Flames officially sign Daniel Pribyl

For about a month now, Daniel Pribyl’s name has been on Flames fans’ radars. Of course, we can expect the front office to have been aware for far longer than that – and with good reason, as the 23-year-old Czech forward has officially signed a two-year deal with Calgary.

The Flames weren’t the only team interested in Pribyl, but they’re the ones who landed the 6’3, 238 lb. right winger – sticking with him even as he requires ACL surgery (which he actually had done in Calgary, according to Bob McKenzie).

This could be a perfect fit. The Flames are lacking in right wingers, as well as size: two areas in which Pribyl has something to offer, mostly by being a big right winger. The opportunity is there for him as well; since Jiri Hudler’s trade, the Flames have been hard pressed to find a third complimentary piece to Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan’s line. 

Not that it’ll automatically be Pribyl’s for the taking – in fact, there’s a fair chance he starts his 2016-17 season in the AHL – but it’s certainly an intriguing thought, and it’s not as though Calgary is swimming in candidates.

Of course, it could end up not working out at all. But we’ll never know unless we try, and the Flames are certainly trying.

Pribyl finishes his time in the Czech league with a point-per-game season: 45 in 45. He played nine playoff games before his injury, in which he scored 11 points.

Over the six seasons he played for Sparta Praha, he scored 47 goals and recorded 62 assists for a grand total of 109 points through 174 games: a .63 point per game pace through his career, starting from when he was just a teenager and carrying through to today. Through 37 playoff games, he had 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 total points: .65 points per game.

His numbers got better as he got older, so it’s reasonable to believe he’s still developing. He’s also only 23 years old – he’ll turn 24 on Dec. 18 – so he fits right in with the Flames’ current age group. This isn’t Roman Cervenka or even Jakub Nakladal coming over as a 27-year-old; this is a younger player with greater size who may have something more to offer – and, based on the position he plays, may be given a very real chance.

Who else do the Flames have down the right side? For now, it’s really just Michael Frolik and Josh Jooris, perhaps Emile Poirier, and a player like Garnet Hathaway being a possibility – but not a high-end one. There have also been a couple of forwards tried on their off-wings, such as Micheal Ferland and Hunter Shinkaruk, but that’s about it. 

Calgary may add more players to the right side yet, via draft or trade or further free agency. But this is a team desperate for greater impact on the wing, particularly on the right, so anyone and everyone with a hint of possibility should be welcome, and that absolutely includes Pribyl.

Securing him to a contract with the Flames is the first step. There are a few directions this could go in when the season starts; we’ll find out in the coming months. 

But as far as no-risk signings go, this is one that could pay off. If Pribyl turns out, the Flames get one step closer to forming a better, more complete roster; if he doesn’t, then no harm, no foul.

  • beloch

    Recovery from ACL surgery can take several months, so it’s by no means certain Pribyl will be ready to go in October, let alone for the summer prospect camp. Even once his knee is healed up he will likely be a step behind in his conditioning. My guess is that he’ll start out in the AHL early to mid-season and come up to the Flames once he’s healthy and adequately conditioned.

    • MattyFranchise

      I can’t remember where I saw it, I think on twitter somewhere, but Treliving has been quoted as saying that Pribyl will most likely start in the AHL next season.

  • Stu Cazz

    Great signing. With the injury, the adjustment to pro hockey and North America would not be an issue for him to spend the entire season in Stockton. If his health and development progress as expected get him in for a few game similar to the Nakladahl strategy…nice work BT!

  • KiLLKiND

    I don’t understand the sudden dislike of the Cervenka signing so many things aligned for his only season to go terribly. He had a blood clot and missed the first part of the already shortened and training camp less season. He was never even given a chance to succeed and it was still a no risk signing. I still feel that if he had a good off season and learned form the first season that he could have adjusted to the NHL quite well by now.

  • KiLLKiND

    Great signing still! I hope he is given roughly the same opportunity Nak was last year. I think even if he has the skill to play in the NHL right away the AHL would still be best for him to be in at the start to learn the NA game without being thrown to the wolves.

    • Stu Cazz

      With the nature of his injury he will most likely not be in game shape. I agree let’s not rush this kid and give him the time he needs to recover and adjust…

    • freethe flames

      I read on Flames from 80 that he is 218lbs not 238; this was from the Czech teams program.Here’s a bit more about him, as taken from the HC Sparta Praha website:
      Number: 74
      Born: Dec. 12, 1992
      Birthplace: Pisek, CZE
      Height: 6-foot-3
      Weight: 216 lbs
      Shoots: Right

  • beloch

    Cervenka:

    1. Was not healthy.
    2. Was not a centre.
    3. Did not speak English.

    It’s a miracle he lasted as long as he did, and not surprising that he decided never to return to the NHL, even though he was probably more than good enough to stick had these three conditions not conspired to ruin his time in Calgary. Had the situation been handled differently Cervenka could be playing in the NHL today (Playing in the same league as Pribyl this year, Cervenka put up 1.23 ppg vs Pribyl’s 1.04 ppg).

