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Prospect Profile: Pavol Regenda
By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks signed winger Pavol Regenda to a two-year entry-level contract on June 1st. He was undrafted and has played in Europe during his entire career.
Regenda has spent the past two seasons playing for HK Dukla Michalovce in the Slovakian Extraliga. In his first year with them, he played in 50 games and scored 11 goals and 25 points. In the playoffs, Regenda scored four goals and seven points in 12 games. This past year, he played in fewer games but improved in all three offensive categories, scoring 15 goals and 39 points in 43 games. Regenda finished second in goals, assists, and points on the team, and tied for 18th in league scoring.
In the playoffs, he scored five goals and six points in six games, leading his team in playoff goals, and tied for the team lead in playoff points. Before playing in the Slovakian Extraliga, he played a season for Jokerit U20 in the U20 SM-liiga league, where he scored 15 goals and 33 points in 47 games, and two years in the J20 SuperElit league, playing for Linkoping HCJ20 and Vaxjo Lakers HC J20.
Regenda also played for Team Slovakia twice this past season, at the Olympics and World Championships. At the Olympics, he played in seven games and scored a goal and four points, helping Slovakia win the bronze medal. At the World Championships, he scored five goals and six points in eight games, but Slovakia lost to Finland, the eventual gold medal winner, in the quarterfinals. His five goals were tied for eighth in the tournament.
Regenda is big, standing at 6’4”; the only prospects taller than him in Anaheim’s system are defenseman William Francis and goaltender Gage Alexander. If Regenda can learn to use his size effectively, he could become a force to be reckoned with in the NHL. He doesn’t project out as a top end scorer, but he’s got a chance to be a bottom six winger with a scoring touch. Combine that with his size, and if he develops properly, he could become a very useful player for the Ducks someday.
This coming season, Anaheim will likely have at least a roster spot or two available at forward for one of their many prospects to grab. If Regenda comes in and has a great camp, he could make Anaheim’s roster. Personally, I think the Ducks would rather have Regenda get his feet wet in San Diego and adjust to North American hockey before playing in the NHL, but it could happen. If he comes in and has a strong season with the Gulls, I could see him making his NHL debut in the 2023-2024 season.
This will be a learning season for Regenda. It’s his first time playing professional hockey outside of Europe. He’s clearly got talent. The question is how well it will translate to the AHL and NHL. As a result, I’m not going to set huge expectations for him. First, I want him to score some goals with the Gulls. He doesn’t need to lead the team in scoring, but I’d like to see him be an offensively dangerous presence with them. Second, for him to improve as the season goes on. It would be great if he does make his NHL debut with the Ducks, but I’m not going to expect that out of him in his first season in North America.
Regenda will be a restricted free agent in two years’ time. His next contract will depend entirely on how the next two years go. If he comes in and becomes a dependable player for the Gulls, he’ll likely get another two-way contract. If he struggles with finding a consistent game and fails to score much, the Ducks could choose to not qualify him. Finally, if he proves he belongs in the NHL, either this season or next, he should be rewarded with a one-way contract. It’s up to him what happens next.
With the prospect profiles complete, it’s time to turn to the graduated prospects. First up is Josh Mahura.
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June 16th, 2022