Czech NHL rookies – Petr Tenkrat

By Robert Neuhauser

We’re going to talk about a player, who has really shown that a recall from the affiliate
team can turn your career on. Petr, a Anaheim Mighty Ducks forward, seems to be a lock on the
Ducks roster for the future now. And that when he was a household name only for the hard-core
Ducks fans the season before. They knew that in the Finnish league there is a high scoring winger,
belonging to the Mighty Ducks. But this season they could see Petr on the Pond. And they’ve
really seen a player, who can put great numbers for the Ducks in the future!

Petr grew up in a small city of Kladno, not too far from the capital Prague. In fact, he played
hockey in one of the best known Czech cities for producing NHL-caliber players. You may know that
Jaromir Jagr also played in the system of Kladno before he started his star career for the
Pens. That’s a little of history, Petr, even if he was a decent prospect, was in no way
compared to the famous Number 68. He was born 1977 and that year Kladno produced a lot of
high quality players. Petr grew up playing with fellow ’77 born Jiri Burger, Marek Zidlicky
or Jiri Kuchler. These four players were the top on the junior team of Kladno and they played together
since they were kids. But only Petr Tenkrat was able to reach the NHL, even if center Jiri
Burger and defenseman Marek Zidlicky were regarded as better prospects. The last player, Jiri
Kuchler is almost forgotten also in the Czech Republic now. It is interesting, that Tenkrat,
Burger and Zidlicky all played in the Finnish SM-Liiga at some time of their careers. Petr
spent the previous season at the north of Europe, Zidlicky plays there now and Jiri Burger
returned from his stint in the half of the season.
After a succesfull junior career Petr stepped into the Extraleague in the 1995-96 season, even
if he played briefly with Kladno the season before. Petr was always a great skater with a
fluid stride and fast acceleration, sees the ice well and has a good scoring touch. He uses his
great speed and stickhandling to overcome the opposing defensemen and create scoring chances.
But Petr isn’t a playmaker, he is more of a sniper. He posesses a good scoring touch and can
always show some nifty moves to deke the goalie and score the goal. Comparing him to Pavel Bure
would be exaggerating, but Petr plays a simillar style.
Even then he missed the European championship of the Under-18 teams in 1995, when the Czech
team finished fifth in Germany. The following season Petr split between the senior and junior
team of Kladno, but even if he played 23 games he had to wait for the first goal. That season
he recorded only 4 assists. No wonder that was everything quiet concerning the NHL draft.
In 1995 there could be bigger names from the Czech Republic had, current New York Ranger Radek
Dvorak headed the list, and the 4 assists didn’t help him to a spot also in the 1996 draft.
Much more surprising was that Jiri Burger and Marek Zidlicky went undrafted, Petr could only
hope of a career in the Czech Extraleague.
The following season Petr was for the first time better than Jiri Burger in scoring. He played
a full year for Kladno and recorded 14 points for 5 goals and 9 assists, along with 6 PIMs.
In the playoffs he scored just 1 assist in three contests, but the top of the season was the
Under-20 WJC in Boston. Petr scored his only goal at this tournament in the opening game
against Germany, which turned out to be a 8-2 win. The Czechs finished without a medal even
if they showed a good performance, but it still wasn’t the time of the Czech winning Under-20

After his career with the junior national teams was over, Petr concentrated only on the play
in the Extraleague and dreamed of playing for the National team. In the 1997-98 season he
played all 52 games of the regular season and again improved from the numbers he posted
the previous year. In 1997-98 he scored 9 goals and 10 assits for a total of 19 points. His
+/- record could seem horrible, a -45, but Petr was playing for a poor team and even then
he wasn’t the worst on the team. Besides Petr never was a big force defensively, his task is
on the other side of the ice.
His scoring talent was evident in the 1998-99 season when he was the top scorer of Kladno, the
team which finished 13th in the league that year. He recorded 35 points for 24 goals and
assists, those 24 goals tied him for 11th in league scoring along with David Moravec of
Vitkovice (Buffalo draftee) and Radek Belohlav, that year in Vsetin.

That season his another dream came true, he played his first game for the National team
on December, 11th, 1998 in a game against Team Canada. In the following game the next day
against Slovakia Petr tied the game at 1-1 to record his first goal among the senior nats.
Unfortunately this goal remained his only one for the National team till now. Petr played
at the Baltika Cup and Sweden Hockey games, but was left off the scoresheet and was scratched
from the roster coming the World Championship.
But even then the Mighty Ducks staff was impressed enough to select him in the 8th round of the
1999 NHL Entry Draft, 230th overall. Petr was willing to change the league, but instead of the
NHL he played the following season in Finland. The Finnish style of play is more simillar to
the NHL style than the Czech league. Petr could be confident about his NHL chances after
the previous season, he scored 49 points for 35 goals and 14 assists for HPK Hameenlinna
and Ilves Tampere. He was third in the Finnish league goal scoring and ready to fight for
a spot in the NHL. For the National team he played at the Ceska Pojistovna Cup and the
Karjala Cup, but that ended without a goal. He was again scratched before the World

In the summer of 2000 Petr tried the camp of the Ducks. He shared the locker room with the
likes of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, which was great for him. Mighty Ducks staff sent him
to another Mighty Ducks team as he was assigned to the Cinicinatti Mighty Ducks of the AHL
before the season. And then came the callup. Petr got recalled and in his second game against
the New York Rangers he could grab the puck as he scored his first NHL goal. And he played
terrific for the Ducks. He scored goals and created scoring chances, he fought out his place
in the starting lineup and was able to stick with the team since then. He keeps on his great
play, good luck!