Adam Sykora may be moving closer to his future broadway home.
The 18-year-old winger, drafted 63rd overall by the Rangers in the 2022 draft, is currently in his second season playing for HK Nitra in Slovakia and has two goals and 9 points in 20 games this season, which puts him on track to eclipse the 17 total points he amassed in 46 games last season.
But that’s if he plays out the year there, which may not transpire. The organization is considering luring the kid away from the broader rinks of Europe over to the more miniature sheets in North America as he prepares for the rigors of the AHL next season.
Per Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, he reports the Rangers are looking to bring the prospect over to the WHL in January, where he would then be dealt from the last-place Medicine Tigers to the contending Saskatoon Blades.
"There’s been talk about the New York Rangers bringing [Sykora] over to play in North America,”. “Medicine Hat is a team that’s not doing much right now. There is a deal in place for Medicine Hat to trade him to the Saskatoon Blades.”"
Sykora was selected as the first overall pick by the Tigers in the 2022 CHL Import Draft and attended Rangers training camp, even appearing in a preseason game before returning home as the team didn’t wish to burn a year off his three-year entry-level contract.
The 5-10 172 IBS winger is known for his work ethic, instincts, aggression, and intelligent defensive skills, even being compared to Artturi Lehkonen by Sebastian High, who had the following to say about him before draft day along with his dobberprospects.com buddy Hadi Kalakeche.
"“ He understands defensive positioning very well, directs opponents into unfavorable areas, and approaches them at angles that maximize the odds of him escaping contact with the puck. He forechecks hard, backchecks diligently, and makes himself troublesome for his opponents on loose pucks and broken plays.On top of that, the winger has decent hands, a surprisingly good shot from medium range, and some playmaking tools that are foundationally sound but need refining. He can find seams and exploit them but doesn’t create them as often and tends to go for safe passes rather than take risks. The main concern with Sýkora is his lack of pace, especially with the puck, but some fine-tuning to his skating mechanics, as well as the inevitable physical growth ahead of him, should iron that out.He mans the boards well with his puck-protection mechanics already, and that should only become more of a strength as he matures physically. Sýkora could be a second-line penalty-killing specialist when all is said and done and has a fallback game as a bottom-six checking forward that makes him a safe pick-up in the late-first to early-second round.”"
To put it lightly, Sykora has a practical and aggressive presence defensively, a fast motor, and excellent hand-eye coordination around the net. However, he lacks high-end offensive skills, which wouldn’t exactly mesh well offensively with the Rangers’ preferred East-west play.
The teenager likes the north-south game and doesn’t take many risks with his passing or shooting, likely due to how coaches want him to play at such a young age. Although his ceiling isn’t NHL stardom, he can still grow to be of service to a future Rangers team in an abundance of other ways.