The Detroit Red Wings have another unconventional free agent find on their hands, this time to help out the back end with the signing of Libor Sulak.
Detroit Red Wings Sign Libor Sulak to Two-Year Contract
Sulak comes from the highest level of hockey in Austria, the EBEL. He was named the league’s rookie of the year in 2016 and tallied ten goals and 28 points for Orli Znojmo, who finished with a 20-21-3 record this season for 58 points, ninth out of 12 teams. The 23-year old added three goals in four playoff games as his team was swept out of the first round. He’s played with the squad for the past two seasons, netting six goals and 18 points in 52 games last season. His deal will be entry-level based.
#RedWings signed free agent defenseman Libor Sulak to 2 year entry-level contract.
He has international experience on the big stage, as he’s suited up for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships at U18 (three assists in six games) and U20 levels (pointless in five games). He represented his country at the recent World Championships, netting an assist in two games played.
Translation from an Austrian professional league is a bit of a question, but the Red Wings have trusted European scouts in high places. In terms of EBEL-NHL connections, Thomas Raffl, the older brother of Philadelphia Flyer Michael Raffl, current suits up there and signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets in 2015. In the past lockout, names like Sam Gagner, Tyler Myers, and Andrew Cogliano went there to stay in shape until the work stoppage ended. Apparently the interest was there for him as well from around the league.
In the end, this move looks like depth for Grand Rapids defensively and an opportunity to see what Sulak can do on North American ice as a possible offensive piece as Detroit welcomes fellow offensively-minded defensive prospects Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek, Joe Hicketts, and Villi Saarijarvi up the pipe. If he doesn’t make it, he’ll likely be playing in Liiga next year for the Lahti Pelicans under club control. We’ll get a closer look come fall in training camp at what he could bring to the organization.