After trading away prospect Calle Jarnkrok for David Legwand at the trade deadline for the 2013-2014 season (I don't want to hear about this trade, I don't care about Calle Jarnkrok), the Red Wings found themselves with a thinning core of young centers. Legwand was never going to return, because, well, he's old and not good. It was a somewhat necessary trade at the time considering the injury woes that had struck Detroit that season had warranted a move to bolster their depth at the NHL level. During the offseason, the Red Wings signed undrafted Czech free agent Tomas Nosek to a two-year deal. Nosek, fresh off of an impressive campaign in the Czech League where he posted 44 points in 52 games with HC Pardubice, immediately made the move to North America to attend Prospect Camp. It was there that former Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill had said that Nosek would be playing with the Griffins, and not heading back to Europe.
I'll say this right now - I'm not sure how so many teams looked over Tomas Nosek. He's a skillful center, with two-way abilities that come highly-heralded by the Red Wings brass. I believe that the Red Wings had an eye on the 22-year-old Czech center due to the fact that Jiri Fischer was one of his coaches during the 2012 World Juniors (Nosek was the captain of Team Czech Republic.)
Tomas Nosek had an extremely impressive rookie season with the Griffins, scoring 11 goals, and 23 assists in 55 games. Great numbers considering he sustained a serious hand injury in late October when he was moving into his new apartment. This all occurred just four games into the regular season, and it sidelined him for seven weeks until he made his return in December. He's lucky he didn't do serious tendon damage that could have potentially put his hockey-playing career in jeopardy.
After making his return, the two-way maestro from Pardubice played most of his time centering players like Kevin Porter, Mark Zengerle, and the Finnish goal-scoring dynamo Teemu Pulkkinen. While playing with Teemu might have helped his offensive stats, it's important to remember that Pulkkinen can be considered a defensive liability at times, and Tomas Nosek ended the 2014-2015 season with the best plus/minus in the AHL at +30 (it's a flawed stat, but you've gotta point it out.) Nosek ended his rookie season with Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha behind him in terms of point production. For a rookie who was accustomed to international ice-size, and having sustained a serious injury to his hand, you just have to tip your hat to the kid for such a successful season. He was a mainstay two-way center for Jeff Blashill. A tenacious back-checker, and a skillful goal-scorer - Tomas Nosek is projected to be an ideal candidate for the future 3rd line center.
Fun highlights of Tomas Nosek, and all of his raw talent:
Nosek was a great depth addition to the organization at a time it was clear that there was a hole in the overall center depth. The still-young but big Czech kid came over and has adjusted well to the North American game, but has seen some injury trouble of his own. He's a hard working two-way center who should be pushing to be a good option for injury call-up in the event that the Wings need some help in their bottom center slot. Personally, I'd rather have Nosek in the Wings' lineup than Joakim Andersson any day.
I had already mentally compiled my top prospects list when I checked a master list of everyone the Red Wings had rights to so I could account for everybody. When I looked at that list, I had completely forgotten Tomas Nosek existed. After some further digging, he definitely deserved a spot high among Red Wings prospects.
He's a bit old for a prospect, but he's still a reasonably young player in that he can still develop further beyond what he currently is. This is a guy who's played professional hockey for a few seasons already, so his biggest adjustment when he came over last season to North America was the different ice surface dimensions. As the NHL game continues to evolve, I think everyone on the roster should be expected to score, and Nosek could potentially be a great bottom-six option to provide consistent offense against lower-tier NHL competition.
Nosek is a smart, responsible two way center with very good puck skills, high hockey sense, and a whole lot of god given beautiful talent. He was passed over in 4 NHL drafts and I have no idea why. After missing 16 games at the beginning of the season with a severe hand laceration, he continued to improve until he was a stud on the Griffins. He missed 21 games due to injury but still had the 4th best ppg pace on the team and until he was knocked out of the playoffs with an injury he was absolutely on fire. Even strength, power play, penalty kill he played everywhere and scored goals in every situation. He has elite stick handling skills, and he can finish and set up teammates like a boss. Last year Nosek needed to get better at faceoffs, this year he kicked their butts. He’s well rounded, trusted by Blashill in any and every situation and he was always dangerous on the the ice, even when shorthanded. Nosek has the potential to be a solid two-way center in the NHL with his skill level, determination, compete level as they say, and versatility. He’s ready for some NHL time and I believe full time in the NHL. After his performance last year it’s clear there’s not a lot left for him in the AHL. He played against men in the Czech Republic before the Wings signed him so the biggest adjustment when coming over was size and speed and the angles of the ice and he clearly has that down pat. Nosek is an exciting player to watch and despite not getting a lot of media attention, he’s deserving of high praise. In a perfect world he'd be on the Wings this season.
JJ - #9
Graham - #9
Kyle - #9
Michelle - #4
Jeff - #9
Joe - #6
Caleb - #8
Christian - #10
Prashanth - #8
Lauren - #9
As JJ said before, I'd much rather have Tomas Nosek on this team than Joakim Andersson. However, you have to take into consideration that they want this kid playing, and not sitting as the 13th forward on any given night. Nosek will likely see a call-up at some point this season when an inevitable injury goes down. I do think that at the end of his entry level deal, he will be signed to a one-year, perhaps two-year contract where he'll be an every day Red Wing.