The Hurricanes had already brought right winger Radek Dvorak into training camp on a trial basis. The NHL 36-years-old veteran, who has upwards 1,200 games under his belt, is one of the most respected players in the league and has more playoffs experience than half of the team combined.
During the preseason, Dvorak proved himself to be a solid leader, while playing unsigned alongside rookies and new draftees. Despite the dependable performance, Dvorak had finished the preseason without a contract. This was the caveat at the end of the the roster that nobody was sure of.
Yesterday, the team went ahead and made things solid and signed Dvorak to a one year, $600,000, two-way contract. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford commented, “Radek is an veteran player, and he has shown us throughout training camp that he can contribute to the Hurricanes.”
Being one of the more versatile and adaptive players in the league, Dvorak is able to bring out the best in his line-mates and perform well in the clutch. On the other hand, the prime time for Dvorak to have done this was in 2003, when he had a 50 point season with the Edmonton Oilers.
It makes Dvorak a question mark, like so many factors on the Hurricanes this season. While Dvorak might have a magnificent stat sheet, and one of the most fun names in the league to say, you can’t get around the fact he’s 36 years old; while his career may be stellar, he’s on the back end of it.
It’s not a bad thing, however. Having Dvorak on a line with someone like Elias Lindholm or Jiri Tlusty would create the mentorship relationship that is the start of any great player’s story, and do nothing but help all of them play better. Nobody is signing Dvorak for his output, rather it’s his influence the team is paying for; offensive output is just a bonus.
All of this is coming to the team as a bargain, since it’s only $600,000 for one season; the Hurricanes’ organization spent more than that putting cinnamon bun vendors in the arena. It isn’t like Dvorak is taking up all that much cap space. There’s enough talent on the top three lines that you could place him on the lower units and have it be okay. Or he could play really well and contribute. Either way, there’s little risk and that makes it a win-win situation for the team as a whole.
All things being considered, Dvorak can do nothing but help the team. He’s been around the block more than a few times, he’s well respected and well liked, he’s not completely over the hill, and having never really gone over 30 PIM in a season (save for the 2006-07 season), he has no reason to be seen as a liability.