PITTSBURGH Tomas Hyka was only a little bit disappointed when it wasnt the Flyers who called his name at the second day of the NHL draft.
After all, its hard to be upset when its the recently crowned Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings welcoming you to their organization. The Kings nabbed Hyka, 19, in the sixth round (171st overall) on Saturday.
Just a little bit disappointed I wont be returning to Philadelphia, Hyka said. It was a really good experience to be there, but Im really happy to be with a new team, new opportunities.
Hyka, you might remember, earned himself an offer to attend the Flyers training camp last summer, after being passed over in the 2011 draft. He entered camp as a relatively unheard of Czech prospect but by the time he left, he was both a pleasant surprise and a huge mistake.
Initially, he was one of those endearing stories that always come out of prospect camps and training camps. He was one of the first players to be cut, before being called back by general manager Paul Holmgren to remain around for some preseason ice time. He continued to shine, showing off his speedy skating and demonstrating a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
Im sure it will help me a lot, Hyka said, of his time in Philadelphia.
But just days later, his tenure with the Flyers came to a screeching halt. Hyka was returned to his QMJHL team in Gatineau the same club that once called Claude Giroux a member because the Flyers learned they were barred from signing him.
We misunderstood somewhere there when we were talking to the league, assistant general manager Barry Hanrahan told CSNPhilly.com at the time. He came up into the system as a Canadian junior hockey player which he is.
We cant sign him because of Section 8.9 in the CBA. He played in Europe last year. Its not where you are currently playing, its where you played the previous year. ... Had he played in North America last year, he would have been unrestricted.
And so, meeting the media at the CONSOL Energy Center Saturday afternoon, a beaming Hyka wore the black and silver jersey of the Flyers West, the L.A. Kings.
I feel awesome, Hyka said. I was so nervous today. Im so glad it happened, and Im going to do everything I can to play in the NHL.
To make matters just a bit worse, the Kings nabbed Hyka with the 171st-overall selection a pick that, at one point, had belonged to the Flyers.
E-mail Sarah Baicker at firstname.lastname@example.org