Unlike Russia, it appears that the Edmonton Oilers love them some Czech players.
Throughout the franchise’s history, there have been a number of Czech players who not only played for the Oilers, but became some of the most beloved players by the fanbase. While there might not be a ton of superstar players to pick from, there are plenty of players that range from good to really good.
It fits the mold for Czechia’s contributions to the NHL. Yes, superstars like Jaromir Jagr and David Pastrnak hail from there, but for the most part, Czechia is known for developing a steady stream of players just below that truly elite level, which is no insult whatsoever.
There is a reason they remain on of the big dogs in international play, and if recent international results say anything, the country is on the rise.
So, with that in mind, here is a look at the all-time roster for Czech Oilers.
Petr Klima – Petr Sykora – Ales Hemsky
Petr Nedved – Josef Beranek – Radek Dvorak
Martin Rucinsky – Vladimir Ruzicka – Miroslav Frycer
Jaroslav Pouzar – Dominik Kahun – Ales Kotalik
The forward group isn’t half bad. It’s actually surprisingly good.
That top-line is as dynamic as you can get with Petr Klima and Ales Hemsky manning the wings. Petr Sykora was a very good player in his prime so having him as the top-line centerman is not bad whatsoever.
Following that up is a more than serviceable second-line. Both Nedved and Dvorak were top-six talents at some point in their careers and Beranek had a sneaky good career. In an ideal world Beranek would be a very good third-line center but, with those wingers, he should slot in just fine here.
The bottom-six in my opinion is where this team shines. All six players listed here were, at one point or another, good players to have on your team. Rucinsky leads the way with over 600 points in the NHL over the course of a 961-game career, using him in the bottom-six is just gravy.
The lowest scoring player in that group is Pouzar at 82. Considering most of the other teams in this series included players with single-digit NHL games, the Czechs are the clubhouse leader for best forward depth…for now at least.
Roman Hamrlik – Jaroslav Spacek
Jiri Slegr – Frantisek Musil
Jan Hedja – Ladislav Smid
This is another decent group for the Czechs.
Roman Hamrlik and Jaroslav Spacek were absolutely top pair defenders in their prime and should be able to eat a lot of minutes for the club. Not to mention A LOT of scoring as they boast over 1200 combined points.
To compliment that offensive top pair is a more defensive duo in Jari Slegr and Frantisek Musil. Both men were absolute pillars on the blueline in their heyday and provided a steady but reliable defensive game in their prime. The perfect players to round out the top four.
Finally, to complete the D-corps we have another pair of reliable defenders in Jan Hedja and Ladislav Smid, who should do more than decent as a bottom-pairing. Again, not the most offensive guys but ones you can count on to play the role they need to play.
Every team must have a weak spot, and for Czechia, their achilles heel is between the pipes.
This pick is technically outside the bounds of this series but it had to be made because of the simple fact that the Oilers have never played a Czech goalie in an actual NHL game. In fact, Miroslav Svoboda is the only Czech goaltender to be drafted into the Oilers system.
Unfortunately for him, he appeared in no NHL games. Instead he has played in the Czech league for the past several years and is embarking on his first season in the SM-Liiga this season. His best year overseas came last season with a 14–13–0 record and .920 save percentage while playing with Plzen HC.
There’s a chance he gives decent goaltending, but the margin for error is razor thin considering he is all they got.