Petr Sykora, fresh off a Stanley Cup win with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and thought to be bound for the KHL, has had a change of heart and will be joining the Minnesota Wild in training camp on a professional tryout.
Sykora could be a very valuable addition in Minnesota; the thirty-two year old has eclipsed the 20-goal/45-point mark every season since the lockout and in 2007-08 managed 28 goals and 63 points with the Penguins. On the other hand, Sykora might have trouble replicating his Pittsburgh numbers with the Wild, because despite scoring 25 goals he was mostly a complementary player in Pittsburgh. He was only ordinary on the potent Pittsburgh Penguins powerplay, plus (hey, alliteration!) his goal-scoring dropped off sharply when he wasn’t playing with Evgeni Malkin.
If the Wild decide to sign Sykora to an NHL contract, he’ll be playing with much less accomplished players – guys like Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Martin Havlat (if healthy). He needs to add offense in spite of the decline in the supporting cast, because Sykora adds very little when away from the puck. His 14 hits was far and away the lowest of any Penguins’ regular, and despite his experience he’s still a bit of a question mark in his own end.
Also of note is the stark contrast between his performance at home and his performance on the road. Take a look at these rather ugly splits:
- Home: 38GP – 20G – 11A – 31PTS, +8
- Road: 38GP – 5G – 10A – 15PTS, -5
This could still be a good signing for the Wild, if the price isn’t too high, and no doubt Wild bench boss Todd Richards will do his best to put Sykora in a position to succeed – by starting him in the offensive zone and keeping him away from the toughest matchups.