Radim Simek Season Preview

© Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Radim Simek quickly rose to a fan favorite when he arrived in the 2018-19 season. Simek’s hard-nosed style of play captured a fan base longing for a recall to a different style of hockey. Unfortunately for Simek, injuries have plagued his entire career with the San Jose Sharks, including the 2022-23 season. Simek only played 44 games last year and dealt with two separate concussions.

The Czechia native has had a rough time since signing his four-year contract worth $9 million ($2.25 million AAV) in 2020. Simek signed his contract nine days before the COVID pandemic shut down everything. Under previous Head Coach Bob Boughner, Simek was a healthy scratch many nights, and when he did play he was asked to play forward despite not playing the position since he was a pre-teen. Under David Quinn, Simek was given a fresh start and played well last year when he was healthy enough to suit up. He averaged 14:37 time on ice last year under Quinn, a noticeable uptick from under Boughner. The left handed blue liner mostly played on his offhand with fellow lefty Mario Ferraro last season and they produced a 43.4 CF% in 188 minutes at even strength.

Radim Simek Evolving Hockey Card

Where does Simek fit?

With the additions on the blue line, Simek finds himself in a battle for his roster spot. With the rough and tumble Kyle Burroughs signed this offseason and the addition of Nikita Okhotyuk in the Timo Meier trade last season, the 31-year-old Simek might be losing his role on the team. Even in training camp, Simek has not been partnered with the roster locks like Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Matt Benning.

Radim Simek is in a tough position because his future is not with San Jose. He is a seventh defenseman who can play when called upon, but at $2.25 million, he is an overpaid player to staple to the press box. His value is not worth a trade, as only nine teams (including the Sharks) could fit his contract. The Sharks would have to take back another worse contract or attach an asset to move him. With just one year left, it’s better to ride out the contract.

What’s next for Simek?

Entering the last year of his deal, this will be the last year of Simek in San Jose. With the additions Mike Grier has made on the blueline since his arrival, Simek has just been passed by. For this season, Grier could try and waive Simek to send him down to play on the San Jose Barracuda. $1.15 million of Simek’s $2.25 million can be buried in the AHL, and the Sharks would just carry a $1.1 million hit while Simek is on the Cuda. If someone claimed Simek, then the problem would solve itself as the entire contract would go to his new team. While Simek would be a great addition to a young Barracuda team looking to make the playoffs, would he be a progress stopper for players like Nick Cicek and Shakir Mukhamadullin? The future of Simek is a big question for Grier to decide this camp.

Bold Prediction: Radim Simek spends most of the season in the AHL helping the Barracuda make a playoff push.

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JD Young

Host of Locked on Sharks, saved the franchise once.

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