Roman Cervenka Signs in KHL

Kent Wilson
May 15 2013 12:49PM

 

 

According to Ska's website, Roman Cervenka has signed a deal with the KHL team starting next season. Which means he won't be returning to the Flames or NA ice any time soon (read: ever).

When I discussed moving Cervenka at the deadline during the season, this was the primary reason - the high chance he wouldn't stick around after a rough go in the NHL. Cervenka was never a favorite of the coaching staff here in town, due to a lackluster two way game and low level of conditioning touched off by a blood condition at the start of the year.

The loss of Cervenka on the ice isn't a major one. He had some obvious offensive skill but his overall game was limited due to medicore skating and underwhelming defensive acumen. He projected more or less as supporting 3rd line scorer who would have to be sheltered to be effective.

There's a chance Cervenka may have eventually improved as he acclimated to NA hockey, but it's a better bet we're at his peak as a pro hockey player right now.

I maintain the move was a worthwhile experiment by Feaster and company, but was doomed to fail owing to a number of circumstances, some that cropped up unexpectedly along the way. It's too bad the club couldn't covert him into something worthwhile before he fled back across the pond though.

Anyways, here is the google translation of the linked article:

SKA has signed a contract with the striker "Calgary" Roman Cervenka. In the CHL rights owned by Czech striker HC "Lion."

In Prague SKA team moved forward Teemu Ramstedt, as "Lion" has the right to a defense attorney Michal Jordan, selected in the fourth round draft pick in 2009. Roman Cervenka - a graduate of the Prague "Slavia", for which he played for 10 seasons.

In 2010, the striker moved to the "Vanguard" and became the top scorer in the CHL, scoring 31 washer. For three consecutive seasons Cervenka scored more than one point per game. Forward leading scorer in the Czech championship and participated twice in the NHL All-Star Game. In 2009, the new SKA won gold medals in the World Cup in the Czech national team, and the following year won the bronze medal tournament.

This season in the "Lion" and "Calgary" Roman Cervenka spent 44 games and scored 20 (10 +10) points. Agreement with the Czech hockey player designed for three years. SKA forward to join the team after the holiday.

(obviously some things are lost in translation there. Point is, they've signed him).

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 RexLibris
May 16 2013, 08:58AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

By what measure?

Looking at players who managed 200+ NHL games, regardless of draft ranking. I've got a table of every draft pick made by every team between 1996 and 2006 finished up and am putting the finishing touches on the article now.

I'll try to expand it to 2008 this month to factor in the more recent drafts, but whereas the league average over that period was around 18.5%, the Flames were somewhere around 16% while Edmonton was approximately 15%.

Tampa Bay was at 7%. The worst team in the league at drafting by a country mile.

The Flames' suffered because their 1st round picks failed at a higher than normal rate and Sutter kept trading youth for experience out of the support players. At the same time they failed to develop anybody to add to their top six.

The worst draft in recent Flames record was 2006 where Leland Irving was the only NHL player of note to be selected. And given the kind of player he's become that tells you a great deal about how bad that year was. That it followed closely on the heels of the second-worst draft year for the Flames, 2005, only served to compound the problem.

From everything I've found looking at teams that have rebuilt, a catastrophic draft year usually results in a dramatic collapse in the standings approximately five to six years later. The Flames essentially delayed that collapse by a year due to the outstanding performances from Kiprusoff and Iginla, both of whom hid a mountain of organizational weaknesses, which you've documented very well.

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#52 RexLibris
May 16 2013, 09:01AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Well said and I agree 100%

On another note: How many teams are calling the Leafs right now about Reimer and Gardiner?

They overachieved all season and when it ended it ended in spectacular fashion. Perhaps Carlyle should've instructed his charges to leave their own zone once or twice during the final half of the 3rd.

I've got Nonis on the phone right now.

They really need to change their "on hold" music....

;-)

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#53 RexLibris
May 16 2013, 09:09AM
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please cancel acct wrote:

Jager'esque expectations? You gotta be kidding.I;LL call your bluff on this .Who on this site thought Cervanka was a Jagr twin? Or for that matter anywhere close?

I think the Jagr comment is in reference to what he said about Cervenka at the time of the signing, combined with Feaster's own hyperbole about the player being the best player outside of the NHL and a 1st or 2nd line center.

I was posting often on that article thread and was critical of the signing because of the heavy wagers placed by the club on the player (not the financial exposure or term) and much of the optimism surrounding Cervenka's signing was in line with Kurt's take.

The signing was a decent one for any team to make, but just as the Oilers are guilty of leaning too much on Justin Schultz, the Flames management set expectations far too high for Cervenka. Given Hartlety's reluctance to dress the player as well it suggests there may be a disconnect in communication.

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#54 Kurt
May 16 2013, 09:13AM
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RexLibris wrote:

Looking at players who managed 200+ NHL games, regardless of draft ranking. I've got a table of every draft pick made by every team between 1996 and 2006 finished up and am putting the finishing touches on the article now.

I'll try to expand it to 2008 this month to factor in the more recent drafts, but whereas the league average over that period was around 18.5%, the Flames were somewhere around 16% while Edmonton was approximately 15%.

