PHILADELPHIA—Sources close to Petr Nedved have told SLAM! Sports that the embattled Philadelphia Flyers’ centre may be headed back to the New York Rangers as part of a multi-team deal, instead of returning to Europe as many speculated.
Nedved is currently under contract for $2.4 million USD, and any team trading for him would be responsible for the remainder of his salary for the 2006-07 season.
NHL rosters are frozen beginning at midnight on Dec. 19 through Dec. 27 for the Holiday break.
Banished on two, separate occasions to the Flyers’ AHL-affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, Nedved stated on Sunday following the Phantoms’ 5-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies that he “has heard similar rumours and that he was leaving that all up to his agent.”
Nedved quarterbacked the Phantoms’ special-teams and chipped in three assists, as the powerplay went 3-for-4 against the Marlies.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, who was in attendance at Sunday’s Phantoms game, denied having knowledge of any deals involving Nedved.
Contacted on Monday afternoon, the New York Rangers responded that they were “not aware of any deals,” and that they had “nothing to announce.”
Former Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock tried (unsuccessfully) to convert the 35-year-old Nedved into a defencive-oriented forward this season and the results were horrific.
In 21 games with the Flyers this season, Nedved scored one goal and six assists, and his minus-20 was among the worst on the team.
Nedved was assigned to the Phantoms on Oct. 19 after clearing waivers, a move that followed an embarrassing 9-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres and predated the purging of the Flyers’ front office by less than a week.
The Flyers recalled Nedved on Nov. 8 following an injury to centre Jeff Carter, but sent him back to the Phantoms a month later. Head coach John Stevens explained at the time that “the (Flyers) organisation decided that [Nedved] kind of falls in the cracks where he’s not going to play on the top two lines.”
When asked at that time if the move signaled the end of Nedved’s career with the Flyers, Holmgren responded, “I think that’s safe to say.”
In 10 games with the Phantoms this season, Nedved registered four goals and seven assists.
Nedved spent parts of seven seasons with the Rangers (1994-95, 1998-99 to 2003-04), scoring 149 goals and 351 points in 478 games. He tallied 309 goals and 403 assists over the span of 15 NHL seasons. He was a member of the Canadian men’s ice-hockey team that won a silver medal at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer.
Originally selected in the 1st round (2nd overall) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, Nedved was acquired by the Flyers, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Dennis Seidenberg and a fourth-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft on January 20, 2006.
David Unkle can be reached at email@example.com