Yesterday Joe Vasicek, the Czech Condor was traded for long time Predator Scott Walker. Joe was originally drafted by the Canes in 1998 and had been with the team for 5 years. Scott is one of the original Predators acquired from Vancouver in the expansion draft and has played in the league 10 years. Both players contracts expire after this season, although Joe will be an RFA while Scott will be a UFA.
Vasicek had many good moments for the Canes and looked especially promising during the 2002 playoffs and the 2003-04 season when he led the team in scoring. This year was extremely disappointing though as he tore up his knee and only played about 20 games. The disappointment culminated during the playoffs when he understandably looked out of synch with the rest of the team and went scoreless. In my opinion, Joe will be a fine 3rd line center someday and should be good for about 20 goals and 20 assists per season. I doubt he will ever be a superstar, but he should fit in nicely with the other Czech players as a role player in Nashville if he can stay healthy.
Scott Walker is noted as being Nashville's alltime leading scorer! He's also had his fair share of injuries though. The Canes are hoping he can turn into another Matt Cullen, someone who had the injury bug and had low production in recent years, but someone who could regain their scoring touch and be a difference maker. Walker is a fast skating, hard hitter who plays a much more aggressive style than does Vasicek. He's likely to be a bit more productive for the Canes than Vasicek would have been this year because he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove and with every intention to cash in on a new contract next year.
As different as their playing styles are, the players have strikingly similar career stats. Walker has played 596 games in 10 seasons, averaging 59.6 games per year. Vasicek has played 316 in 5 years, averaging 63.2 . Walker has scored 106 goals those 10 years along with 184 assists which averages to be 10 goals and 18 assists a year. Vasicek scored 55 goals and 71 assists in his 5 years which averages 11 goals and 14 assists per year. Both score goals in 17% of the games they play in. This is one of those trades in which both teams should benefit, at least for the coming year.
Bye Joe, we wish you well!