Long-time NHL defenseman Roman Polak has decided to call it a career but he will be sticking around the game as Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that the Blue Jackets have hired him as a European scout. Polak will replace Milan Tichy who has joined Edmonton’s scouting department.
The 36-year-old spent the last two seasons playing back home with Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga where he was the team captain. He had a limited role in 2021-22 and evidently decided that the time was right to hang up his skates rather than pursue another season on the ice.
Polak played in parts of 14 NHL seasons, spanning 806 career games between St. Louis, Toronto, San Jose, and Dallas. His offensive numbers were quite limited – just 26 goals and 114 assists – but he was best known for playing a physical defensive game. He had over 1,400 blocked shots and nearly 2,000 hits which helped him to earn seven contracts and over $24MM in his career before heading back overseas. Now, he will begin his second NHL stint working under GM Jarmo Kekalainen, the then-scout who played a big role in him being drafted by St. Louis back in 2004.