Flames sign skilled Czech centre Cervenka

The Calgary Flames signed skilled Czech centre Roman Cervenka to a one-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

“Roman is a highly skilled player with great hands, excellent vision and the ability to score goals at an elite level of play,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said in a press release. “Our scouts in Europe identified him as someone who could slot into our top six forward group and play in the NHL as a top two line centre.”

Cervenka has spent the last two seasons playing in Russia for Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The 25-year-old led the KHL in goals in 2010-11, tallying 31 times in 51 games while playing alongside countryman Jaromir Jagr.

Feaster believes his team is in need of more skill and feels Cervenka will be a strong edition to the team.

“He’s a highly skilled guy. We are an organization that needs to bring in that skill,” Feaster told Sportsnet 960 The Fan minutes after the signing was made official.

“There were a number of teams pursuing him … that’s a huge transaction for us.”

Feaster added that Flames assistant GM John Weisbrod went to see him play during in the KHL playoffs and came away confirming everything management had heard from European scouts.

“We made an aggressive pitch to convince him that Calgary was the perfect place for him to start his NHL career, and we are extremely pleased Roman agreed,” Feaster said.

Cervenka has represented his country on multiple occasions, earning a bronze medal at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships and was a member of the Czech national team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

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