Building the Herd – Daniel VolrabPosted: 01/06/2011
#?? Daniel Volrab
Born: Decin, Czech Republic
Announced as signed: Bison “Meet and Greet” event 25th May
So our week long singing bonanza finishes with the announcement from Steve Moria of a new import forward in the shape of Czech winger Daniel Volrab.
28 year old Volrab joins the Bison from HC Hradec Kralove of the 1 Národní Hokejová Liga (Czech 2nd division) where he has spent the last 6 seasons. In 269 games in the Czech second division he scored 57 goals and 75 assists for 132 points with 146 PIMs. Last season he scored 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points with 18 PIMs as Kralove finished 7th in the league and were knocked out of the promotion playoffs at the quarter final stage.
After excelling for Sparta Prague as a junior, Volrab was drafted in the 4th round (126th overall) by the Dallas Stars in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He moved over to North America to further his development and was drafted in the 1st round (7th overall) of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import draft by the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Volrab played 2 years for the Blades alongside future NHL players like Mike Green and future Bison like Jason Goulet before returning to the Czech Republic.
OK lets get this out of the way now. Yes, Volrab was drafted and didn’t make the NHL. We don’t know why. There are likely a variety of reasons for it but it makes little sense to speculate on them. What interests me in the type of hockey player we’ve signed to play for us now. Being a former draftee is a great thing but Danny Stewart was a former draftee and we know how that worked.
There is obviously talent there. Having been drafted by the Stars means somebody saw something there and Volrab’s time in the WHL with Saskatoon will have helped him enormously.
The WHL is considered to produce more well-rounded players than the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League because of the nature of the hockey played there. The OHL and QMJHL are more scoring conscious than the WHL which promotes a more all around game.
Now obviously he’s been playing the last few years in the Czech leagues. Czech 2 is arguably a better league than the Slovak 2nd division (where Lauko came from) and we’re all pretty much agreed that it’s better than the EPL. My hope for Volrab is that his development in the WHL combined with how well we know players from the Czech and Slovak translate across to the EPL will see a player who adapts well to the EPL hybrid North American/European style.
Elite Prospects lists Volrab as a left winger and we know that a lot of the emphasis for scoring is going to be on him. Will we get an 80, 90 or 100 point season from him? It’s too early to say but as with a lot of the signings we’ve made this off season there’s reason to be mildly optimistic if not ecstatic because we just don’t know how some of these signings will work.
At 6’1”, 187lbs Volrab is similar in size to Lauko so shouldn’t be too easily muscled off of the puck you’d hope. It’s all just a matter as to how he can adapt to the EPL. If he does as well as others it could be a wild ride for us next season.
Welcome Daniel, judging by how players with your track record do in this league you could be a star.
*Thanks to Scott Wasilewski for his thoughts on Canadian junior hockey.
Scott Wasilewski, aka Scotty Wazz is the host of Face Off Hockey Radio Show. FOHS is a weekly hockey show that takes no off season break covering all the good, bad, ugly and funny stories in the NHL.
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