Andrej Sustr said Wednesday that he has narrowed his list of potential NHL organizations to five or six and hopes to make a decision within the next two or three days.
Sustr, the 6-foot-8 defenseman who just completed his junior season at UNO, had long been expected to depart for professional hockey once the season ended.
“I don't want to sit on it too long,” he said. “I want to go somewhere and start playing and adjusting.”
Sustr said former UNO players Terry Broadhurst and Jayson Megna, who left the program after last season, and NHL veteran and ex-Maverick star Dan Ellis have been helpful in giving advice about what to look for in an NHL organization.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha's season ended Sunday, when it lost to Minnesota State-Mankato in the deciding game of a first-round WCHA playoff series.
“The first couple of days (this week), my adviser said he got at least 20 calls on me,” Sustr said. “I've kind of narrowed it down every day to a certain amount of teams and I talked to about 10 teams' (general managers) over the phone. I'm just looking to see the best fit and opportunity.”
Sustr, one of the Mavs' assistant captains, had career highs of nine goals, 16 assists and a plus-16 rating this season while earning third-team All-WCHA honors. He'll finish his three-year UNO career with 15 goals and 36 assists.
Mav coach Dean Blais has said he expects Sustr, a native of the Czech Republic, to possibly play in the NHL this season.
Sustr said getting an immediate NHL opportunity isn't necessarily his primary objective.
“I'm looking for a good organization that'll be a good fit for me in the long term,” he said. “There's still time to develop and adjust. I have a lot of respect for the NHL and the AHL (American Hockey League, a top minor league).
“Everyone dreams of playing in the NHL, and if there's a team that would be willing to give me a couple of games in the NHL then that would be a great opportunity. If there's a chance to play a lot of minutes in the AHL next year, or even this year, that would be great. That would get me a little bit more ready for the upcoming season and show me what I need to work on this summer.”
Sustr came to UNO as an under-the-radar, raw recruit with a big upside because of his size. He's leaving as a player who was watched intensely by NHL scouts all season — he also considered turning pro last summer.
“I obviously got better each and every year, got stronger and more mature with each game,” the 225-pound Sustr said. “I think I did my job individually. But as a team you always want to win championships, and our main goal this year was to get to the Final Five — and it's hard to overcome that we didn't.
“But I believe in the next few years this will be a strong group that will compete for championships year in and year out.”
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