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Evaluating Stays in Motown: Tomas Kopecky

Tomas Kopecky, C

Year Games Goals Assists Points +/- PIM
05-06 1 0 0 0 +1 2
06-07 26 1 0 1 -2 22
07-08 77 5 7 12 +2 43
08-09 79 6 13 19 -7 46
Total 183 12 20 32 -6 113

How he came to Detroit: A 38th overall pick in the 2000 NHL Draft by Detroit, Kopecky spent four seasons in Grand Rapids before getting a longer term call-up in 2006. Kopecky’s 32 goal, 40 assists season in 2005 was enough for the call-up to the big squad.

Impact of his stay: Kopecky was a good "role" player as so many players ahead of him filled the score sheets and he could be relied upon to play a physical, grinding game.

Highs in Motown: The hardest part about losing Kopecky is that he showed flashes of brilliance at times in Detroit. Given how many other free agents left Motown, he would have undoubtedly moved up a line or two this offseason. Nevertheless, Kopecky showed some great hands and was a much needed physical force at times. Oh, and he won the Cup in 2008.

Lows in Motown: Not much that can really be pointed out about Kopecky’s stay in Motown as "lows" other than his battles with injuries. For example, in the 2006-2007 season, he took a spill and broke his collarbone. Towards the end of the 07-08 season, he tore his ACL and was lost for the playoffs. The second round of the 08-09 playoffs, Kopecky fought with Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin and…well, he needed facial reconstruction surgery if it’s any clue to who won the tussle. Once again, it’s hard to really pick on a guy that was buried under such talent in Detroit so the injuries are the only real thing I could come up with.

Replaceable? Yes, very much so. Kopecky had great size but can easily be replaced with a guy like Travis Moen (Canadiens signed him) or Manny Malhotra. The 12 career goals are something that should be easily replaced either within the system or from free agent signings. Look for the Wings to likely call-up a player that visited with the club last year to fill the void.

Overall "Grade" for his stay: I would have to give Kopecky a D, borderline C grade for his years in Detroit. Not spectacular and given the people ahead of him it's expected.

In the end, Tomas Kopecky could be the classic case of a buried diamond. Far down on the Red Wings depth chart, "Koko" wasn’t given much playing time to strut his stuff but could find that room in Chicago or a team further down the line.