The Pittsburgh Penguins picked a second Czech player in 1992, Do you remember who? That’s right…the soft spoken Martin Straka. Straka was an extremely talented player with lots of speed which was his biggest weapon. It’s the one weapon that if an injury occurred, it could have derailed his career and that is just what happened.
Martin Straka started his career in Pittsburgh on those extremely talented cup winning teams of the early 90′s so playing time was limited even for this speed skating talented 2 way player. What also did not help is the fact that he played Center and this team had a couple of Hall of Fam Centers in the Prime of their career. So playing time was tough that first season. The second year, be broke out a bit playing in 80+ games scoring 64 points.
Straka was then traded to Ottawa mid way through the following season for Troy Murray and Norm Maclver. He would eventually make his way back to Pittsburgh in 1997 where he stay until the 02′-03′ season where he was traded again. During that run with the Pens Straka would have more than a couple of good seasons and 2 really great seasons where he finished with 83 and 95 points respectively. But it was during the 2001-2002 season, he would suffer a season ending leg injury that derailed his season and that speed for a couple of seasons.
He would finally get traded again in 03′ to the LA Kings. He would play a season for the Czech Plezn before coming back to the states to finish his career in a Rangers uniform. Those first 2 seasons he would return to form and average over 70 points a season. He would play one more season with the Rangers but it would be injury plagued only playing about 65 games and scoring a total of 41 points. He would finish his NHL career playing 954 games and scoring 717 points.
He would then return to his Czech Plezn team where he still plays today and is 70% owner. If you would like to follow me on Twitter you can @sportsmonger and on Sports Monger Radio every Friday Night at 11pm.