The Detroit Red Wings are famous for signing players out of Sweden that go on to become stars and now they’ve turned their attention the Czech Republic.
The team announced they’ve signed 21-year-old forward Tomas Nosek to a two-year entry-level deal. He spent the past three seasons playing for HC Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga piling up 24 goals and 62 points in 129 games. This season he had 44 points in 52 games with 19 goals.
Nosek was a member of Pardubice’s Extraliga championship-winning team in 2012 and won the award for most penalized player in the 2013-14 playoffs with 44 penalty minutes in 10 games. Feisty.
As Red Wings development coach Jiri Fischer told Bob Duff of The Windsor Star, they like what he’s got, but he has work to do.
“He’ll have to get stronger, work on his skating,” Fischer said. “He is a hard worker, he is willing. This past year he worked on his finishing and his shot.
“He just gets better every year. He’s signing with us based on how much better he’s gotten the last three years.”
Look for Nosek to challenge for a spot in Detroit but likely start next season in the AHL with Grand Rapids.
The New York Rangers are a game away from having their season ended and they’re already looking ahead to next season.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Rangers have signed Czech defenseman Petr Zamorsky to a two-year deal.
Zamorsky, 21, spent the past three seasons playing for HC Zlin in the Czech Extraliga. He also suited up for the Czech Republic at the 2014 World Championships.
In 118 games with Zlin, he had 16 goals and 20 assists as well as 144 penalty minutes. At Worlds this year he had three assists and 12 penalty minutes in 10 games. Perhaps most notably, Zamorsky is a right-handed shot on the blue line, something that’s become harder to find in the NHL.
Zamorsky will compete for a job with the big club in training camp but it’s expected he will start in the AHL with Hartford.
Players landing lockout deals can sometimes come with consequences. For players out of North America, that means they likely have to leave their families behind. For Washington’s Jason Chimera, doing that proved to be difficult.
Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times reports Chimera left Chomutov in the Czech Extraliga to return home after playing five games there. From Whyno’s report:
Chomutov manager Leo Gudas told TV NOVA Sport: “He wasn’t able to live here separated from family, especially his children.”
Finding a new job abroad while locked out is made a bit more difficult when it means leaving the wife and kids at home. You may not often think of players in that sort of light, but the lockout is hitting them hard in other ways.
Milan Michalek is headed home to play hockey. Unfortunately for Senators fans, that home isn’t Ottawa.
The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Michalek has signed a deal with HC Mountfield of the Czech Extraliga to play during the lockout.
Michalek is the seventh Ottawa player to land overseas during the work stoppage but the first to wind up in the Czech league. Jason Spezza is in Switzerland, Sergei Gonchar and Kaspars Daugavins are in the KHL, Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris are in Finland, and Erik Condra landed in Germany.
Last season, Michalek scored 35 goals and finished Ottawa’s surprising season with 60 points in 77 games. His goal total was a career high while his point output was his best since his 2006-07 season with San Jose.
For most players who have gone to Europe to play hockey during the lockout, it’s almost like an escape from the pressure of playing in the NHL. For Tomas Plekanec, playing for HC Kladno in the Czech Extraliga it’s eerily similar to playing in Montreal.
Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press hears about how playing with a team with six other NHL stars amps up the pressure at home.
“When you don’t score for two games, it’s in the papers,” said Plekanec. “Every team basically we play against, if they beat us it’s like they won the Olympics or Stanley Cup almost.”
With teammates like team owner Jaromir Jagr, Tomas Kaberle, Jiri Tlusty, and Marek Zidlicky you can understand why Kladno fans would be so intently focused on how the team is doing.
With the team in fifth place right now, you can imagine the press is starting to get a bit grumpy. If things get bad enough maybe he’ll start to miss the Montreal microscope.