The One-Year Wonder

The Tampa Bay Lightning assigned right winger Radim Vrbata to BK Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Extraliga, ending the former Coyote, Blackhawk, and Avalanche's one-summer reign as a desirable skilled player.

Last season, Vrbata shocked many hockey experts by breaking out with a 27-goal, 56-point season to rank as the second-leading scorer for the Phoenix Coyotes. He was an unrestricted free agent over the summer, and when it was announced that he had signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had also acquired Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi, and Steven Stamkos, many believed he would be among the offensive leaders on the team.

If I remember correctly, earlier in the year, an NHL Connect blogger sent out a dire warning to those with high expectations of Vrbata, saying "Remember one name! Bochenski!", referring to the erratic Brandon Bochenski, who appeared on the verge of a break-out season leading up to 07-08 after scoring 13 goals and 24 points in 41 games the previous season, including 11 goals and 22 points in 31 games with Boston. However, in the 40 games he played in 07-08, with Boston, Anaheim, and Nashville, he only managed 3 goals and 13 points.

Apparently, the same curse has befallen Vrbata, who had 3 goals and 6 points in 18 games with a -1 rating leading up to his demotion to BK Mlada Boleslav.

In other news, I really wish the Stars had managed to hold on to Brandon (B.J.) Crombeen. Originally one of a trio of Stars rookies to start the season (along with Neal and Brunnstrom), the Stars attempted to send Crombeen to the AHL, but while he was on waivers, the St. Louis Blues picked him up. In Crombeen's 10 games as a Blue since the waiver pick-up, he's scored 4 goals and 6 points, as opposed to the goal and 5 points he had in 15 games for Dallas. However, I expect his story was the same as Neal's, needing time to adjust to the big league's before pumping out the points. He'll be my second-favorite Blues rookie (behind Patrik Berglund) for the rest of the season.

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