The NHL Expansion Draft had the hockey world up in arms. As all eyes focused on the fate of Petr Mrazek, who was exposed instead of veteran goaltender, Jimmy Howard, Vegas set their sits on Red Wings Prospect, Tomas Nosek.
Still reveling in the aftermath of a Calder Cup victory with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s primary AHL affiliate, Nosek was summoned to pack his bags and head out west. Nosek netted 10 playoff goals and 12 assists during the Griffins’ Calder Cup run, adding to his already glimmering report card for the season – so its no surprise that he caught the infant Las Vegas Gold Nights’ eye.
Getting his start in his home country of the Czech Republic, Nosek immediately had the attention of the Red Wings scouting staff who constantly patrol the European leagues for new talent. Nosek’s smooth skating, humble disposition and ability to find the back of the net quickly elevated him to the status of crowd favorite during his tenure with Grand Rapids.
The AHL is an ever-shifting league and unfortunately, fans are accustomed to seeing their favorites move on. Though fans want nothing more than to see players achieve their ultimate dream, playing in the NHL, the process of watching one go to a non-affiliate team is a tough pill to swallow. Nosek has proven to be a valuable and skilled player.
As the Expansion Draft drama ends and the official NHL Draft begins, Detroit is at a crossroads flanked by impatient fans and bad contracts. The loss of Nosek has only increased tensions between the fan base and Detroit upper management. Maintaining a strangle hold on the organization, the ever present salary cap paired with expensive existing players was not relieved with the expansion, but remains the same. In short, we lost a solid winger and gained nothing.
For now however, I say farewell to Nosek. Putting aside the drama of organized sports and expansion drafts, I will fondly remember watching you play. Take care, friend. I think I speak for all of Grand Rapids when I say, you will be missed but we wish you every success.