CA Prospect Profiles: Adam Polasek

Adam Polasek scored 20 goals in 2 seasons with PEI. And he scored an entry-level contract in April.
But is he NHL material?
(Photo courtesy PEI Rocket/QMJHL)

Adam Polasek is a big, physical defenseman who put up some impressive-looking numbers in the QMJHL.

In fact, he did enough to impress the Canucks brass to earn himself a three-year, entry-level contract, signed this past April.

But is Adam Polasek big enough and physical enough to be an NHL defenseman?

Adam Polasek made a quick leap up from play U18 in his native Czech Republic to playing in the Q. Polasek had two impressive seasons with the U18 and U20 teams for HC Vitkovice, scoring 20 points in 39 games in the 08-09 season. Looking onward to playing in North America, he was taken 19th overall in the CHL import draft by the PEI Rocket of the QMJHL. Once he arrived in Canada, the great numbers continued.

At first glance, Adam Polasek had some great stats in his two seasons in Canadian major junior hockey.

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Prince Edward Island Rocket QMJHL 66 13 28 41 91 -3 5 0 0 0 2
2010-11 Prince Edward Island Rocket QMJHL 61 7 32 39 59 0 5 0 0 0 8

In 127 games, Polasek netted 20 goals, added 60 assists for 80 points. Not bad, right? But then you have to remember that he played for the PEI Rocket, who are a below-average team without much in the way of offensive talent.

Here’s what Hockey’s Future had to say about Polasek after the 09-10 season with PEI.

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.

It seemed like everything was pointing in the right direction for Polasek. The problem is that his numbers were inflated on a bad team and he played out of position on the first unit power play.

How would his numbers project out into the AHL or even the NHL?

Adam Polasek NHL equivalency                  
Year QMJHL G QMJHL A QMJHL Pts eq. AHL G eq. AHL A eq. AHL Pts eq. NHL G eq. NHL A eq. NHL Pts
2010 16.15 34.72 50.84 6.62 14.24 20.84 4.52 9.72 14.24
2011 9.41 39.68 48.36 3.86 16.27 19.83 2.63 11.11 13.54
Total 25.56 74.4 99.2 10.48 30.51 40.67 7.15 20.83 27.78

So the bottom line is that his numbers would project out to an average of 5G 15A for 20 Pts in an AHL season, or 3G 10A for 13 Pts in an NHL season (projected over an 82 game season). Those numbers wouldn’t exactly set the world on fire. But they’re okay. That would project out to be the same as Keith Ballard’s numbers last season. And Keith Ballard had the worst season he’s ever had. Or more appropriately, the numbers would be in line with what Aaron Rome put up in 2010-11. And Rome, a career 7th defenseman, only saw as much ice-time as he did because the Canucks defense was a MASH unit all season long.

Rick Springhetti from McKeen’s Hockey had some very interesting insight on Polasek.

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.

This coincides with Hockey’s Future’s prospect grade assessment of Polasek as a borderline NHL defenseman, and possibly a career minor leaguer. And before we jump to conclusions about the entry level contract he just signed in April, let’s remember that Polasek turned 20 in July and therefore couldn’t have continued playing in major junior. His next stop had to be a pro contract, or the Canucks risked losing a half-decent defensive prospect to return home to play in Europe.

Polasek is another in a long list of defensive prospects for the Canucks. He’ll have to hurdle quite a few players, like Connauton, Tanev, Sauve, McNally, Parent and Sulzer. Next season could be a very important one for Polasek. With a new contract and a chance to play pro hockey in North America, he has the potential to impress.

Will his game transition well from junior to pro? Will he take advantage of his size? While it looks like he’s projecting to be an AHL’er, he has some potential. Next season will prove just how much potential he has.