The #2 overall pick in the 1990 NHL Draft could be making his return to pro hockey to face an old friend. Czech Second Division team HC Benatky nad Jizerou announced today that 46-year-old Petr Nedved could suit up for the team this weekend after four years away from the game. The occasion? The possible return to Czech hockey for Jaromir Jagr, who was assigned to Czech Second Division team HC Kladno yesterday.
Jagr is expected to suit up for Kladno – a team he is a part owner of – for the remainder of the season in hopes of winning the team a spot in the First Division next season. However, it remains to be seen if he will be ready to go by Saturday night, when Kladno takes on Benatky.
If Jagr, 45, is feeling physically healthy and mentally ready to go on Saturday, he will face off with a fellow countryman and long-time teammate and competitor in Nedved. Jagr was selected just three spots behind Nedved in the 1990 draft, with the former going to the Vancouver Canucks and the latter famously joining the Pittsburgh Penguins, who would win the next two Stanley Cups. Nedved would later join Jagr on the Penguins for two years beginning in 1995 and the pair would also reunite with the New York Rangers in 2003-04. Overall, Jagr and Nedved were teammates or competitors in the NHL for 16 years before Nedved returned to the Czech Republic in 2007. Nedved hung up his skates for good in 2014 after six seasons as the captain of Czech First Division squad HC Bili Tigri Liberec.
Four years later, Nedved is ready to lace ’em up again and, hopefully, he’ll get the chance to do so and face off against old friend Jagr one last time in a reunion of two of the best Czech players of all-time.