    So, what have we learned? Don’t bring in a foreign player and place huge pressure on him to excel in a position he’s not used to while he’s simultaneously struggling with both his health and the English language.

    Pribyl’s two-year contract and expectations that he’ll start in the AHL suggest that he won’t be under the gun immediately the way Cervenka was. I have no idea if the reports of him being a right winger are any more true than the reports of Cervenka being a centre were. Only time will tell. Finally, the fact that Pribyl is already in town, even if it’s just for knee surgery, gives him a chance to start learning the language if he isn’t already fluent. Ideally, one of the team’s Czech players who is still in town will volunteer to billet Pribyl and start pumping Canadian English and hockey sense into him. If, for example, Pribyl and Backlund were best buddies by the end of the summer, that’s nothing but win for everyone concerned.

    • Stu Cazz

      If I may add….Feaster created unreasonable expectations (similar to the Jankowski draft) that Cervenka was the best player not in the NHL…as well he was much older than Pribyl which immediately creates higher expectations….Cervenka was perhaps too soft of a player for the NHL but at the end of the day his stats were decent….

  • Baalzamon

    Ideally, one of the team’s Czech players who is still in town will volunteer to billet Pribyl and start pumping Canadian English and hockey sense into him. If, for example, Pribyl and Backlund were best buddies by the end of the summer, that’s nothing but win for everyone concerned.

    But Backlund is Swedish…

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I really hope he is not 238 lbs especially now that he is not going to be able to do high intensity training in the off season due to his injury. Given his height a lean 218 would be nice.

    It is nice to see that Calgary has landed a player that checks so many boxes. I am still worried that Burke and the Flames brass still don’t fully value smaller players. They did not have any interest in Baerschi or Granlund…. But were smart enough to know Johnny is their meal ticket.

    The big question that remains is, if the Flames Lottery worst case scenario is realized and the drop down to 8th and the best forwards available are Nylander or Clayton, would they go BPA and take a higher ranked defender or go off the grid and take 6’6″ Logan Brown earlier than projected.

    Personally, I can see the value in big bodied skilled player at the expense of a small bodied skilled player but not at the expense of a small bodied elite player like Nylander and Clayton are projected. When the flames won the cup in 1989 they had a great mix of size, speed, and skill. Players like Otto, Peplinski, and Niewendyke complimented Fleury, Gilmour, Loob, and Mullen.

    Imo players like Nylander and Clayton have game breaking ability and should not be passed over. In fact, I would go as far as to say teams like Anaheim missed the small skilled forward to augment there power forwards.

    I see Clayton having that “it” factor and Nylander being the by product of a steep hockey family that continues to work on refining their skills to be truly elite.

    • MattyFranchise

      Reports on his weight have been varied. For instance, wikipedia lists him at 86 kilos or about 190 pounds, hockeydb lists him at 189, Calgary Sun says 220. Elite Prospects obviously lists him at 238.

      Everyone seems to agree on his height though 6’3. If he comes in at 6’3/200 then that will be great. Would make this signing even better.

    • Baalzamon

      They did not have any interest in Baerschi or Granlund

      Well, Baertschi pretty much hasn’t progressed at all in the last three years (compare his results with the Canucks to his results with the Flames. They’re basically the same), and Granlund was traded for a player smaller than he is (Shinkaruk). Plus they drafted Mangiapane last summer. Kylington too, and he’s “small”

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) If Hartley were gone, I’d gladly take Cervenka back. He’s better than many of the players we’ve seen on the roster since then.

    2) Pribyl was 2nd in the Czech Extraliga in points, and is only 23. That’s a good sign.

    3) The most recent NHLe conversion I can find for the Czech Extraliga is Vollman’s from 2014, where he called it a 0.44 league. Pribyl’s 1.0 points per game thus ought to translate into something around 0.44 ppg in the NHL, or a 36 point pace.

    4) A big-bodied 15 goal winger making ELC money? I’ll take it.

    • freethe flames

      I don’t know why you can’t get overly excited about this guy but are overly excited about Janko. I’m excited about all of our higher end prospects but what I hope not to do is put false expectations on any of them. Pollck, Mangiapane, Andersson, Janko, and Pribyl all have a chance to make this organization better and that is something to be excited about.

  • RKD

    Bring on the Pribyl, he’s got size which Cervenka didn’t have. The ACL injury sucks but he’s younger than Cervenka and has got time to heal faster. The reality is that Jagr made Cervenka, Cervenka might have had success in the East where he would have less travel and played his East West game more but not in a travel laden brutally physical Western Conference. Nothing against Cervenka, but he’s more suited for the KHL game.