After missing all of last season with a torn ACL, Calgary Flames forward Daniel Pribyl is heading home. He has signed a contract with Prague in the Czech Republic to play next season, leaving North America after just 33 games at the AHL level. Pribyl was set to become a restricted free agent this summer, after his two-year entry-level contract expired.
Pribyl was originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2011, but signed with the Flames in the spring of 2016 after an impressive run in the Czech league. The big-bodied center was expected to compete for a job on the NHL squad eventually, even if his high point totals from Europe were unlikely to be matched in North America. Instead, he recorded 15 points in 33 games for the Stockton Heat and then suffered the knee injury in training camp last September. For a player who looked like he might have a bright future here, his story is an unfortunate series of events.
The Flames can retain his negotiating rights for now by extending a qualifying offer but unlike players returning to the KHL will not hold them in perpetuity. Instead, this is likely the last we see of Pribyl in a Flames (or Heat) uniform. The team can now focus on their other restricted free agents, of which they have several.