This five-part series will focus on the players that will don the Manitoba Moose jersey in 2015-16. While these players may see time with the Winnipeg Jets next season, they will likely make up the core of the farm team that will be heading to the Manitoba capital. Part four features Jan Kostalek.
What makes Jan Kostalek different from the other players featured in this series is that he hasn’t played a single game in either the AHL or NHL. He does have a tiny bit of pro experience however, as he did appear in 10 games for Sparta Praha (Sparta Prague) in the Czech Extraliga.
The fourth round pick in the 2013 draft was a key cog for the Rimouski Oceanic as they captured the QMJHL title in 2014-15. Not only was Kostalek a steady force on the blueline, he provided some offensive punch as well recording 21 points (8G, 13A) in 20 playoff games. This included the overtime winner in Game 6 of the Q Finals that forced a seventh game.
Kostalek represented the Czech Republic at the last two World Junior Championships and while the Czechs did not achieve success as a team, Kostalek’s play earned solid reviews.
Kostalek wasn’t as highly regarded as another Jets blueline prospect, Josh Morrissey, but his play has steadily improved each season.
— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) April 9, 2015
In an interview with Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun, Kostalek described his approach to the game:
“I’m a two-way defenceman, but I think more about the defence. If there is an opening, I will go on offence. But if there isn’t, I’m not rushing things. I’m waiting for things to happen and doing my defensive job first.”
So what can Moose fans expect from Jan Kostalek?
They will see a young yet talented defenceman who will use brains over brawn. Kostalek is average sized (6-0, 180 pounds) and isn’t the most physical player. But he will make the heady play. A good passer, Kostalek knows where his teammates are and will make the correct decision when his team is in trouble. While he is showing more offensive flair, Kostalek will stick to his defensive responsibilities first. He will need to bulk up a bit but that’s what the AHL is for. Kostalek is an underrated skater. Defenceman usually take longer to mature but Kostalek is growing and he should be an integral part of the Moose in 2015-16.