Petr Straka wants to bring a different element to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pure skill and speed.
“My best skill would be skating,” Straka told The Hockey Guys Friday afternoon. “I can use my speed and I like to use my speed.”
“I can use my hands with (the speed), too,” he added. “When I score goals I need the hands to do that… Skating is (my) number one (skill) but I can do some things with my hands.”
Some things the 20-year-old accomplished with his hands this past season was record 41 goals and 41 assists for 82 points in 55 games during the regular season with Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“Here in the league it’s important for me to use my legs. When I do, I can move my feet I’m really fast on the puck and it really helps my game a lot,” he added.
Yesterday, the Flyers officially signed the skilled right winger to an entry level contract effective at the start next season. The 6-1, 198-lb Czech native is currently participating in the OMJHL playoffs where he has posted eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in eight playoff games.
Straka confirmed there were at least 10 other teams who offered him NHL contract’s, but he chose the Flyers.
“I know guys on the team,” Straka said. “I played against Sean Couturier in the Quebec league. Personally, I just can’t wait to meet the guys and get things moving.”
Last season, Straka recorded 18 goals and 19 assists for 37 points in 54 games for Rimouski Oceanic in his third season with the club. He then had a breakout playoff with 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 21 games as he helped Rimouski reach the QMJHL President’s Cup final.
“It’s a great organization with a great history,” Straka said. “I’m really happy we got the deal done.”
“My agent did a lot of the talks, but I know the Flyers were interested right from the beginning, so that helps (get a deal done).”
According to Anthony SanFilippo, Straka’s contract is standard three-year entry level contract with a $925,000 cap hit each season along with a $92,333 signing bonus each season. His base salary is $832,500.
In 212 QMJHL games over four seasons with Rimouski and Baie-Comeau, Straka posted 97 goals and 111 assists for 208 points, along with 162 PIM. A native of Plzen, Czech Republic, Straka was originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2nd round (55th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“It feels great (to sign a professional contract), I remember when I was a little kid… obviously I was a big hockey fan. One day I started to dream about the NHL and signing (this contract) is a step to get closer to my dreams.”
Straka added that this summer he needs to work on his body to get bigger and stronger to get ready for the step from amateur hockey to pro hockey.
According to junior hockey writer Todd Crodell: Straka is an excellent skater and really uses his skating ability effectively. He has a good shot and a knack for scoring goals. He’s an underrated playmaker, has a history of performing in big games and overall is a pretty well rounded player.
“I’m going to do everything to make the Flyers happy,” Straka said. “I’m not going to put too much pressure on my shoulders (to make the team), I’m going to go there and see how it is hopefully it’ll work out,” Straka said.
“I’m not going to lie, my goal would be to make the team… but I’m not going to hold myself to anything because it’s a big step, but we’ll see.”
It would be just a dream come true (to make the Flyers roster), that’s all I can say. It’d be awesome.”