Fantasy Impact: The Calgary Flames have signed free agent Czech forward Roman Cervenka to a one-year contract worth a reported $3.775 million, which is the maximum allowed for a first contract going to a 26-year-old, including bonuses.


The Flames get: a late blooming center who clicked really well with countryman Jaromir Jagr when they played together for their country. He was never drafted, but did play in the WJC when he was 20 with the likes of Rusty Olesz and Michal Frolik. He didn't really come into his own until he was 23 and finished second in Czech League scoring ahead of the likes of Martin Straka, Robert Reichel and David Vyborny.


At 24 he caught the attention of the NHL by leading the Czech League in scoring by a wide margin. He had two points in five games at the Olympics that year, but that was a year in which three points would have had third on the Czech Team in scoring. He decided to sign in the KHL, where he played with countryman Jagr and led the team (Omsk) in scoring with 61 points in 51 games - 11 more points than Jagr. That really caught the NHL's attention.


This past season, without Jagr, his production dropped to 39 points. He still led Avangaard Omsk in scoring, but the dropoff raises an eyebrow.


Cervanka is an average to smallish player at 5'11, 200 pounds. He's more of a goal scorer than a setup guy. Without an assist-machine on his wing, he'll struggle. We've seen top-scoring Czech players come over in the past - see Dopita, Jiri and Balastik, Jaroslav for details - and fail. Although to be fair, a single five-goal game that Dopita had comes to mind, and Balastik didn't give North America enough of a chance - his 22 points in 66 games as a rookie should have convinced him to give it a couple more years.


The difference with Cervanka is the simple fact that he's being paid a boatload of money. Not just the number itself, but the relative number compared to other players on the team. When management sticks their neck out for a player like this, he would have to fail miserably for a long, long time before he gets knocked down the lineup. I mean, we're talking 15 games, one point and minus-15... and he'll still get PP time. Don't believe me? See Leino, Ville.


Fantasy Players Impacted: Cervanka is draftable in a late round. He'll start slowly and is probably going take the same length of time that Leino took to get going - if the Flames let him. The contract makes me believe that his production will come, though it will perhaps take 20 or 30 games. Worth holding down on a spot on your bench for, just to see.


In the meantime, his presence probably ensures that Olli Jokinen goes bye-bye. If he can find the right linemate - and at this point Alex Tanguay is the only player who fits the bill (pass first) - he'll have a decent second half. Remember, Leino was pretty much written off in fantasy hockey until he was nearly a point-per-game player in the postseason for his second NHL team, the Flyers.


Fantasy Players this helps, in order:

1. Cervenka


Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:

1. Jokinen



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Comments (4)add comment

Rollie1967 said:

... I dont remember him being that big at the Olympics,thought he was smaller but he did look good. Considering this cost them nothing but cap space, and with the dearth of UFA forwards out there, not a bad move at all. Jokinen finished the year strong-but is probably going to get some decent offers, and Cervenka is a few years younger-something the Flames need. One of his teammates in the KHL- Kari Ramo is also flames property- could be an upgrade over Karlsson, but starting in the KHL he might be making more there.
May 02, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

... Agreed you got the contract right, i just added a bit of flesh to the bonessmilies/grin.gif

I wouldn't agree that you implied that the team scoring dropped off, if you did it was very cryptic, and the comment about his drop "raises an eyebrow" is a little unfair imo without being clearer about the drop in team scoring.

Sorry if I'm being over protective of the flames latest signing but just wanted everything to be clear.

Thanks for getting back to me on my prospects forum question by the way.
May 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

... I got the contract right, and the team dropping off is implied - since he led the team both years. Ergo - if he drops off, the team drops off. But thanks for chiming in!
May 02, 2012
Votes: -1

UKflames said:

Cervenka, your missing some facts Now for the part of the write up that you missed out.

The actual deal is $3.775 including bonuses. His salary will be $925K. Signing bonus is 10%, or $92,500 and performance bonuses $2.85M. Whilst the total amount may count against the cap in the first instance he is going to have to have a great year to earn it all. Low risk/high reward for a 1 year deal.

You quoted the drop off in scoring this season without Jagr, indicating that he was riding Jagr's coat tails, but you failed to mention that the rest of the team also dropped off in scoring as well. In the 10/11 regular season Avangaard scored 176 goals, in the 11/12 season they only scored 133, whilst giving up more goals against(115 V's 120).
The next two highest scorers on the team also dropped this season, Prezhogin scored 37 points in 10/11 but only 27 this season, Popov scored 32 points in 10/11 but only 23 this season. Showing that scoring as a whole was down for Avangaard not just Cervanka.

I also like the fact that he is a goal scorer, if Baertschi sends him passes like he has been to Rattie I think you could see a few points out of him.
May 02, 2012
Votes: +3
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