Life after the Caps: Richard Zednik

Life after the Caps: Richard Zednik
August 26, 2014, 4:00 pm
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(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Have you ever caught yourself thinking of an old Caps' favorite and wondered, what ever happened to that guy?

Hockey, like all professional sports, is a tough business. Team legends can spend many years in one city but find themselves looking for a new team near the end of their careers. Other players are brought in to bolster the squad but are let go through free agency or trades just as they began to establish themselves in Washington. 

The hockey world, however, does not end when players leave D.C. Here’s a look at some former Caps and how they fared after their time in Washington.

Richard Zednik

Played for Caps: 1996 - 2001, 2006 - 2007

Stats with Caps: 257 GP, 63 G, 53 A, 116 Pts, Postseason: 22 GP, 7 G, 3 A, 10 Pts

Zednik was another late-round draft pick for the Caps who flourished in the NHL. Drafted in the tenth round of the 1994 draft, he made his NHL debut in 1996. Zednik made the NHL roster for the start of the 1996-97 season and scored his first NHL goal in the season opener.

Though he showed flashes of his offensive abilities, Zednik did not hit his prime until after leaving Washington.

The Slovakian winger was included in a major trade between the Caps and Canadiens that sent Zednik, Jan Bulis and a first-round pick to Montreal in exchange for Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus and a second-round pick.

While in Montreal, Zednik's production rose and he recorded two straight 50-point seasons. After the lockout, however, his production dropped to only 30 points in 2005-06. As a result, the Canadiens decided to trade Zednik back to the Caps, albeit in a much more subtle deal.

Zednik returned to Washington in the summer of 2006 for a third-round pick, but was quickly dealt again in February of 2007, this time to the New York Islanders. He had always been a solid playoff producer, but he exited the playoffs without a point and left as a free agent for Florida.

The most infamous and scary moment of Zednik's career happened while with the Panthers. On Feb. 10, 2008, in a game against Buffalo Zednik was clipped in the neck by the skate of teammate Olli Jokinen. The skate cut his artery and he began bleeding profusely. Thankfully, due to the quick action of trainer Dave Zenobi, Zednik was treated in the locker room and brought to the hospital for surgery. He made a triumphant return the following season, recording two assists in his first game back.

After his contract with Florida expired, Zednik played one season for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. He then played two games for HC 05 Banska Bystrica of the Slovak Extraliga and finished the hockey season with AIK-Sweden to close out his career.

Zednik was seemingly at his best when teams needed him the most. Though he had only played one full NHL season, he was a key contributor in the Caps' lone run to the Stanley Cup Finals, scoring seven goals and three assists in 17 games. His best performance came in 2002 when he recorded eight points in only four games with Montreal. On the right roster, Zednik could have been the key piece for a championship team.

[RELATED: Life after the Caps: Steve Konowalchuk]