What was a dream became a nightmare for Lukas Radil.
In 2018-19, Radil was a surprising sparkplug in his NHL debut, playing up and down the line-up for a deep San Jose Sharks team. He notched seven goals in 36 games, perhaps none more pivotal than his first, a game-winner for a Sharks squad that was just a little over .500 in December. These efforts earned the Czech forward a one-year, one-way NHL contract, a crowning achievement for a 28-year-old undrafted European veteran.
This year, San Jose hoped some forward, any forward would step up and take on middle-six responsibilities to cover up the losses of Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, and Joonas Donskoi. Radil started the season next to Tomas Hertl and responded with zero points in 14 games under Peter DeBoer.
It didn’t get any better for Radil under Bob Boughner. A day after Boughner replaced DeBoer behind the bench, the Sharks sent Radil down to the AHL. He never played a game for the new regime.
After the NHL season’s pause on March 11th, Radil didn’t waste much time drawing up a new plan. On May 31st, Radil left the Sharks and returned to the KHL.
San Jose Hockey Now caught up with Radil, who was training in the Czech Republic, for an exclusive interview. Radil was forthcoming about his disappointing campaign, his request to be dealt at the Trade Deadline, the reality of being a bubble NHL player when you’re almost 30, and what happened between him and Aaron Dell before Game Six of the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
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