Adam Polasek is a big, rugged defenceman who can move the puck and doesn’t mind (heck he excels at) the rough stuff. What’s not to like?
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Adam Polasek, the Czech defenceman drafted in 2010 by the Canucks, is known as a tough defender with good puck skills. Although he does everything well, he doesn’t excel in any particular area. Nonetheless, even going back to his QMJHL days in Charlottetown, his work ethic drew praise.
From Charles Reid of the Charlottetown Guardian:
[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.
Even going back to his days as captain of the Czech U18 team, scouts were saying similar things. Polasek would draw praise for his willingness to battle on the boards and his ability to control the puck, but as with many prospects, there were concerns about his foot speed (concerns which, persist to this day).
When we spoke with Jason Shaver, the play-by-play caller and "voice" of the Chicago Wolves, he was very complimentary of Polasek’s performance last season:
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?
Polasek only got into 46 games this past season, but in his sophmore campaign in the AHL he looks to be relied upon to play a bigger role this upcoming season. With a new coaching staff in Chicago, he’ll also have a clean slate and an opportunity to make a good impression.
One area to watch will be Polasek’s offensive game. While Polasek’s offensive skills are never going to be "the reason" he makes it to the show, he’s got solid offensive instincts and in his Major Junior days, he featured heavily on PEI’s powerplay. Polasek would regularly jump up into the rush and he occasionally flashed some finish too, recording 20 goals and 80 points in his two years with the Rocket. Perhaps with a bit more seasoning at the AHL level, some of the aggressiveness in Polasek’s offensive game will return this season.
His first season in Chicago saw few scoring opportunities for Polasek, and he scored just one goal. He did show a willingness to drop the mitts from the get-go, felling Oilers prospect Colton Teubert with a heavy right in last year’s YoungStars tournament in Penticton.
Polasek has a nice package in terms of his size, willingness to drop the gloves, and solid offensive skill set. If his skating continues to improve, than Polasek probably projects to be a bottom-pairing defender in the NHL. With Mark Matheson, Yann Suave and Brad Hunt returning on the Wolves blueline – and Kevin Connauton’s possible promotion to the NHL – you’d have to think that there will be plenty of opportunity for Polasek to get top-4 minutes this season.