It hasn’t taken long for Pavel Novak to adjust to the North American style of hockey.
With three goals and five assists for eight points in Kelowna’s first seven games, the Rockets’ latest foreign import is leading the WHL in rookie scoring.
Hailing from Tabor, Czech Republic, Novak is also tied with veteran Dillon Hamaliuk in team scoring.
READ MORE: WHL Roundup: Wednesday, October 9, 2019
This week, Novak was tabbed as a player to watch by NHL Central Scouting.
He was rated as a ‘C’ player, which translates into a potential fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round selection at the 2020 NHL draft in Montreal.
“I like to play in the offensive zone, I am play maker, maybe sniper, I don’t know?” the 5-foot-9 and 170-pound winger said when asked about his style.
It maybe a little early for the sniper designation, but Novak does seem to be plugging a scoring hole.
Last season, rookie defenceman Lassi Thomson had 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points in 63 games. But come summer, Thomson left Kelowna, opting to play in Finland. In June, Thomson was selected 19th overall by Ottawa in the 2019 NHL draft.
Not surprisingly, Novak idolizes and stylizes after another Czech native.
“My favourite player is David Pastrnak,” Novak said of the high-scoring Boston Bruins forward.
Meanwhile, Novak is drawing accolades for his puck smarts.
“He knows where guys are he knows when guys are open,” said linemate Nolan Foot, with Rockets head coach Adam Foote adding “he reads the ice well.”
One small knock on Novak seems to be his skating.
“I think his skating does have to improve, but by no means is it bad,” said coach Foote.
Overall, Kelowna has a pretty good track record when it comes to icing foreign imports.
Vaclav Varada, Alex Edler and Mickael Backlund come to mind, and with any luck Novak will continue that tradition.
The Rockets are back in action on Friday evening in the Emerald City as they visit the Seattle Thunderbirds. On Saturday, they will host the Kamloops Blazers. Game time at Prospera Place is 7:05 p.m.