Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith makes a save as New York Rangers' Vaclav Prospal, center, is tied up by Lightning defenseman Lukas Krajicek during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 27, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
(Calgary, Alberta) - With defensemen Ryan Parent and Danny Syvret on the injured list, general manager Paul Holmgren signed free agent defenseman Lukas Krajicek to add experience and depth to the blue line, the Flyers announced late Saturday night.
Krajicek hopped on the charter flight to Calgary after Saturday's 2-1 win over the Islanders, and practiced on Sunday with his new teammates at the Corral Center, across the street from the Saddledome. He will likely make his debut on Monday night against the Flames (9:30 p.m., CSN).
“I haven't skated for like three days so it was a little tough out there, but it was fun,” said the former first round draft pick.
A veteran of parts of seven NHL seasons, including the last two with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Krajicek was sent to the Norfolk Admirals in December and played 15 games with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate. He had one assist and 21 penalty minutes in 23 games with Tampa Bay this season before the reassignment.
"I knew I didn't want to stay and play in Norfolk for the rest of the season,” said Krajicek. “We were trying to make some kind of deal or trade. I had an offer to go to Europe, but the Flyers called me and offered me a contract. Obviously, I jumped on it right away. It is a great place, and obviously I want to play in the NHL."
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette likes the move, and commented on Krajicek’s strengths as a defenseman.
“He is a guy who can skate, and has experience in the league. You look back to the teams he's played for [and] he played between 17-20 minutes a night, on average,” said the head coach. “He's a good pickup for us, especially with some of the injuries we have sustained.
“He is known as a very good skater. He moves the puck well. He's a two-way defenseman. It will be good to get him in some games and see how he does."
For Krajicek, joining the Flyers is an opportunity to salvage what has been a tough season for the Czech native so far.
“It is a new team, a new organization, and I'm looking forward to it," he said.
Over parts of seven seasons with the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and Lightning, Krajicek has 70 points (10g, 60a) and 231 penalty minutes in 301 games. He was originally selected by Florida in the first round (24th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.