Tampa Bay was at 7%. The worst team in the league at drafting by a country mile.

The Flames' suffered because their 1st round picks failed at a higher than normal rate and Sutter kept trading youth for experience out of the support players. At the same time they failed to develop anybody to add to their top six.

The worst draft in recent Flames record was 2006 where Leland Irving was the only NHL player of note to be selected. And given the kind of player he's become that tells you a great deal about how bad that year was. That it followed closely on the heels of the second-worst draft year for the Flames, 2005, only served to compound the problem.

From everything I've found looking at teams that have rebuilt, a catastrophic draft year usually results in a dramatic collapse in the standings approximately five to six years later. The Flames essentially delayed that collapse by a year due to the outstanding performances from Kiprusoff and Iginla, both of whom hid a mountain of organizational weaknesses, which you've documented very well.

Interesting....

Semi related to this topic. As an Oiler fan/follower do you think their rebuild is way off the rails or about on track, or somewhere in between. Of course I'm sure you agree management has bungled it a bit. At least that would appear to be the consensus from both inside and outside Edmonton. But I'm not sure what the logically analysis says. Around here everyone loves to point and say its already failed miserably and just laugh and say the Oilers still suck....

But I'm wondering if from a very high level, 5-7 year timeline you feel its working? Will work? Has worked?

I ask because you mention a catastrophic draft year results in a dramatic collapse 5-6 years later. I'm assuming that means it takes 5-6 years to really feel the impact of drafting and developing on the positive side as well? Or is that too much of a generalization.... I'm really curious from our perspective because I've been advocating an Oiler style slow and 'proper' rebuild through drafting and patience (hate to use the word 'proper'... perhaps traditional is a better term). I get killed in these forums for it. Most people want to try and fast track things, retool, speed it up, not suck like Edmonton etc. Then everyone points to the Oiler as evidence of a failed rebuild through the draft.

Personally I feel the Oilers are maybe slightly off the rails, but given the timelines to develop their superstars (Hall, RNH, Yakupov) it appears they are about where they should be and poised to make dramatic moves the next 2 years (maybe slightly struggling again this year). I'm curious to know you thoughts Rex.. Thanks

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#55 icedawg_42
May 16 2013, 09:27AM
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Meh. Buh-bye Cervenka. I was rooting for him to become something, but continually noted that he was completely unwilling to go to hard areas, mix it up and get dirty to score goals. Undeniably has some individual talents, but I think from quite early on you could see this exact scenario playing out. No surprises here. Best of luck in the KHL.

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#56 BurningSensation
May 16 2013, 09:58AM
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Kurt wrote:

Interesting....

Semi related to this topic. As an Oiler fan/follower do you think their rebuild is way off the rails or about on track, or somewhere in between. Of course I'm sure you agree management has bungled it a bit. At least that would appear to be the consensus from both inside and outside Edmonton. But I'm not sure what the logically analysis says. Around here everyone loves to point and say its already failed miserably and just laugh and say the Oilers still suck....

But I'm wondering if from a very high level, 5-7 year timeline you feel its working? Will work? Has worked?

I ask because you mention a catastrophic draft year results in a dramatic collapse 5-6 years later. I'm assuming that means it takes 5-6 years to really feel the impact of drafting and developing on the positive side as well? Or is that too much of a generalization.... I'm really curious from our perspective because I've been advocating an Oiler style slow and 'proper' rebuild through drafting and patience (hate to use the word 'proper'... perhaps traditional is a better term). I get killed in these forums for it. Most people want to try and fast track things, retool, speed it up, not suck like Edmonton etc. Then everyone points to the Oiler as evidence of a failed rebuild through the draft.

Personally I feel the Oilers are maybe slightly off the rails, but given the timelines to develop their superstars (Hall, RNH, Yakupov) it appears they are about where they should be and poised to make dramatic moves the next 2 years (maybe slightly struggling again this year). I'm curious to know you thoughts Rex.. Thanks

Re: Oilers rebuild

A few things;

- It wasn't a rebuild until they bombed out two years in a row. The Oil had been 'whale hunting' for guys like Nylander and Heatley to compliment Khabiboulin, until reality smacked them in the face. Twice.

- If you look at the Oiler's mgt perspective once they actually commit to the rebuild (Post Nuge), the moves they have made make sense (signing Schultz, re-signing Smid, etc).

- Because they have only been in the rebuild phase a short amount of time there are gaps and holes all over the roster that need to be addressed. In particular; the defense is borderline atrocious and at a minimum they need two vets preferrably in their early prime - at least one of whom has to be able to walk the line on the powerplay , Dubnyk isn't Patrick Roy 2.0 and could use a cheap vet who can mentor him if he really is your #1, 2nd line center is a screaming void behind The Nuge (a guy whose shoulders now make popcorn sounds), Gagner and Hemsky aren't good fits, any checking line with Ryan Smyth is old and expensive and can't reliably check anyone, etc.

