2008 Final Grade: Jaroslav Hlinka

2008 Final Grade: C+

2007 Grade: N/A

Links:

{{hlinka}} (hockey-reference page)

2008 ITCS (aka highly unofficial) Hlinka game log

Season Stats: 63gp 8g 20a 28pt +6

Minutes: 877.6 (10th), EV 11:37, PP 1:16, PK 1:03, ATOI 13:56

1st Half: 37gp 5g 11a 16pt +4

2nd Half: 26gp 3g 9a 12pt +2

Playoffs: 1gp 0g 0a 0pt -1

Best Month: December (15gp 3g 6a 9pt +8)

Positions: C (31), LW (28), RW (4)

Lines: 2nd (19), 1st (17), 4th (15), 3rd (12)

Linemates: Hlinka season log

LW: Brunette (15), McLeod (9), Wolski (5), Smith (2), Richardson (1), Smyth (1), Guite (1), Wolski (1)

C: Guite (11), Stastny (9), Arnason (8), Sakic (2), Smith (1), Richardson (1)

RW: Svatos (13), Hejduk (12), Brunette (10), Stastny (8), McCormick (5), Brunette (10), Parker (4), Laperriere (3), McCormick (2), Jones (1)

Season: This was Hlinka's first (and, it seems, last) season in the NHL.

Report: Hlinka went from 0 to 60 this season, and then stalled out. After a strong preseason, Hlinka made the team and had a heck of a first game playing on a line with Paul Stastny and Andrew Brunette. At that point, it looked like Hlinka might be a huge free agent coup for Francois Giguere (who signed Hlinka on the recommendation of Milan Hejduk). By the 3rd game, Hlinka began his season long game of Q-bounce, as he was shuttled from line to line (10+ games on each of the 4 lines) and with different linemates every couple of games or so (his longest stretch on one line was 5 games with Hejduk and Brunette). After 59 games, Hlinka was on his way to a decent first year, with 25 points in 55 games (and 4 healthy scratches). And then came the 4-0 drubbing by the Red Wings. While the whole team looked awful, Hlinka managed to stand out with a terrible outing filled with lazy play and sloppy turnovers. And that, my friends, was pretty much it. Hlinka sat out 15 of the final 22 games and all but one game in the playoffs. It's too bad, because Hlinka showed some nice flashes and might have fared better if he hadn't been totally screwed with by Quenneville; I don't think anyone was moved around as much as Hlinka was (he was moved around so much I had to create a new type of log - Hlinka season log - just to show his movement). Hlinka was a good penalty killer (statistically, 2nd best among forwards after Paul Stastny) and had a nice little stint on that weird 3-center PP line (Hlinka, Hensick and Arnason) although he somehow managed just 1 PP point in 79 PP minutes (by far the lowest PP scoring rate on the team). Does Hlinka get some blame for some inconsistent play? Sure. But check this out: in 36 games on the top 2 lines, Hlinka had 22 points. That's a 50 point season (and would have been 4th best on the team). I'm not 100% convinced that Hlinka would have been a sure thing as a top 6 forward - and I would have liked him a lot more if he did more than just circle around waiting for the puck - but now we'll never know. In retrospect, it looks like Hlinka just wasn't a 3rd or 4th line player. It was top 6 or bust and, thanks in no small part to Quenneville's tinkering, it was bust.

Fast Fact: Hlinka played on a line at least once with all but two of the Avalanche forwards. The only players he did not spend time with was Peter Forsberg and TJ Hensick (and he spent time with Hensick for a stretch on the PP).

2007-2008 Salary (and Cap Number): $600,000 ($600,000)

2008-2009 Status: UFA

Outlook: Hlinka barely wasted any time packing his black turtlenecks this offseason, signing with Linkoping in Sweden less than 3 weeks after our season ended.

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