Saturday, January 30, 2010

Flyers sign D-man Lukas Krajicek

The Flyers may have finally found that NHL-caliber depth defenseman they were looking for. After injuries to Ryan Parent and Danny Syvret, the Flyers were left with a third defensive pairing of the slumping Oskars Bartulis and the ineffective Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. Clearly knowing that the pair wasn't good enough on a team with playoff aspirations, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren had desperately been searching for defensive help via a trade. Finding the asking price too high in a market where everyone is looking for a d-man, Holmgren went a different route and has signed recently waived former Ligthning defenseman Lukas Krajicek for the remainder of the season.

Krajicek, who was a former first round pick back in 2001, passed through waivers and was released by the Lightning and now figures to be a solid 6th or 7th defenseman with the Flyers. At 6 foot 3 and 205 pounds, he's not a big d-man but he will stay at home and protect the net. With only 70 career points in 301 NHL games with the Panthers, Canucks and Lightning, Krajicek isn't going to be an offensive threat. While he hasn't proven to be worth the first round pick the Panthers used on him 9 years ago, Krajicek is only 26 and can still be a solid contributor in the back end.

To make room for Krajicek, the Flyers sent forward Mika Pyorala to the minors. Pyorala will get the ice time he wasn't getting in the NHL with Adirondack.

The bottom line with this deal was the Flyers found a slight upgrade on defense for a cheap price. Since Krajicek was released by Tampa Bay, it's likely the Flyers signed him to something close to the league minimum, giving the Flyers a limited cap hit for some defensive depth. Given how Bartulis and Tollefsen have played recently, Krajicek has an opportunity to work his way into some decent ice time. What happens if/when Parent and Syvret come back is another story, but Krajicek certainly has a chance to stick as the 7th d-man come playoff time. If the Flyers make the playoffs.

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