Saskatoon Blades defenceman Libor Hájek is taking his next step to the pros by signing a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
After signing, he will join the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, the Lightning’s AHL affiliate.
Hájek, 19, was selected by Tampa Bay with the 37th overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft.
“It’s a dream come true,” Hájek said. “Right away I called my mom and dad, and they were very happy!”
The Blades acquired Hájek with the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 CHL import draft. In two seasons in Saskatoon, he totalled seven goals and 52 points in 134 games.
“He came here at 17 and he approaches the game like a professional,” said Blades general manager Colin Priestner.
Hájek could make his AHL debut as early as Friday when the Crunch host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.