Flames Courting D Jakub Nakladal

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Flames are one of three NHL teams trying to sign 27 year old Czech Jakub Nakladal. Those of you who have been following the World Championships closely probably recognize him as one of the Czech team’s top-4 options.

Aside from his hockeydb page, there isn’t much out there about Nakladal. His results in the KHL over four seasons suggest a depth guy without much offense (single digit point totals each season), so I asked Corey Pronman of ESPN is he had any insight.

Sounds kinda like a new school shut-down guy: mobile, smart but limited offense. At 27, he’s the right age for the Flames needs. It remains to be seen if he actually signs with Calgary and if he proves to be NHL caliber. As we saw with the Roman Cervenka experiment, sometimes veterans from across the pond can’t translate their games in North America.

  • Nick24

    I can’t help but wonder how the Roman Cervenka experiment would have worked out if

    1) We had training camp that season
    2) He didn’t have a blood infection
    3) We had a decent winger to put on his line
    4) He had a better attitude

  • Greg

    Personally I’m tired of these European player signings. Has any of them ever done anything in the NHL? If any of them were worth the contract, they’d have been in the NHL long before their late 20s. Or at least ripping up the KHL and getting tons of “when his contract is done” hype.

      • Greg

        Yes because that’s obviously the type of player I was referring to. There’s a difference between guys who were drafted high and played in Europe, and guys who just started getting interest in their mid-late 20s. One has a chance of being a top line/pairing player, the other has an outside chance of making the team.

        I just don’t see why these undrafted Europeans are even noteworthy. Then again, setougougi and Murray caused a big news stir. But that’s really what we’re talking about here.

        And that’s what concerns me… Feaster added cervenka when he didn’t have better options, so I hope this isn’t an indication that BT has no better options to improve our top 4. We need a Franson or Petry type signing, not another guy who will compete with schlemko or Wotherspoon. He knows he’s not in Phoenix anymore and is allowed to spend a little money right?

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Has any of them ever done anything in the NHL?

      I heard Jonas Hiller was pretty good. Antti Niemi. Viktor Fasth had his moments.

      Funny that they’re all goalies, but there it is.

  • RKD

    Didn’t we learn anything from the Cervenka experiment? It was Jagr would made Cervenka a better player in the KHL and not the other way around. I know Cervenka had a blood infection and missed the training camp but his game and compete level were nowhere near what it needed to be in the NHL. He had 17 points in 39 games which if you extrapolate out to a full season would be about 36 points. I’m not saying Nakladal would have the same experience but the NHL is a totally beast. It’s not as easy to go from one league to another and just fit in and play well. Cervenka would be better as a complimentary piece to a fully loaded team making a Stanley Cup run.

  • Burnward

    Funny Pronman said no offense. He was the trigger man on the point for the Czech’s PP and seemed to have a decent shot.

    Maybe that was lack of options, but he wasn’t horrible out there.

  • beloch

    The Cervenka experiment was a good, no-risk idea that didn’t pay off. The Flames lost nothing but could have gained a center had things gone differently. For those blaming Cervenka, imagine being in a foreign country, speaking next to no English, having a rare life-threatening illness (TM), and being expected to play hockey at the highest level. That was probably one of the crappiest years of Cervenka’s life.

    As for Nakladal, hockeydb says he’s a right-hander, which means he’s a lock for the third pair. Yes, the Flames will have third pairing defenders to spare even if they don’t re-sign Diaz or Schlemko, but righty’s are a need. If the probability of actually playing in the NHL matters to this guy, the Flames have got to be a better choice than the hawks.

    • Burnward

      Watched a fair bit of the Czech’s, I definitely found myself asking “Who vis that?” a few times in a good way in regards to him.

      Comparable would maybe be Wideman as far as skating with a little more physicality but less pure offense. Far from a plug though. Decent vision, good shot. Ran the point for them on the PP.

      • Greg

        He looked capable on offense with 5 points in 10 games. Not sure what Pronman was talking about, probably just reads his stats from euro leagues. Would be worth s shot as the Flames need some depth while they build up that position.

        • Nakladal has never scored at a noteworthy pace as a pro in any league (his best year is 15). And those are leagues that aren’t as good as the NHL.

          So, yeah, Nakladal probably doesn’t have offensive upside.

