DENVER - The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced Tuesday that it has signed forward Marek Svatos to a one-year deal.
"Marek played a key role in the team's success last season," said Avalanche Executive Vice President and General Manager Francois Giguere. "He had an outstanding year and scored several key goals. Along with Alex Ovechkin, Dion Phaneuf and Sidney Crosby, Svatos was a part of the outstanding and exciting new brand of NHL players that made their debut last year. We are expecting him to be a huge offensive contributor to our team again this season."
Svatos, 24, distinguished himself early in his rookie year with a hat trick in his second game of the season (sixth career game), the fastest to begin a career since Dean Sylvester's hat trick four games into the 1999-2000 campaign for the Vancouver Canucks. Clutch goal scoring would also mark Svatos' rookie campaign as nine of his 32 goals were game-winners, matching Steve Larmer's NHL rookie record in 1982-83. In addition, 13 of his 32 goals tied the game or gave the Avalanche the lead.
Svatos played in 61 games, recording 32 goals and 18 assists before a fractured shoulder sidelined him for the remainder of last season. At the time of his injury, his 32 goals trailed only Ovechkin among rookies and his 50 points ranked him third behind Ovechkin and Crosby. Despite his injury, his goal mark would hold up as being the most on the club (tied with Joe Sakic) and Svatos would finish the season ranked third among NHL rookie goal scorers. He finished second only to Anton and Peter Stastny in goal scoring among franchise rookies (both scored 39 in 1980-81). His 12 power play goals matched Anton Stastny's mark (1980-81) for most by a rookie. Svatos' four-point effort versus Calgary on October 10 equaled the Avalanche rookie record set by Milan Hejduk during the 1998-99 season.
Svatos made his Olympic debut with Slovakia at the 2006 Winter Games, playing in all six games. The Kosice, Slovakia native was Colorado's 10th selection (227th overall) in the 2001 Entry Draft.