by PuckStopsHere on 05/07/12 at 01:43 PM ET
Hockey pundits are always on the lookout for the best player who is not in the NHL. For most of the last few years the consensus choice for this honor was Alexander Radulov. Now that he is back in the NHL (at least temporarily), these pundits have been looking for another player to give this honor. One candidate that many chose was Roman Cervenka. He is a 26 year old Czech forward who was last playing in the KHL. He was a member of the 2010 Czech Olympic team. He has appeared in the two KHL All Star Games that occurred when he was in the league. In 2011 he was the top goal scorer in the league.
Last week he signed a one year entry level contract with the Calgary Flames. This deal has been incorrectly reported as being worth $3.775 million but Cervenka will not earn anywhere near that amount.
Like any entry level deal a good portion of the money available is in bonuses. He is paid a base contract of $925,000 if he stays in the NHL next year. The rest of the money is performance bonuses for scoring goals, winning awards etc. As a result Cervenka will not likely get make close to the $3.775 million figure and if he does he will have had an outstanding year and be worth it.
Cervenka is only signed for one year. It will be interesting to see what happens beyond that. Cervenka could fail and return to Europe or be subject to a significant bidding war as an NHL free agent.
Roman Cervenka is a player who might be a significant player next year. It is really hard to project how he will do in a new league. He was a teammate of Jaromir Jagr in the KHL and outscored Jagr, so it is reasonable to expect he could do better than Jagr did this year. However Jagr has learned how to succeed in the NHL in the past and Cervenka has had no such opportunity. The hope in Calgary is that he will be a valuable top six forward. He might be much more than that. He is one off season signing that could be very significant to his team and to the NHL.
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