, it's always sad to see another prospect not work out.  He's a good hockey player, but unfortunately, it appears that he just isn't good enough.

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I am a Van Fan in Bytown. Living in Ottawa for work, I research Sports Analytics and Machine Learning at the University of Ottawa. I play hockey as well as a timbit but I compete in rowing with hopes of 2016 Olympic Gold. Follow me on twitter at @joshweissbock and feel free to give me a shout.
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#1 Fred-65
December 31 2013, 12:37PM
Trash it!
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I cannot for the life of me understand how or why they re-signed Sauve and then release Polasek. Of the two it seems like Polasek was the better but maybe there's more personal reasons. For what ever reason he was never given much of a chnace.A big player that played big. I'm confused

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#2 elvis15
December 31 2013, 01:32PM
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Just watching that Polasek/Teubert clip and remembering MacTavish was coaching the Wolves at the time, I wonder if perhaps a deal to get Polasek into their system wasn't an option. He did seem to take a step back this year so maybe that factored in any trade options but perhaps Polasek really just wanted to go back to Europe.

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#3 elvis15
December 31 2013, 01:34PM
Trash it!
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props

@Fred-65

Both players are solid defensively but not showing a ton of upside to be a potential NHL career. They both play with size and physicality and tend to be even or better players many nights, so it's a bit of a toss up for who to pick. They tried them both this year and it may be we don't see either again after this season ends.

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