Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jakub Petruzalek Signs With Wolf Pack

Jakub Petruzalek (Chris Rutsch photo)

One of the final pieces to the Hartford Wolf Pack's forward puzzle fell into place today as 2004 draftee Jakub Petruzalek, as was rumored since early July, signed an AHL deal with the Wolf Pack. The Pack also signed d-man Corey Potter, a 2003 draftee, as well as goalie Alex Westlund.

From Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant:

Former Yale goalie Alex Westlund, defenseman Corey Potter, and forwards Jakub Petruzalek and Mike Ouellette have agreed to terms on AHL contracts with the Wolf Pack.

Petruzalek, 21, was the Rangers' ninth-round pick in 2004 and joined the Pack on an amateur tryout contract in May after splitting last season between Litvinov in his native Czech Republic and Barrie of the OHL.

Westlund, 30, played at Yale in 1995-99 and holds the school's career record for wins. A seven-year pro, Westlund has played in six AHL games, had three stints in Russia, including last season, and played the 2004-05 season with the Pack's ECHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

Potter, 22, the Rangers' fourth-round pick in 2003, finished his Michigan State career in April with eight goals and 36 assists in 150 games and also played with the U.S. junior national team.

Berlet's story goes on to add that defenseman Thomas Pöck, an AHL All-Star last season, has yet to sign his qualifying offer from the Rangers and could go over to Europe to play.

(UPDATE 8/25/06 - The Rangers have officially announced Pöck's re-signing, although it had been leaked out on a couple of message boards a day earlier.)

Jakub Petruzalek's scouting profile on Hockey's Future:

A late-round gamble, but he adds a legitimate scorer with loads of skill to the system. Unfortunately, his downside matches his upside.

Petruzalek impresses with his swift skating skills. He displays a fluid stride and above-average agility. He accelerates well, but could use more balance. His soft hands contribute to the offensive talent, a smooth, poised puckhandler who sees the ice quite well. He unleashes a quick wrist shot with a fast release, but could work on the hardness of his slap shot. A creative passer, Petruzalek likes the finesse style of play, when he can make fast smart passes to his linemates.

On the downside, he can get outmuscled by the bigger opponents. Petruzalek isn't a total liability when it comes down to fulfilling his defensive duties, but he has to further improve on his defensive awareness and could block the opposing passing lanes more effectively.

Petruzalek has the upside of a second line scoring forward.