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Monday, November 26, 2007

Prospect Pulse: Tomas Kudelka

Tomas Kudelka is an offensive minded defenseman who was drafted 136th overall by the Ottawa Senators, who seemingly can't get enough offensive defensemen. Kudelka was on everyone's radar in his 16 year old season, but regressed badly due to injuries and a lack of ice time and decided to make the move to North America to resurrect his game.

Kudelka joined the Lethbridge Hurricanes and a enjoyed a solid if unspectacular season in the WHL, where he put up 31 points in 64 games. He played 5 games with the Binghamton Senators after Lethbridge's season ended and earned himself a contract. The two-time member of the Czech World Junior team had a breakout year as a 19 year old, becoming the #1 defender with the Hurricanes. He posted 41 points in 59 games and boasted a +20 rating. He followed up that season with a return to Binghamton, where he skated in 11 games. Kudelka's strong play earned him a call up to skate with the Black Aces in Ottawa for a short stint.

A combination of the size, speed and skill that make coaches and GM's blind to glaring turnovers and a lack of a defensive acumen, Kudelka is nevertheless a prospect to watch. He is said to be faster skating backwards than forwards, has a heavy shot and is very calm with the puck. As mentioned, he is still prone to making bad decisions with the puck and needs to get physically stronger before he moves on to the next level. Kudelka himself acknowledge this, and said he feels his lack of bulk is the only thing keeping him out of the AHL. (He currently plays in Elmira of the ECHL).

Playing 1st pairing minutes in Elmira, Kudelka is putting up impressive numbers and is getting to play in all situations. He is working on his strength and conditioning and expects to finish the year in Binghamton. Ottawa projects him as being several years away due to their depth at D.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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