The Edmonton Oil Kings wanted an impact player from the CHL Import Draft.
They also wanted one that would be around for a while. In Tomas Vincour, the Oil Kings feel they got both.
"He's very skilled, good around the net," said Oil Kings general manager Bob Green. "He plays more of a North American style than some of the other guys we were talking about, so that's probably the biggest reason why we went after him."
Vincour, 16, a native of the Czech Republic had 15 goals and 24 assists in 41 games for Kometa Brno in the Under-20 Czech Junior League. He also played five games in the Czech first division.
The six-foot-two, 198-pound forward will be eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry draft.
"Hopefully he'll be with us for three years," Green said. "That's why we went after a younger guy, we thought it was a better fit for us."
As the newest Canadian Hockey League expansion team, the Oil Kings had the first pick in yesterday's draft. Having already had a European on their roster - obtained in the Western Hockey League expansion draft - the Oil Kings traded their second pick in the draft (61st overall) to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a sixth-round pick in next summer's bantam draft. Each team in the CHL is allowed two European players on their roster.
"We were just looking at a few guys really," Green said. Making sure a player is willing to come play in North America is half the battle when it comes to the Import Draft.
In Vincour the Oil Kings were assured he would come play in their inaugural season.
"He sees the value of playing in the Western Hockey League and what it can do for him and his draft status down the road," Green said.
"Frank Musil (Edmonton Oilers European scout) knows the family a little bit in the Czech Republic and had a lot of good things to say about the family and that helped us out a lot."
As is the case with a lot of European players who come over to play in the CHL, Green expects Vincour to go through an adjustment period. Especially considering he's younger than most of the junior players who come to play in North America.
"We're pretty sure of the player we're picking at this point," Green said.
"We know he's a pretty good talent coming over here, so there's a good possibility that he's going to be a pretty good player."
Vincour is expected to come to Edmonton a week before training camp in August. The Oil Kings open their inaugural season at home on Sept. 20 when they host the Kootenay Ice at Rexall Place.
The next order of business for the Oil Kings is to find an assistant coach.
Last week the Oil Kings hired Steve Pleau as their head coach.
"We're going through the process right now of interviewing and we'll know in the next couple of weeks," Green said.