#16 - Adam Ruzicka
2019-20 Team: Stockton Heat (AHL)
Drafted in 2019, 4th Round, Pick 109
Last Year Ranking: #17
A prospect that continues to grow each day, Adam Ruzicka comes in our list at number 16. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NHL entry draft Ruzicka followed up his draft year getting 78 points in 65 games split between the Sarnia Sting and Sudbury Wolves of the OHL. Last season he stepped into the AHL for the first time and was able to transition fairly well against pro competition. He racked up 10 goals and 27 points in 54 games.
Projecting in a similar fashion as a typical bottom 6 forward Ruzicka has a couple things going for him that will help: His size (6’4”) and his position (C). Personally i don’t see him ever amounting to much more than that, but nothings wrong with carving out a respectable career as a functional bottom 6 forward. The possibility always remains that he can beat the odds given to him, but he’ll have to overcome the odds himself.
Flames brass is very high on the young lad. He made phase 4 of the bubble cuts (the last round of cuts) before the playoffs started. Lumped in with newcomer Connor Mackey, and the two Stockton Heat forwards that were performing the best, Matthew Phillips and Glenn Gawdin. The drafting of Connor Zary and the signing of Matthias Emilio Petterson make Ruzicka’s future a little more murky. Those skilled players will most certainly try and jump in front of him on the depth chart, but as long as he sticks to his game and continues to develop the 22 year old center could still find his way to a regular NHL role.
Look this upcoming season to have Ruzicka as a call-up option if players in the bottom 6 get hurt as he won’t require waivers to come play with the big club.
Two Things Ruzicka needs to do in 2020-21:
- Improve on his scoring production. Your second year in the AHL is big. There’s always an influx of new players and if you don’t show you’re learning and growing as a player you get quickly forgot about
- Improve skating ability around in tight board play. It’s not uncommon for big players to use their size effectively in corners, but if the big guy can master his stickwork and puck protection in the corners he can improve on his offensive game.
- (Bonus) Watch old tapes of Mark Jankowski’s stickwork defensively, and learn. Ruzicka is the same height and build as the former Flames PK dynamo. It would serve him well to study such a player and learn from the tape about what made him effective defensively at the NHL level.