PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have signed veteran Czechoslovakian defenseman Miroslav Dvorak to a series of one-year contracts, the club announced Wednesday.
'He's a good, solid-type defenseman who handles the puck well,' Flyers' General Manager Keith Allen said. 'He's still a darned good hockey player and he's a veteran who can give us a few good years until some of our kids develop.'
The Flyers, who had a noticeable weakness at defense last season, picked Dvorak, 30, in the third round of last June's draft.
Dvorak, an Emerited Master of Sports in his native Czechoslovakia, regularly plays for Motor Ceske Budejovice and he scored six goals and assisted on 20 others last season.
Dvorak has regularly earned a place on the Czech national team and has played more than 100 games in international competition. He is the latest in a string of Czechs, mostly older veterans, to sign with National Hockey League clubs.
'They (the Czech government) are giving this as kind of a reward for guys who have played well on the Czech national team,' Allen said. 'It's a good way for the player to make some money and for the government to make some money, since they take a cut out of each player's salary.'
Terms of Dvorak's contract with the Flyers were not disclosed.
Allen said he does not expect Dvorak to have any problems adjusting to the NHL.
'He's played over here in a lot of games in the National Hockey League rinks and I don't think he'll have any problems adjusting,' Allen said. 'He may have more problems adjusting to life outside the rink.'
The Flyers' defense was hurt last season when veteran Bob Dailey was lost early in the year with an injury and veteran Jimmy Watson was slow to recover from major back surgery. The team also lost defenseman Thomas Eriksson when he returned to his native Sweden because he was homesick, and had to play many rookies on the back line.
Dvorak, a 5-foot-10, 189-pounder, was named to the second team All-Star squad along with Minnesota's Craig Hartsburg at last spring's world championships in Helskini.
Several Flyers, including Bobby Clarke, Darryl Sittler, Brian Propp and Bill Barber, played against Dvorak in the tournament and all said they were impressed with his play.
Dvorak, who speaks some English, will join the Flyers when they begin training camp next month in Portland, Maine.