Hurricanes claim Frk, sign Nakladal

Moves add a natural scorer, another defenseman days before season opener

David W Cerny—Reuters
Czech Republic's Jakub Nakladal and Russia's Vladimir Tarasenko get tangled upduring the match a game at the World Cup of Hockey.

RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes still have a few boxes to fill before Thursday’s season opener in Winnipeg. On Sunday, they may have, ahem, Czech-ed off two.The team made a pair of moves, claiming right wing Martin Frk off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings and signing defenseman Jakub Nakladal to a one-year deal that will pay him $600,000. Both players are natives of the Czech Republic.Frk, who turned 23 on Wednesday, was the 49th overall pick by the Red Wings in 2012 and played 67 games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League last season, his third pro campaign. His 27 goals was tied for ninth in the AHL, and he finished with 17 assists and 89 penalty minutes. “Martin played well in Grand Rapids last year and took a step forward in his offensive production with 27 goals in 67 games,” Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said in a release. “He has been a goal scorer at every level.”International Scouting Services ranked Frk — listed at 6-foot-1, 194 pounds — as the third best scorer in the 2012 draft (behind Nail Yakupov and Radek Faksa) and the third hardest shooter (behind Matt Dumba and Frank Vatrano), but also listed him as the fourth most overrated player in that class (coincidentally, Phil Di Giuseppe was third).The knock of Frk has always been his below average skating, but on a team that struggles to convert scoring chances Carolina is clearly willing to take a chance on a natural finisher. He is in the final year of his entry-level contract that will pay him $650,000 in the NHL and $67,500 if he cleared waivers and was reassigned to the AHL.Nakladal, 28, is a bit of a bruiser on the back end, listed at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, and adds another right-handed defenseman to Carolina’s blue line.Nakladal played his first season in North America last year, splitting time between the Calgary Flames (five points in 27 games) and their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat. He also played at the World Cup of Hockey as one half of the Czechs’ top pairing with Andrej Sustr.”Jakub was solid in his first professional season in North America last season, and played well at the World Cup,” Francis said in a press release. “This gives us additional depth and experience along the blue line as we open the season this week.”Nakladal told the Calgary Sun in September he would only stay in North America if he received a one-way contract.”I would like to stay in Calgary, but I said after the season, I will soon be 29 and I have one kid and my wife is pregnant, so I think more about my family right now,” Nakladal told the Calgary Sun.Nakladal was undrafted and played in both the KHL and Finland’s Liiga before coming to North America last season. He had 14 points in 35 AHL games before playing his first NHL game with the Flames on Feb. 9. He averaged 14:11 of ice time for the balance of the season and was a positive possession player over his small sample size.