Returned: better condition, more points. But I don’t see myself weakening, says the striker

Returned: better condition, more points. But I don’t see myself weakening, says the striker
Returned: better condition, more points. But I don’t see myself weakening, says the striker

Unlike (former) teammates Jakub Sirota and Jan Bambula, he did not receive a nomination for the national team camp before the World Cup, although from a personal point of view, Olomouc striker Jakub Navrátil had the best season. He scored 37 points (17+20) in 52 games, which is 15 more than in the previous year. Together with Jiří Ondrušek, he was also the only one to play a complete number of duels. What’s next? “To score even more goals and above all I have to focus on defending,” plans the 24-year-old winger.

In retrospect, what was behind Navrátil’s progress? He decided to make a fundamental change already in the summer, when he decided not to start training together with the team, but to find a personal expert and train individually.

“I wanted to change something, I think it worked out and everything fell into place from the beginning,” says the Přerov schoolboy, adding: “I focused mostly on fitness, I lost a lot of weight, and thanks to that I felt physically good all year career best.”

It was also noted by Navrátil’s teammate Jan Bambula, who knows Navrátil’s offensive power and ability to be productive. However, he noticed a detail related to fitness.

“He improved the most in his ferocity, he was more unpleasant and faster than in previous years,” thinks the forward, who was part of the Hanák team for four full seasons before recently leaving for Vítkovice. That is, just like Navrátil, so he could follow his development.

Mora’s assistant coach Róbert Petrovický also highlights greater complexity. “We knew he was good offensively and productive, but he’s really improved defensively. Now he is a more complex player who is better in front and behind, but of course there is always room for improvement,” the Slovakian coach summarizes the progress of his charge.

Navrátil himself knows that he can still improve. “I have big weaknesses in defending. It was maybe a little better, but there is still something to work on,” he evaluated his defensive work, which may have caused him not to appear in the nomination of national team boss Radim Rulík.

Navrátil finished the season at number -1 in the plus/minus statistic, which captures the participation of players on the ice in goals scored and conceded. It was enough for him to take sixth place in the “roosters” roster, but compared to his opponents, the negative balance is more of a failure.

In the playoffs, Navrátil even had a record of -3, which was the team’s second worst number. Also, because of the negative balance, he does not play fade, which affects his average ice time. “I’d definitely like to play a weakened one at some point, but I don’t quite see myself there yet,” he admits honestly.

He has a valid contract in Olomouc until the end of the 2025/2026 season, unlike Bambula, he does not want to leave yet. “I am completely satisfied because we are here as one family. I haven’t talked to anyone about a transfer,” says Navrátil regarding his future.

HCO fans will probably be able to follow his progress for at least another two years. This is definitely good news for them. The next one should be the announcement of reinforcements, after Petr Fridrich from Vítkovice, Martin Kohout from Kometa should also add to the team of coach Jan Tomajko.

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