Meet Detroit Red Wings' Newest Prospect Tomas Nosek

Daniel WilliamsContributor IIIJune 20, 2014

Czech Republic forward Petr Straka, left, and defenseman Petr Senkerik react to teammate Ondrej Palat's game winning goal during the third period of an IIHF World Junior Championship relegation round hockey game against Germany in Lewiston, N.Y. on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. Czech Republic won 3-2.  (AP Photo/Don Heupel)
Don Heupel

The Detroit Red Wings announced the signing of free-agent Tomas Nosek to a two-year, entry-level contract on June 14.

The 21-year-old plays center, a position in which Detroit’s farm system is not particularly deep.

Hailing from Pardubice, Czech Republic, Nosek is a good two-way center who can also play the wing. His adaptability and responsibility at both ends of the ice caught the attention of Detroit's personnel.

Nosek also played on the Czech Republic's national junior team in 2012, on which Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player development, was an assistant coach. Fischer told Red Wings Central:

He’s versatile, he can play center, wing, top six, bottom six, whatever the need is. He kills penalties, takes faceoffs, plays on the power play. He’s a guy who fits in with teammates on all lines and that’s exciting.

Playing with his hometown team HC Pardubice of the Czech ExtraLiga, Nosek was a quality skater, but registered just four assists in 27 games. He totaled five goals and 14 points in 50 games in his second season.

After going unselected in the NHL draft four times, he became an unrestricted free agent. He finally broke out in his third Czech Extraliga season, tallying 19 goals and 44 points in 52 games, leading his team and finishing ninth in league scoring.

At 6’2” and 205 pounds he has a good frame to play the middle of the ice. He’s a late bloomer who could develop into a solid NHL player, and another below-the-radar signing for Detroit.

Nosek has the potential to be a key contributor for one of the best teams in the AHL over the next two seasons. He’ll get his first taste of North American hockey, and the transition to a smaller ice surface will be his biggest adjustment.

Detroit is without a second-round pick in this summer’s draft, as well as prospect Calle Jarnkrok stemming from its trade deadline acquisition of forward David Legwand. Parting with both commodities could have contributed to Detroit’s signing of Nosek.

Ansar Khan of reported between six and eight NHL teams were interested in him. He also shares the same agent as forward Tomas Jurco, which may also have contributed to Detroit landing Nosek’s services.

He’ll get the chance to compete for a roster spot, but will play for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL if he’s unable to secure one. Fischer described Nosek as Pardubice’s best player.

He’s certainly going to get an opportunity—he’s going to be in the mix depending on what the next couple of weeks and free agency bring. How he adjusts on the smaller ice, the speed going both ways…that’s to be determined. But I do expect and I really believe he’s going to come in ready and get a shot. We’ll see what the coaching staff and Mike Babcock think.

Looking ahead to the 2014-15 season, he will likely fall in line with the Griffins. Having to make the transition from European hockey to the North American rink size and game speed, he’d be best served in a quality learning environment.

Playing under Jeff Blashill in Grand Rapids can help him develop as Jurco, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist have.

After being passed over four times in the NHL draft, the upside he displays and the excitement of Fischer indicate Nosek will be another quality prospect to keep a close eye on.