One St. Louis Blues 2023 draft choice has found a playing home for next season. 76th overall pick Juraj Pekarcik will be heading stateside to the USHL, committing to the Dubuque Fighting Saints for 2023-24 after spending his career until now in his native Slovakia.
This is a rather consequential choice for the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who just used the second overall pick on Pekarcik in this year’s CHL Import Draft. However, the USHL has had quite the influx of Slovak talent in recent seasons, and it makes sense Pekarcik would choose to go to a league where he knows what the development experience will be like. The 6-foot-2 winger doesn’t turn 18 until September and registered 20 points in 16 games with HK Nitra’s junior club in the Slovak U-20 circuit last season. He also added ten points in seven games for Slovakia at last year’s IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship.
More from across the league today:
- The Buffalo Sabres confirmed the Jacksonville Icemen as their next ECHL affiliate today, as expected. It amounts to a swap of affiliates between the Sabres and New York Rangers, now affiliated with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Buffalo’s previous affiliate in the second-tier minor league. The current Sabres team does have one connection to the Icemen – assistant coach Jason Christie, who coached the Icemen for four seasons before heading to the Sabres in 2021 and remains the ECHL’s all-time leader in games coached.
- Without an AHL affiliate to store their prospects next season, the Carolina Hurricanes have loaned a trio of Finnish prospects back to their home country, per team reporter Walt Ruff. 20-year-old defenseman Aleksi Heimosalmi will head back to Assat, where he’s spent the past two seasons on loan from Carolina after they selected him 44th overall in 2021. Right wing Tuukka Tieksola, their 2019 fourth-round pick, is heading back to Finland with Lukko after recording 24 points in 52 games with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves last year. Lastly, forward Ville Koivunen is heading back to Karpat, where he’s played most of his career to date after recording 28 points in 52 games with them last season. Doing this early in the summer gives Carolina less to worry about when figuring out where to assign their prospects closer to the start of the season.