Haas: Palat Riding Wave Of Success To Sochi
January’s NHL Rookie of the Month has 12 points in his last ten games, including a two goal performance in Saturday’s big division win over the Red Wings. Though Tyler Johnson has received the most (albeit comparatively little) buzz as a potential Calder Trophy winner for the Bolts, it is Palat who has a chance to use an impressive Olympic Games performance to propel himself into the conversation.
The Czech Republic is not thought of as much of a medal threat, but the team contains a good amount of talented NHL forwards including the ageless Jaromir Jagr, Jakub Voracek and David Krejci. Palat will likely be called upon to do what he does best; play a speedy, two-way game while chipping in on offense occasionally. The larger ice surface will serve Palat well, especially with talented playmakers like Patrik Elias and Ales Hemsky on the roster. He’ll be able to use his speed to get open and make plays, much like he does in Tampa Bay with Johnson and Martin St. Louis.
With a round robin schedule of games against Sweden, Latvia and Switzerland, Palat and the Czechs should be able to find a place in the medal round. If Palat continues to play the way he has been for the Lightning, he’s likely to find himself being talked about the way he should be when he returns to NHL play.
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