The Sudbury Wolves' roll of the dice is pointed up by the numbers Radek Faksa has, or has been able to, put up across the past season and a half.
The Wolves, who are six points out of the OHL Eastern Conference lead, made their second big trade on the eve of the OHL trade deadline by getting Faksa from for 18-year-old Czech countryman Dominik Kubalik, a seventh-rounder of the Los Angeles Kings. Faksa fills the Wolves' need for a big centre who can off-set their leading scorer, undrafted 19-year-old Mathew Campagna.
Whether it pays off depends on whether Faksa produces at the level he was projected to after his first North American season.
From Josh Brown (@BrownRecord)
The Kitchener Rangers have traded Radek Faksa to the Sudbury Wolves for Dominik Kubalik and two second round picks. #ohl
— Josh Brown (@BrownRecord) January 9, 2014
Correction from the #OHLRangers on the picks in the Faksa deal: it's a 2nd in 2014 and a 2nd in 2016. Originally said both picks were 2016.
— Mike Farwell (@farwell_ohl) January 9, 2014
Faksa hasn't necessarily been enigmatic in the OHL since accepting a Dallas Stars sweater from GM Joe Nieuwendyk in the first round of the 2012 draft. At that time, Faksa was coming off a rookie season where he had posted 29 goals and 67 points over 62 games, very auspicious 17-year-old stats.
Faksa was beset by a brain injury and a knee ailment during the 2012 calendar year and was not exactly surrounded with mature talent with the Rangers. Since his draft day, the 6-foot-3, 213-pound pivot was tallied 25 goals and 58 points over 69 games. There's been extenuating circumstances but one can wonder about a player plateauing. Who knows what a change of scenery might bring, though, especially with a team aiming to go deep into the playoffs.
It can be fairly stated Sudbury, which spent five second-round picks and gave up promising 17-year-old defenceman Stefan Leblanc for its pickups of Faksa and defenceman Trevor Carrick, will get the payoff if this pays off with a trip to the OHL final. That's a reasonable place to put the line; anything can happen in a championship series.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com.