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Mooseheads draft Frk, but 'hard part starts now'

The Halifax Mooseheads feel they got the best player in Tuesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft. But they’re not yet sure if he’ll ever put on their sweater.

The Halifax Mooseheads feel they got the best player in Tuesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft. But they’re not yet sure if he’ll ever put on their sweater.

The Mooseheads snagged Czech left-winger Martin Frk third overall, adding to their impressive stable of young forwards that are expected to lead the team out of the QMJHL basement in the next couple of years.

“We took the best player available and now we’re going to see if we can convince him to come over and play in Halifax,” said Mooseheads head coach and general manager Cam Russell. “The hard part starts now.”

The 16-year-old checks in at five-foot-11 and 190 pounds and produced 28 goals and 27 assists for 56 points — along with a staggering 184 penalty minutes — in 39 games with Karlovy Vary at the Czech Republic’s under-20 level.

Frk, who isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2012, also led the Czechs in scoring at the world under-18 championship in April, producing seven points in six games. He has reportedly been suspended on several occasions for being too rambunctious.

Although Russell has never seen Frk play, his scouts gave him rave reviews.

“From what I hear, he’s like a Cam Neely type of player,” Russell said. “He’s a workhorse, a skilled guy with great work ethic and he’s not afraid to go into the dirty areas and play physical. He’s going to be an exciting player to watch — multi-dimensional.”

Frk’s arrival would help offset the loss of fellow Czech Tomas Knotek, the Mooseheads’ two-time MVP who signed a pro contract in Finland earlier this month.

He would join second overall QMJHL pick Luca Ciampini and talented second-rounders Andrew Ryan and Darcy Ashley as the Mooseheads’ top guns for the future up front.

For a team with the QMJHL’s lowest goal output the past two seasons (2.6 per game), Frk’s arrival would be a big boost.

“All of a sudden, we have skilled hockey players up front, really good goaltending and good depth on defence,” Russell said. “It’s exciting to add him to the mix, if we can get him over here.”

Russell said the process of wooing Frk via his agent Allan Walsh starts immediately. He hopes to have things firmed up soon and said even if things don’t pan out, he couldn’t pass on a player of Frk’s calibre.

“When you’re picking this high, you’ve got to take a top-end player,” Russell said. “You can’t use the third overall pick on the guy ranked 15th just because he says he’ll come over.

“We’re taking a bit of a risk here, but if it works out for us, it will pay off.”

 
 
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