In the end, Libor Hajek and his Regina Pats were no match for the Acadie-Bathhurt Titan in the final of the 2018 Memorial Cup. The Titan won the 100th edition of the Memorial Cup with a 3-0 shutout. The score really did not indicate the Titan’s dominance.
Libor Hajek and his teammates were smothered by the Titan, kept under an offensive siege for most of the game. The Titan pressed the attack and only the play of Pats goalie Max Paddock kept the score from being worse. Paddock’s play, especially in the second period, kept the Pats in this game.
The Pats at one point were outshot 30-5 unable to get a shot on goal for almost half a period. A note on Paddock who is a 17 yr old rookie, if you go strictly by numbers he is average. I would still use a sixth-round pick on him considering how little support he got.
As for Libor Hajek, give him marks for improved defensive play. Hajek only recorded two shots for the game as it looked like his focus was defensive coverage. I want to see Hajek partnered with a strong defender that he has chemistry with.
Hajek is 20 so the expectation is he will play for Hartford next season. There is no question about his offense but plenty of questions regarding his defense. Hajek’s offense is meant for the new coach’s offensive strategy of uptempo and puck possession. Considering that most of the Rangers offensive defensemen are righthanded shots then the lefty Hajek has a chance to move up the depth chart quicker.
I for one like the idea of a Hajek/Ryan Lindgren pairing as Lindgren can do the heavy lifting giving Hajek the freedom to attack. Lindgren is also smart enough to read the plays so he can cover for Hajek.
Next up for Hajek will be the July rookie camp followed by Traverse City.
As for Prospect Park, this is the end of the 2017-2018 prospect season. Going to turn our focus to the 2018 NHL Entry Draft now that we know the Rangers will select 9th, 26th, and 28th in the first round. The second round will be 39th and 48th with the third round being 70th and 88th.
The rest of the Rangers picks will be 101st (fourth), 132nd (fifth), and 162nd (sixth) as the Rangers do not have a seventh-round pick.