Building the Herd – Petr Polodna

#?? Petr Polodna

Position: Forward

Born: Jihlava, Kraj Vysočina, Česko

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 26th May

Alongside the return of Alan Lack, Doug Sheppard added the first new player to the Herd’s roster for the 2016/17 campaign. Shortly after the announcement that the EPIHL would allow 5 imports on the game day roster, the Bison revealed the signing of Czech forward Petr Polodna.

34 year old Polodna is a veteran of the Czech leagues with over 500 games in the Czech second tier to his name. A product of the Litvinov junior system, Polodna had a successful career in under 18s and under 20s level, averaging over a point per game throughout his junior career alongside a brief stint in the Czech third tier with Milevsko to get some experience. 2002/03 saw Polodna play his final season of junior hockey with Litvinov scoring 35 points in 29 games as well as dressing in his first Extraliga games with the senior side and an 8 game spell with Slovan Ústečtí Lvi.

For 2003/04, Polodna moved into full time senior hockey as he moved to KLH Chomutov for a productive 5 year spell scoring frequently in the league and playoffs, making over 200 regular season appearances for the Pirates to go with 132 points.

From Chomutov, Petr moved to Kometa Brno helping the team to the playoff finals but the team lost out to Polodna’s format team, Lvi. However the next season the team moved to Extraliga all the same as Brno purchased the Extraliga license from Orli Znojmo. Polodna’s association with Brno would last but like many Czech and Slovak players, he went into the habit of being loaned around left right and centre. Along with making sporadic appearances for Brno and getting to the Extraliga finals in 2012, Polodna spent time in the second tier with Olomouc then Havlickuv Brod where he was alternate captain and captain.

Polodna made his first venture abroad in 2014 when he signed for Polish league side, GKS Jastrzebie scoring 38 points in 41 games and earning himself another silver medal and another finals loss.

Petr headed back home for the 2015/16 season and back to the second tier, moving back to Brod then joining Horacka Slavia Trebic on loan helping his new side avoid relegation before taking the call from Doug Sheppard.

As with all new Czech or Slovak players to the Bison or the EPL we turn to BOTW’s resident expert on such things, Jon Rowson of Velvet Hockey.

Polodna is an interesting signing made by the Bison. I think he’s the sort of import that wouldn’t be over in the EPIHL if the import limit hadn’t been raised, but that’s not to say that he can’t do a job. I will admit that I only ever saw Polodna play during his brief Extraliga stints with Kometa Brno, where he was predominantly a fourth line player. I noticed that whilst nothing particularly stood out in a good way from his game, there were no gaping holes either (apart from, say his goal scoring form in the Czech top tier). He’s proven in the 1.liga and his time in Poland than he can find the back of the net or get assists, but I don’t think that’s going to be his primary goal. Polodna is a very defensively responsible two-way centre, who will, in all probability, be the Bison’s lead penalty kill and anchor either the second or third units, freeing up the likes of Karpov and Jarolin to wholly devote their energies to scoring, and that’s not even to say that Polodna is no slouch, and I think 50 points should be an easily achievable goal.

So Jon’s been able to give us some decent analysis on a player we’ve never seen before which is good. Sheppard’s press release said that Polodna’s signing will provide depth up the middle of the ice which makes sense but saying that he’s a replacement for Joe Greener is an odd assertion to make. Certainly in terms of quality but Joe Greener never struck me as the Bison’s best two way guy so we’ll see how that one pans out.

I’ve seen a few people thinking that Polodna’s stats aren’t anything special. In some ways even Jon’s analysis above doesn’t speak of someone who is going to score 100 points. The two things I’d say to that are 1. the Bison and Sheppard’s coaching style is always about role players and guys fitting in to the jigsaw and 2. I offer you one name for someone who everyone said that didn’t look of the right quality for the EPL; Michal Satek. Satek came over from the MOL Liga and nobody expected a thing off him but turned heads with his scoring form for the Phoenix and, if they make the new season, will be high on the list of players that Manchester fans will want back.

I like writing about players like this; we’re walking into the unknown and we genuinely don’t know what we will get. That’s the beauty of hockey though and let’s be honest, the last forward we signed with a decent pedigree in the Czech 1.liga didn’t exactly do too bad did they.

Welcome aboard, Petr.

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