Petr Straka traded to New Jersey Devils for conditional pick

Saturday, November 12, 2016
Petr Straka's time in the Flyers organization has come to an end. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Flyers Send Straka to NJ Devils For Conditional 7th Round Pick

Written by: Tim Riday - Twitter

We have a trade to announce.

Just as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were set to take to the ice for their pregame warm-up skate prior to tonight's game against the Toronto Marlies, the organization announced they had made a move.

The Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday dealt winger Petr Straka to the New Jersey Devils for a conditional seventh-round pick in either 2017 or 2018. Straka served as a healthy scratch for all 10 of the Phantoms' games heading into Saturday night's tilt.

The 24-year-old, who signed a one-year extension this past summer, will report to the Devils' AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils, who will play the Phantoms at PPL Center on Jan. 7.

The move leaves Lehigh Valley with 14 forwards on the AHL roster.

The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Straka with the 55th-overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. The team, however, elected not to sign him, thus making him a free agent.

Straka then signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Flyers on April 11, 2013 and made his NHL debut on Jan. 27, 2015.

The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder appeared in just three games for the Flyers in a brief injury call-up but played well, notching two assists.

Straka spent the majority of his career in the Flyers' organization with the Phantoms. He played 60 games for the then-Adirondack Phantoms in 2013-14, racking up nine goals and 18 assists.

In 2014-15, he appeared in 68 games for the Phantoms in their first season in Allentown. He recorded 14 goals and 10 assists in those contests.

Last year, Straka got off to a blazing start in the AHL and appeared likely to be the favorite to be the first recall for the Flyers had an injury occurred. General manager Ron Hextall, however, had other plans. He said multiple times he was looking to see more consistency out of Straka and had no plans to rush him into an NHL lineup.

Straka wound up spending the entire 2015-16 campaign, his third as a professional, with the Phantoms. He collected career-highs in goals (19) and points (37).

After adding depth forwards Boyd Gordon and Dale Weise to the Flyers this offseason and AHL veterans Greg Carey and Andy Miele to the Phantoms, the writing was on the wall for Straka. It was clear Hextall didn't see the Czech forward as part of the organization's future plans, hence a 10-game stint in the AHL press box to start 2016.

So why not add an asset in return, right?

Straka Speaks Following Trade to New Jersey

Petr Straka was getting his things together Saturday night and was kind enough to talk about today's trade.

"I don't know who exactly started it, but I was talking to my agent about the possibility of getting out of here for obvious reasons," Straka said when reached by phone. "I was in touch with him and just recently he told me there might be a chance to be traded to New Jersey so I was kind of ready for that, that it might happen."

Unfortunately for Straka, a loaded Phantoms roster this year and an injury late in the year last season was a recipe for disaster for the fourth-year pro. Through the team's first 10 games, he found himself sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch for all 10 contests.

He wasn't making excuses, but explained that his leg injury that caused him to miss significant time down the stretch last year hampered his ability to make enough of an impression coming into this season. The increased role he saw with Lehigh Valley last year amidst all the injuries was simply not there this fall on a loaded Phantoms roster that saw the team begin the year with 15 forwards.

"Absolutely, it's been awhile since I've played in the preseason games," Straka said when asked about looking forward to his I'm looking forward to that. It's a new chapter, a new opportunity. A fresh start. I know what I can do and hopefully I can prove it there and get a chance to prove it. That's what I'm aiming for. I have nothing to lose."

In the end, hockey is a business and both team and player need to do what's best for them. In this scenario, the Flyers get a conditional draft pick and Straka gets a chance to continue playing the game he loves.

"It's been a pretty tough start to the year for me. It doesn't make it any easier to leave this group. It's like a family. I enjoyed being around them, they're great guys," Straka said about his mixed-emotions Great potential there, so it's tough to leave. But it's my career. I have to do what I need to do to be successful and I felt like this was the right option."


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