FUTURE WATCH | Roman Horak
Since being traded to the Oilers, Roman Horak has been able to settle into the centre position and his focused on a return to the NHL
Roman Horak made a good first impression on the team that traded for him on November 8. In his first game as a member of the Edmonton Oilers organization, with the Oklahoma City Barons, Horak scored a goal in a 3-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage.
Before he was acquired by the Oilers in a trade, Horak was skating with the enemy. The 6-0, 180 pound centre was a member of the Oilers' intra-provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames. When he heard the news that he was being traded to Edmonton, it came as a surprise.
"If you look at the trade history, I think it's the second trade ever (between the two teams)," said Horak. "Obviously, that's something that you wouldn't expect. It's a like a fresh start for me and I'm happy to be here.
"I was obviously a little surprised. Then after awhile, I was happy. I was excited to be a part of Edmonton now. It's like a fresh start for me. Hopefully one day I can go up there and help the Edmonton Oilers team."
Horak was taking a nap when the news was breaking that he would no longer be a member of the Calgary Flames.
"My girlfriend came up to me and said my phone was going crazy. I checked my phone and saw a bunch of missed calls and I called (Flames General Manager) Jay Feaster and he told me the news. A bunch of phone calls followed. (Oilers General Manager) Craig MacTavish called me and I talked to him."
The Czech-born player was originally drafted in the fifth round, 127th overall, in 2009 by the New York Rangers. He is no stranger to the business of hockey, having been traded once already in his career. He is now hoping to settle in with the Oilers.
"From what I know, it's a great franchise. There's a lot of history and great fans and I'm really happy to be a part of it. I'm still trying to settle in and, obviously, meeting everyone. So far, so good."
The left-handed centre has immediately made an impact on Edmonton's farm club, scoring five points (1-4-5) in four games with OKC. Horak is grateful for the opportunity he has in the American Hockey League, but has his sights set higher.
"Every hockey player dreams to be in the NHL. When you actually get a chance to play a game up there, it's amazing and it doesn't come easy. That's for sure, and now I see it. I've been battling for three years and still haven't made it. It's hard to get there and actually stay there and establish yourself as a NHL player. It's a lot of work and hopefully, I get a chance here and can prove myself as a NHL player."
|Roman Horak practices with the Flames last season. Photo courtesy of the Calgary Flames|
Horak has seen his share of NHL duty for a 22 year old. In his rookie season with the Flames, he played in 61 games and scored 11 points (3-8-11). He saw 20 games last season and finished 2012-13 with seven (2-5-7) NHL points. So unlike some of the Oilers prospects in the minors, Horak knows what it takes to play the NHL game.
"I've been around for a bit and I see that it's tough to go up there and be a guy who can score 30 goals. What I think is, just be good defensively and to get more comfortable up there. With more ice time, you get better chances to produce. Like I said, just be good defensively and be a good two-way centre, be good on face-offs and take it from there."
While in the minors, Horak has developed into a player who can skate in all aspects of the game. Whether it is 5-on-5, power play or penalty kill, Horak says he's comfortable with playing every opportunity he gets. But there are some things that the young prospect needs to work on.
Last season, he was jostled around at multiple positions, playing both wings and centre. Now that he is with the Oilers organization, Horak has switched to full-time centre duty. The move will allow him to focus on growing into a better player.
"As a prospect, they put me back at centre now. Last year, I was between centre and wings and there were a lot of different positions. Now I want to become a good two-way centre and work on face-offs and d-zone and be, just overall, a good two-way centre and produce when I get the chance to."
Horak saw his best goal production of his professional career with the Abbotsford Heat in 2012-2013. In 59 games, the forward scored 16 goals and added 14 assists. He has offensive skill but the next step is to develop consistency with those talents.
"I would describe myself as a good playmaker with good vision, with good speed and decent hands. One day it'd be nice to go up there (to the NHL) and become a really good two-way centre and with ice time, you want to produce too."
When it comes to what the future holds from one of the newest Oilers prospects, fans can expect the following:
"When I get the chance to play, I'll bring a lot of energy and a lot of speed up there and from what I've seen so far, hockey is a tough game," said Horak. "You can't just be all cute and try to dangle around. You've got to be physical too. My weight is 180 pounds, so I am not the biggest guy. But, I want to get a chance and finish checks and be physical."
Barons Player Stats | AHL Standings | Barons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 2012-13 | 2011-12
Stats Updated as of Wednesday, November 20, 2013.
|d||19||24||2||5||7||5||32||EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)|
|f||18||21||14||11||25||9||28||CALGARY HITMEN (WHL)|
|DARNELL NURSE||D||18||21||7||16||23||4||45||SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)|
|F||18||25||11||7||18||-8||26||VANCOUVER GIANTS (WHL)|
|f||19||13||3||5||8||0||24||EVERETT SILVERTIPS (WHL)|
|F||19||23||15||8||23||11||70||EDMONTON OIL KINGS (WHL)|
|F||18||22||7||6||13||0||12||LONDON KNIGHTS (OHL)|
|F||24||21||4||4||8||1||49||JOKERIT HELSINKI (FINLAND)|
|F||19||26||3||0||3||0||4||NIZHNY NOVGOROD (RUSSIA)|
|26||8||3||4||1||2.40||.925||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|LAURENT BROSSOIT||20||1||-||-||-||3.61||.833||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|TYLER BUNZ||21||4||1||1||1||3.15||.914||OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)|
|22||N/A||n/a||n/a||n/a||2.01||.927||HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)|