February 06, 2016

Vaclav Pletka

Vaclav Pletka was a small but darting winger with clever offensive instincts. He had a long career playing in the Czech Republic.

Because of his size Pletka was not on a lot of NHL teams' radars, but Philadelphia took a flyer on him by drafting him with the 208th selection in the 1999 NHL draft. He was far from the typical Flyers prospect in that he was small and but he played a plucky game. They liked that he could score and, as demonstrated at the 1999 World Juniors, he had good chemistry with Flyers prospect Tomas Divisek.

Pletka never necessarily wanted to leave home but he had to give the NHL his best try. So he came to North American in 2000 and put back-to-back 20 goal seasons at the American Hockey League level.

"If you watched Pletka in the AHL, he got the crap beat out of him," Flyers Holmgren said. "But he'd get back up, go to the front of the net, go into the corner, get a loose puck, and it didn't bother him. If you can stand the American league, you'll be able to play in the NHL. You don't get hit from as many angles in the National league."

Pletka was rewarded with a one game look at the National Hockey League level, though he never factored in the scoring that night. He did get credited with two shots on net as the Flyers downed Washington 6-3 on the night of October 20th

Pletka returned to the Czech Republic in 2002 and played with several Czech teams until 2014.

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