Monday, July 25, 2005


Radovan Somik and Martin Strbak to Stay in Europe

The NHL is getting a little less Slovak these days :(

A bit of surprising and bad news for Flyers fans as 28 year-old Slovakian winger Radovan Somik has decided to stay in Europe following the lockout and will not return to the NHL.

Radovan Somik played in 2 seasons with the Flyers, compiling 12 goals and 20 assists in 113 regular season games and 2 goals and 2 assists in 14 playoff games.

While Somik was never an offensive superstar, even in Europe, but he was good defensively, had a cheap salary, and was always very coachable in Ken Hitchcock's system.

Somik really developed good chemistry with countryman Michal Handzus and big Donald Brashear as an effective checking unit. Somik's skating ability and smarts combined with Brashear's size and aggressiveness and Handzus' defensive reads made this combo one of the more effective and underrated checking units since the Florida Panthers trotted out Mike Hough-Brian Skrudland-Jody Hull to shut down the league's top offensive lines.

Somik made a modest US$600,000 last year, and wouldn't have really been able to make that much more as a Restricted Free Agent. It's no surprise, really, that Somik would stay in Europe where he could make similar money and play a more offensive role than he did with the Flyers.

Also, Penguins defenseman Martin Strbak signed a contract with CSKA Moscow that does NOT contain an NHL out clause. Strbak had played in Russia before his brief NHL career, and decided that the money in the NHL ($550,000 with rollback and taxes on top) could not compare to the star salary he could earn in Vodkaland ($500,000+ tax-free).

It's a shame for the Penguins, since Strbak is a pretty good 2-way defender and was one of their better players as they tanked the season. I was glad when he made the trek over here, and was pulling for the Kings or some other team (which was the Penguins) to give him a real shot.

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