Rangers Recall Libor Hajek from Hartford
NEW YORK - New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has recalled defenseman Libor Hajek from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Hajek, 21 (turned 21 years old on Feb. 4), has skated in all of the Wolf Pack's 58 games this season, registering five assists and 36 penalty minutes. He leads AHL defensemen who are in their U21 season or younger in games played this season, and he also leads all AHL rookie defensemen (regardless of age) in games played in 2018-19. In addition, he is one of only 21 AHL defensemen who, in their U21 season or younger, have skated in at least 25 games this season.
Prior to beginning his professional career, the 6-2, 204-pounder played three seasons of junior hockey (2015-16 - 2017-18) in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats, registering 19 goals and 72 assists for 91 points, along with 187 penalty minutes. Hajek, who participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game during the 2015-16 season, established WHL career-highs in goals (12), assists (27), and points (39) during his final season of junior hockey in 2017-18. In addition, Hajek recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in five games during the 2018 Memorial Cup, as he helped Regina advance to the Memorial Cup Final.
Internationally, the Smrcek, Czech Republic native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Hajek tallied eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven games while representing the Czech Republic at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Hajek led all defensemen in the tournament in assists and tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in points, and he was selected as one of the Top Three Players on his Team. He also represented the Czech Republic at the IIHF U18 World Championship twice (2015 and 2016) and at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament twice (2014 and 2015), and he helped the Czech Republic earn a silver medal at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Hajek was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with Tampa Bay on Feb. 26, 2018. He was originally selected by the Lightning in the second round, 37th overall, of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
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