It´s official! Jakub Voráček and Jiří Hudler will play vs Omsk
HC LEV is off to a great start and their team may have just gotten a little better with a couple of NHL additions. Jakub Voráček (pictured) of the Philadelphia Flyers and Jiří Hudler of the Calgary Flames officially signed KHL contracts just just past noon and will be in the lineup for tonight´s home game against Avangard Omsk.
From a young age, Jiří Hudler looked like he was going to be a star. At age 15 he played his first game in the Czech Extraliga with Vsetín and was a regular on national U17 and U18 teams. Two years later, he registered 46 points in 46 Extraliga games as Vsetín won the championship and helped the U18 team win the bronze medal at the World Championships. He was then drafted 58th overall in that summer´s NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, for whom he would eventually play.
For the next few years, he split time between Europe and North America, playing mostly in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins and earning a 12-game stint with the Red Wings in 2003-04. 2005-06 was his breakthrough year, when he recorded 112 points in 92 AHL regular season and playoff games, which cemented his place on the Wings´ roster for the following year.
Since that time he has been an NHL regular, cumulatively recording 247 points in 475 games, all with the Red Wings. This includes back-to-back years when Detroit played in two consecutive Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning in 2008 and then losing in 2009. After that, he spent a year in the KHL with Dynamo Moscow, scoring at a point-per-game clip. He then returned to Detroit for two more years before signing as a free agent this past summer with the Calgary Flames. Due to the NHL lockout, he has yet to play a game with them.
A Kladno native, Jakub Voráček grew up in that system up until 2005-06. That year, he recorded 70 points in 51 Junior Extraliga games, even earning a one-game appearance with the big club in the Extraliga. The next year, at age 18, he went overseas to the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In two years with the Mooseheads, he recorded a total of 229 points in 139 games. Both seasons, he also represented the Czech Republic at international junior tournaments, including the 2007 IIHF U18 World Championship and World Junior Championships in both 2007 and 2008.
His success at the junior level attracted a lot of attention, and In 2007 he was drafted 7th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his rookie NHL season, he recorded 38 points in 80 games, helping Columbus reach the NHL playoffs for the first time. Over two more seasons with the Jackets, he piled up 96 points in 161 games. Both of those seasons, he also played in the World Championships at the end of the season, helping the Czechs win a gold medal in 2010 and a bronze in 2011.
2011-12 was his first season with the Philadelphia Flyers. After 49 points in the regular season, he went to the second round of the playoffs for the first time, getting 10 points in 11 games.