At 34 years old, defenseman Roman Polak played in just 41 games this season with the Dallas Stars, his fewest appearances since he was a young prospect back in 2007-08. He also recorded just four points, his fewest since becoming a full-time NHLer. All signs point toward the veteran defender’s time at the top level coming to a close, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is ready to retire. Instead, Czech source Hokej believes that Polak could return home to continue his career. It is believed that the HC Vitkovice Steel of the Czech Extraliga, with whom Polak played before moving to North America and again during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, could be the most likely landing spot for Polak. The physical stay-at-home defender would still be a major boost for the roster, not to mention a fan favorite as a local product returning from a long NHL career. Vitkovice head coach Mojmír Trličík confirms that he has already been in contact with Polak, whose NHL contract has not yet officially expired, and is excited about the prospect of adding the established vet. He does note that Polak could be of interest elsewhere in Europe, but the door will always remain open for a return to the Steel.
- There was a trade of note in the KHL on Sunday as Alexander Khokhlachev and Sergei Shirokov were swapped one-for-one by their respective teams. Avangard Omsk receives Khokhlachev, 26, a center whose rights are owned by the Boston Bruins. Going the other way to Spartak Moscow is Shirokov, 34, a former Vancouver Canuck and a long-time KHL standout. While Shirokov is in the twilight of his career, he can still be a useful two-way forward for Moscow and just recently signed a two-year contract extension. Meanwhile, Khokhlachev may be the better player right now but is entering the final year of his KHL contract and may be eyeing an NHL return. Moving to a new team for next season may only increase his likelihood of departing. The Bruins retain Khokhlachev’s rights through June 30, 2021, after which he enters his age 27 league year and his RFA rights expire. Boston has openly discussed in the past that they have maintained contact with “Koko” and would be open to bringing him back. The team could also trade away his rights, which would gain more value should he openly admit his plans to return to the league. Khokhlachev could also wait out the expiration of his rights and sign with any team he likes next summer. There are multiple avenues for his return and this trade could be a sign that he is likely to take one.
- Tristan Amonte will follow in the footsteps famous father Tony, brother Ty, and NHL cousin Charlie Coyle and attend Boston University. The BCHL’s Penticton Vees, who Amonte will again play for next season, announced that their standout forward will join the Terriers in 2021-22. Amonte, who played for his dad and alongside his brother at Thayer Academy before joining Penticton, continues a strong family legacy that he hopes leads to his long-term success in hockey. An intriguing possibility could be that he can once again play with his brother as well. Ty, who also played for Penticton but for just one season, completed his junior season this year but did not play a single game due to injury. Ty thus has two years of NCAA eligibility remaining, which he could use to play a fifth year at BU during Tristan’s freshman campaign. It remains to be seen whether an Amonte reunion will occur for the Terriers, but it remains an exciting family development nevertheless. Neither Amonte brother was drafted, but both will still inevitably draw some pro interest when they leave the college ranks.