The move was officially announced late Wednesday afternoon. Czech Republic native Martin Hugo Has has transferred yet again this season, this time moving to the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and joining the North Bay Battalion. The move was made after Has represented his country at the 2020 World Junior Championship.
— North Bay Battalion (@OHLBattalion) January 8, 2020
After being selected 153rd overall in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals, Has, a right-handed defenseman, was then selected by OHL Battalion in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2019 CHL Import Draft. (Clubs in the OHL are permitted two imported players on their roster). Has was one of just 12 players selected by CHL teams, that were already drafted by NHL organizations.
A big two-way defenseman at 6’-4”, 190 pounds, Has spent 2014-2017 with the HC Sparta Praha program, appearing in 88 games, collecting 15 goals and 24 assists, all while often competing against players two and three years older than him.
For the next two seasons, Has played with the Tappara U20 team in the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, playing in 84 games and registering 32 points.
Has began the 2019-2020 season with the Tappara U20 team, scoring a goal in two games, but was subsequently called up to Liiga with Tappara for five games. Has had a goal and an assist before being loaned to Koovee in the Finnish Mestis League, where he played in 13 games, registered a goal, and was +4.
Has then left Koovee for the World Junior tournament where he played on Czech Republic’s top defensive pairing, registering a goal and three points in five games.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 28, 2019
North Bay General Manager Adam Dennis said in a team statement that he expects Has to be in the lineup for his first game on Thursday at home against the Mississauga Steelheads. The team will then play the following night against top NHL draft-prospect Quinton Byfield and the Sudbury Wolves.
North Bay hasn’t had a great season so far, sitting last in the league standings, so the addition of Has will immediately help the team. Has will likely see a lot of ice time in a transitioning year for the team, who has already traded some of their key players.
Initial scouting on Has mentions his skating as an initial concern, in terms of mobility, so the move to the OHL will give him an excellent opportunity to develop his skating, playing against some of the fastest players in his peer group.
Has faced Capitals prospect Connor McMichael at the World Junior tournament but will not have to defend against him again this season in the OHL, as McMichael’s London Knights have already played their only two games against North Bay.
Nova Caps will follow along with Has the remainder of this season, in addition to continuing our local coverage of Connor McMichael, as now the Capitals have two prospects in the OHL.
By Marcus Boutilier