Playmaking forward Vaclav "Vinny" Prospal was born in Ceske Budejovice in the former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) on Feb. 17, 1975. Drafted by the Flyers in the third round (71st overall) of the 1993 NHL Draft, Prospal came over immediately to North America to play for the AHL's Hershey Bears.
Extremely skinny and unable to speak English when he first arrived in Hershey, Prospal's development was a lengthy process (although he mastered the English language quickly). It took Prospal until the 1996-97 season, by which time he was leading the AHL in scoring by a wide margin, to finally earn a callup to the NHL. He never went back to the minors again in a career that would eventually surpass the coveted 1,000-game milestone in the NHL.
Prospal posted 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 18 regular season game for the Flyers during the 1996-97 stretch drive and then posted four points in five games in the team's first-round playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, Prospal suffered a broken wrist during a practice before the team's second-round series against the Buffalo Sabres and was out for the rest of the postseason as the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup Final.
The next season, Prospal had his share of ups and downs during the first half of the season and then suffered a fractured left fibula on Jan. 3, 1998. While he was still healing, the Flyers made a trade on Jan. 17, sending Prospal and Pat Falloon to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Alexandre Daigle.
Ten years later, Prospal briefly returned to the Flyers. On Feb. 25, 2008, one night before the NHL trade deadline, the Flyers reacquired Prospal from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a 2009 2nd-round pick (Richard Panik).
Although only acquired as a rental, Prospal was productive for Philadelphia. In 18 late-season games in 1997-98, he posted 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) and a plus-seven rating at even strength. In the playoffs, he contributed 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 17 games to help Philly advance to the Eastern Conference Final. After the season, the Flyers traded him back to Tampa for a 2008 seventh-road pick (Joacim Eriksson).