          • RexLibris

            But does he have corsi (shot attempt & shot suppression) upside like a MA Vlasic or Schlemko? That’s more important to our team that needs to rise in the corsi standings more than it needs to get creativity from our blueline..

      • beloch

        Thanks for the perspective. I didn’t get a chance to watch the WC this year unfortunately. That being said, 10 games (with the adrenaline rush of playing for your country) is not a very representative sample. Based on his stat-sheet, I’d be very surprised if Nakladal produced much offense over an 82 game NHL season.

        Then again, the Flames play a system that brings the offense out of their defense. Nakladal could produce more points in the Flames’ system than in any of the systems he’s played in Europe. However, even if all he does is come across the pond and be a positive possession player against third line competition… That’s something the Flames don’t currently have in practically any of their third pairing defenders.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          He was 2nd on his team in defense scoring this year. And, the low total could be to the hesitancy to award assists as is sometimes the case in Europe. Top rated prospect Miko Rantanen was on his team this year I believe. Maybe we get them both.

        • Rockmorton65

          Yes, it was a small sample…he would definitely regress from that point total over 82 games LOL

          I agree, would not be a high risk signing…and he would be an adequate replacement for Smid whose career may be over….

          And yes, Flames push offense from their back end which would help him secure more points.

  • Greg

    If they can’t sign him, oh well. If they end up getting him, good on BT. A no risk pickup with the potential to provide useful depth on the backend is rarely a bad idea.

    And if he shows something at 27, he’s still young enough that he might have a shot at a spot once the rebuild winds down.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    It’s a free pick up with little to no risk. If he’s doesn’t pan out, the Flames are out some cash and a bit of cap space (current assets the Flames have tons of), if he becomes something Nakladal bolsters a position that needs addressing. Get it done!

  • RexLibris

    With Brodie, Giordano, Wideman and Russell taking up the top four defensive spots the Flames need to improve the positions held down by Schlemko, Engelland and Smid.

    Nakladal doesn’t need to unseat the first four, but only help put pressure on the bottom three and force the weakest one out, himself included if need be.

    If the Flames sign him and he appears to be wanting they can assign him to the AHL. By my count the Flames are sitting at 40 contracts on the 50-man reserve list once July 1st hits and there will likely be more players shaking loose after that once they cull the farm team.

    If Nakladal becomes a shutdown puck-mover for the AHL squad and plays 20 games in the NHL next season as an injury call-up I don’t see a problem. The Flames don’t really have a number of viable alternatives for that role right now outside of Wotherspoon perhaps.

  • Rockmorton65

    I think BT would be wise to look at options other than FA to flesh out our defense. Franson, Petry, Sekera, etc would be nice additions, but GMs lose their minds on July 1. Some GM is probably going to give one of those guys 6×6. BT seems smarter than that to not get caught up in the hype.

      • Rockmorton65

        Yeah, that contract is going to haunt this organization for decades. Think of all the high end defensive prospects who had their careers ruined by Engelland taking their spot. Not to mention the elite prospects and free agents we weren’t able to sign because Engelland put us right against the cap. Yeah, that was a real bad contract.

          • Rockmorton65

            My point is this – people keep harping on the Engelland contract like its this huge burden to the team. Its not. The Flames needed a big, physical defenseman with experience as a short term fix. They may have overpaid on dollars, but the term was near perfect. By the time they have the long term solution in place, Engelland will be at the end of his contract. Either buy his last year out or bury him in Stockton. If someone can show me how this contract is a significant detriment to this team, or who they should have signed instead, I’d love to hear it.

            BTW, “blind allegiance”? Seriously? You know you CAN be a fan of this team and not criticize every move the team makes, right? I’m no BT cheerleader & I’m not a fan of Engelland, but I’m not going to whine about a slightly inflated contract for the next two years when at the end of the day, it has absolutely no negative impact on the long term success of the club.

        • MontanaMan

          The contract does have consequences.

          For instance, even though we have cap space next year, we don’t really have much cap space to sign any long term deals. We probably can’t bring in a Sekera or a Petry because we have to retain Giordano, Gaudreau, Monahan, and probably Russell and Hudler all of whom are (not the only) free agents in 2016. Add to that some of our free agents this offseason (Backlund, Bouma, Ferland are the big 3 looking at raises) and our cap situation in 2016 doesn’t look so hot. It’ll be managable, just barely, but we have to wait til 2017 before we can sign any useful free agents because Treliving decided that we have multiple contracts going right into 2016-17 in Mason Raymond (3m), Brandon Bollig (1.25m), Deryk Engelland (3m), and we already had another bad contract Burke brought in (Smid @ 3.5m).

