Radim Simek is excited for the upcoming NHL season…but is he excited to be with the San Jose Sharks?
Simek’s agent Marc Levine texted this short statement to San Jose Hockey Now today: “Radim is excited about heading back to the US sometime in August and looking forward to the 2022-2023 season.”
Simek appeared in 28 of the Sharks’ first 46 games this past season. After Mar. 5 though, the mostly-healthy Simek played just two of San Jose’s 27 remaining contests. In one of those two appearances, the defenseman actually played forward for the first time since he was 12.
The Czech defender then made waves after the year when he told Hokej.cz, “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. Someone outright lied to me, they didn’t tell me the truth.”
Of course, the San Jose Sharks now have new management in GM Mike Grier and a new head coach in David Quinn. Grier and Quinn replace Joe Will and Bob Boughner, respectively.
This could be a fresh start for the hard-hitting blueliner, who burst on the scene in 2018-19 and impressed until he was felled by an ugly knee injury in Mar. 2019. He’s been in and out of the line-up since.
Simek did take a regular shift for bronze medal-winning Czechia at the most recent World Championships, averaging over 16 minutes a night.
It’s not clear, however, if Grier and Simek have discussed the veteran rearguard’s accusations. The 29-year-old, entering the third season of a four-year, $9 million dollar contract ($2.25 million AAV) has been subject of trade rumors over the last two seasons because of his cost relative to his reduced playing time.
Industry thought is that the Sharks would have to attach a draft pick or some other incentive to free themselves of Simek’s contract. It’s not clear if there have been any interested parties or if Grier is indeed willing to add something to subtract Simek.
San Jose could use the cap space though: RFA Mario Ferraro remains unsigned, and the Evander Kane grievance is still unresolved.
At the moment, it looks like it’s still a big question mark as to whether or not Simek will start the season with the San Jose Sharks – or if he wants to.
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