Started at age 4 and excelled. Moved to 2 different countries in order to play top hockey. Born in Croatia, member of San Jose Jr Sharks AAA development program for over 5 years, played in Slovenia and Austria winning 5 championships.
Coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and always tries his best. Has a great shot, is a good two way player with a high hockey sense. Great speed – natural scorer.
Physical strength and board play and checking.
Playing highest possible professional level of hockey via taking the academic route and getting a great education by playing hockey.
Niksa has made tremendous strides in becoming the best hockey player he can be since I first saw him about 5-6 years ago. He is continually working on improving his game and is a student of the game. He loves learning new ways and always listens to his instructors absorbing the information being passed along. He is extremely coachable.
Niksa does a great job skating with the puck in lateral movements. An example of this would be coming through the neutral zone, instead of taking a defensive man straight on; he uses his lateral movement to try to get the defenseman either leaning one way or using his speed to beat him to the outside. He also does a great job when entering the zone cutting across the middle to either open a shooting lane, getting the goalie to move lateral or try to open up a few holes.
Another thing he did really well was his vision with the puck with a very quick release on his snap-shot. You can tell that he takes a lot of pride in getting off his snap shot with a quick release. He looks, when shooting the puck, to find open holes. When he has the puck, he is looking to make plays but also reading what the defense is giving him. Always skating with his head up, he is looking to make the right play. For that reason he can also be easily utilized at center position, especially with his eagerness to play defense and return quickly to defensive zone.
A couple things he needs to improve on is playing away from the puck. Sometimes he tends to get caught watching and waiting for his teammates to get the puck. This is something that can happen during a game but as a forward without the puck, we need to have him thinking about what can I do to get the puck and am I in a good position to receive the puck. It is also easier to get the puck in your zone because now you can get your head up and have a little more time ahead of you where if you are closer to the blue line and waiting for a pass, you can be caught flat footed or right on top of the defense which makes it easier to defend.
Another thing I noticed that I feel like he can use more in the game is his body. These don’t necessarily have to be checks, but this body play can be used in on the forecheck or in the corners with the puck download. It seems like at certain points instead of finishing a check or getting on a defender, he would do what we call a “drive by”. It’s a small detail but in a game it can lead to offensive opportunities. Example of this would be if he goes into the forecheck and sticks it to the defender, the defender may think twice about going in the corner with him. This will open up time and space for him which will give him more ice to work with. Again, these don’t have to be big body contact, but a little contact from a fore checker gets annoying for defenders and may create a little space on the ice for him when he has the puck.
The final thing I would say he would want to continue to work on is being aggressive. He does a fairly good job of this during the game but there is always room to be improved on this. Aggressive can be shown in all areas of the game. Defensive zone (coming out to the points if he is a winger, or having an active stick on the ice taking away passing/shooting lanes), Neutral Zone (pushing the pass and not being at a standstill flat legged) or In the offensive zone (attacking the defensive man when they have the puck and driving the puck to the net when nothing is happening).
Overall, Niksa is one of the most talented players in his generation and just needs to continue working on himself and little details to become even better. He has an open invitation to our AAA U14 team and am sure that he will be a welcome addition to any AAA team worldwide. I believe Niksa will have a great season with his new team and will continue to grow not only as a hockey player but also a young adult. I look forward to seeing Niksa next year and how his game has improved.
Curtis Brown – Director Jr. Sharks
If you’re a player and you’d like to have your career exposed to thousands of teams or you’re a team / scout and you’d like to have access to thousands of other players, click the button below and register today.