Given the short period of actually being committed to a rebuild the Oil are doing fine. However because the perspective of the outsider (and some insiders) is that the rebuild is supposed to be further along than simply 'Post-Nuge', a lack of progress may cause the fanbase to get their pitchforks.

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#57 BurningSensation
May 16 2013, 10:09AM
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@RexLibris

"The signing was a decent one for any team to make, but just as the Oilers are guilty of leaning too much on Justin Schultz, the Flames management set expectations far too high for Cervenka. Given Hartlety's reluctance to dress the player as well it suggests there may be a disconnect in communication."

I don't see the disappointment with Cervenka as being all that big. Right from the start we knew we were taking a free swing at a possible top 6 guy, but also that there was no guarantee he was going to be an impact player. Of course the Flames hoped he might fill a top line position. They just signed a coveted FA pivot of the right age and skillset, and I think they were rightly excited what he might be.

Between; the lock-out, the blood clot thing, his being out of shape to start the year, Hartley's lack of faith, etc. there are lots of reasons why Cervenka didn't succeed that I would point to before I get to 'expectations set too high'.

As for Hartley not playing him, I put that on Hartley. Feaster obviously didn't tell Hartley he MUST PLAY Cervenka, or he likely would have. On the contrary, I think Feaster leaves the coaching decisions to his coach.

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#58 suba steve
May 16 2013, 10:34AM
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@BurningSensation

"I think Feaster leaves the coaching decisions to his coach."

I agree, but wish he would communicate more with coaches on player personnel issues. May help prevent the next Babchuk/Sarich type signing, or at very least advise not pursuing these players quite so aggressively--as in offer them less term, less money, and cool it with handing out the NTC.

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#60 RexLibris
May 16 2013, 01:02PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Interesting. My interest would be more in the post-2003 (lockout) years than back in 1996. The league has changed drastically since.

It has, but in order to provide enough data, and using the five year embargo as a rule, starting in 2003 would only give you a small window. And many of the scouting groups were more or less the same pre and post lockout.

The exercise was meant to tease out the truth from the common narrative about some teams being better or worse at the draft and what the actual rate of success is.

As fans we want to believe that every exciting prospect in any given year is likely to become the next folk hero or star of the team. This helps to temper those expectations with real historical results.

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#61 RexLibris
May 16 2013, 04:03PM
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@Kurt

The rebuild is neither right on plan nor off the rails.

Critics, both in Edmonton and outside, often forget just how very little the franchise had by way of talent and prospects. Rob Schremp was the great offensive hope of the team, need I say more?

The Oilers have benefited in the following ways, during the years that they finished at the bottom of the league there were clear offensive forwards available in neat succession, LW - C - RW. They also lucked out in getting Eberle 22nd overall in 2008 and having some depth in the Paajarvi pick at 10th in 2009.

They had virtually no defensive prospects outside of Smid and Petry and veterans who were past their peak or were graduating into support-player territory.

Where the Oilers have not benefited during this rebuild is in the lack of any generational talents at the draft (Stamkos, Crosby, Ovechkin, etc) and the inability to find any decent supporting players.

Tambellini's conservatism preserved many of the high picks, but also cost the team some depth.

Robertson Davies once said that Canada was not so much a country one loved as a country one worried over. In some respects the Oilers elicit the same reaction.

I am concerned over the reaction of management and that they will make rash decisions in order to race back to the middle of the pack. At the same time, the status quo is clearly not acceptable.

How they finished this year is almost exactly where I had them pegged. Bottom 10 with a brief flirtation with the playoffs. They can't run with the big boys yet, but they have the basic pieces. Some development and depth additions and they should be finishing in the Detroit to Phoenix range next season.

By no means has this rebuild failed, and that narrative that is often thrown around ("for every Pittsburgh there is a Columbus or an Islanders out there") has been put aside for the time being.

No two rebuilds are the same and anyone who sets out to do it exactly like team A or team B is almost guaranteed to fail.

For the Flames, patience is absolutely necessary, and an acceptance that pride must be put aside for a time while management tends to their structural issues. Accept being bad, but take the time to correct a dysfunctional organization that has spent more than a generation trying to outrun its fate.

With regards to the draft, the Oilers royally soiled the sheets in 1990 (not a single selection went on to play even one NHL game). By 1994 they were drafting 4th overall behind some legendarily bad teams. It isn't a concrete rule, as sometimes a team can outspend fate for a time, but in the Flames' case, the Wideman and Hudler signings have likely only forestalled the inevitable.

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#62 RexLibris
May 16 2013, 04:10PM
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@BurningSensation

"If you look at the Oiler's mgt perspective once they actually commit to the rebuild (Post Nuge), the moves they have made make sense (signing Schultz, re-signing Smid, etc)"

Re: commitment to the rebuild

You mean the management's change of approach? Because the rebuild began in January of 2010, whereas Smid was re-signed this year. Or are you arguing that the rebuild has taken place since the drafting of Nugent-Hopkins in 2011? I'm not clear on the timeline you are using here.

I would say Tambellini's approach between Jan. 2010 and up until the trade deadline were very much in keeping with a conservative rebuilding approach.

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