Zbynek Michalek is a special type of player on the ice. You never notice him, and that’s the entire purpose of his position. Michalek is a stay at home defenseman who kills penalties and shuts down players.
His story didn’t go as many thought it would this year. He played in Tucson for most of it, helping the young players learn like he did with Oliver Ekman-Larsson during the shortened season in 2013 until his trade to the Blues in 2015. Michalek helped shape Ekman-Larsson’s game and helped clean up the mistakes as well.
Michalek was once a top pairing guy, eating minutes and pucks without so much of a blink of an eye. He ended the season with another young left-handed defenseman who is going to most likely be a star in the league. Not a bad way to end it.
In 43 games in the AHL, Michalek had six goals and eight assists for fourteen points, the most points for him since 2010-11 when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the three games he played for the Coyotes this season, there were no points, which is okay.
Michalek most likely played his last game as a Coyote, and possibly the NHL. His career started as an undrafted player coming up through the AHL with the Wild to the Coyotes and the rest is history.
Michalek gets an A+ from me, for his career, not the season. He’s a player that never failed to make me smile at warm-ups, wince when he blocked a shot, or scream when he scored a goal.
This one is for you, Zbynek Michalek. May you have a stress-free summer with your wife and kids and may you come back as a coach when you are ready.
What Grade Would You Give Michalek’s Career?
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Z.... is my favorite