          Those four contracts together kept us over the cap floor this season, but long term can’t be ignored because it’s going to be tough to find takers for any of them except Bollig, who we still need to lose to make roster space for better players.

          Even MacTavish was long-thinking enough to give Nikitin (who’s better than Engelland) a contract that, sure had a big cap hit (4.5m) but a short term (2Y).

          • FinFlamesFan

            Except Smids can get tossed onto LTIR and you get the cap space back.

            When they made that deal, who else were they going to pay to get to the cap floor? No one. Engelland maybe doesnt sign without the term Who knows what other teams were looking for him, however misguidedly?

            I hate that conteact and the term . But it can be rationalised as what was required at the time. But it will not hurt the short, medium or long term for the Flames.

          • Rockmorton65

            I dont think we should be signing any “big fish” for a year or two, anyway. We’re still in the aquisition/see what we have phase. Backlund, Bouma & Ferland will probably get signed for about 5-6 mil combined. Gio will get paid, I’m sure. Gaudreau & Monahan could get bridge deals. I agree they need to be smart about it, whether it be our own FA’s or others. I honestly believe that, when the team is ready to hand out a few big deals, Raymond, Bollig, Smid and Engelland wont be around.

          • BurningSensation

            Widemans 5.2mill will be off by then as well. Thats over 15.0 mill off in two years to 4 players that really won’t be missed 2 years from now.

            I wouldn’t mind pulling the trigger on a Seabrook deal & try to parlay Wideman into decent assets after last year. That’s just me

      • Rockmorton65

        Try to think about his impact to the Flames, rather than suing TSN as your source of great hockey insight.

        He took on 2nd pair minutes after Gio went down, and we actually had a winning record, and made the post season, and won the first round. We also didn’t fall below the cap floor and end up losing picks, forfeiting games or being fined.

        What did he do at trade deadline that made you think he had no good restraint?

        • TheoForever

          While I agree with you that Treliving is steady, the amount people defend the Engelland signing is ridiculous.

          1) Engelland was a tirefire in those 2nd pair minutes, saved only by the fact that Brodie isn’t just good, but probably Norris-calibre.

          2) We had a winning record because our top line forwards played beyond over their head, our remaining schedule was the softest stretch of the season, the Schlemko/Diaz pairing was driving play positively to the point where our bottom line (i.e. Bollig/Stajan/Shore/Ferland/Jooris) were on total fire whereas they were a possession black hole in the days of Engelland on the bottom line. Guess what line wasn’t performing while Engelland was on the middle pairing? Backlund disappeared (even as a corsi guy), Raymond became a no-show again, Colborne became one of our least effective players until the playoffs when Bennett came into the picture. Yep, that line that Engelland/Brodie usually played with.

          3) We won the first round because our forwards made it hell for Vancouver’s atrocious and overpaid bottom pairing, and because Brodie and Russell played like Doughty and Kieth in that series.

          4) The cap floor is a valid concern but can be solved without a 3 year deal for 32 year old Dman who cannot clear the zone in an era where all Dman need to be able to carry the puck out of the zone efficiently.

  • FinFlamesFan

    Engelland is a not-very-good player on a not-very-good contract. Them’s the facts. You don’t just get to point to outcomes and avoid the evidence at hand.

  • BurningSensation

    As for signing older foreign playing players, there is literally zero downside to this.

    Worst case scenario, the guy sucks and it cost whatever we paid to sign him, and then we never see him again.

    Best case, he’s a top 4 defender who can bump the rookies and Engelland down a peg.

    As long as it just costs $ to bring a guy in, there is no way to screw this up.

  • FinFlamesFan

    I got to see Nakladal a bit as he was playing here in Finland at TPS and based on that I wouldn’t mind having him on 3rd pairing.

    As said, not much offensive upside if at all, but doesn’t freak me out in own end the way Engelland does.

    Flames can’t lose nothing but a contract spot here.

  • WildfireOne

    Personally, I just like the sound of the name:
    Na-kla-dal

    Sounds like he’s some badass in a pulp fantasy novel. As in Nakladal the Necromancer.

    He’s gotta be better than the LAST non-NHL Czech import, right?