Radim Simek is happy to get a fresh start…and with the San Jose Sharks.
That might be a surprise after the defenseman put the Sharks organization on blast in May. The 30-year-old was miffed because he appeared in just two of San Jose’s last 27 games during the 2021-22 season. In one of those two appearances, Simek actually played forward for the first time since he was 12.
“I was told younger guys must play [in my place]. Coaches told me the decision comes from management. The management told me it’s just the coaching staff’s call,” Simek told Hokej.cz before the World Championships. “Someone outright lied to me, they didn’t tell me the truth.”
Simek, entering the third season of a four-year, $9 million dollar contract, is now ready to turn the page.
“It’s past for me already,” Simek told San Jose Hockey Now on the first day of training camp. “It’s new management here. New coaching staff. I’m looking forward.”
Simek, to his credit, took responsibility for his off-season comments to in-language media.
“Of course, I was a little angry after last season because from February, I played just a couple games. And I played a game at forward, you know?” he shared. “Of course, I was unhappy.”
For their part, new San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier and head coach David Quinn are ready to turn the page too.
“I did speak with this agent [Marc Levine] and let him know whatever happened in the past, was in the past, but there’s a new coaching staff in here and new management. He’ll have an opportunity to show us what he can do,” Grier promised.
Quinn agreed: “There’s a very good opportunity for him here.”
There’s no doubt about that. After Erik Karlsson and Mario Ferraro, there are no clear top-four defensemen on the San Jose Sharks blueline right now. Could a resurgent Simek vault above Matt Benning, Markus Nutivaara, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, or Jaycob Megna on the depth chart?
For what it’s worth, Simek offers a physicality that his veteran cohorts can’t match. He led the Sharks in Hits Per 60 last year.
And Quinn knows it: “In the short time that I’ve watched him, I don’t know a lot about him, but I like his energy. I like his in-your-face approach, which I think we’re going to need.”
An appreciation for his skills may just be what Simek needs to revive his career: “It’s a fresh start for me.”
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