Goodnight and Good Luck – Miroslav Vantroba

Having had to do a goodbye then a hello already this summer, we’ve now got to do the reverse. Having announced his return, it’s been announced that import defenceman Miroslav Vantroba will not be returning to the Herd.

Out on a high - after initially announcing his return, all star defenceman Miroslav Vantroba will not line up for the Bison in 2016/17. (c) 5 Hole Photography

Out on a high – after initially announcing his return, all star defenceman Miroslav Vantroba will not line up for the Bison in 2016/17.
(c) 5 Hole Photography

What have we lost?

The Bison lose a very solid defenceman with a real offensive upside. He often had criticisms levelled at him for not using his shot enough or being out of position and whilst they were fair on occasions during individual games, to say they were part of his overall game does Vantroba something of a disservice. He wasn’t flash or particularly spectacular but he was really, really good. It’s a loss of a high level defenceman with a really big shot. He also wasn’t afraid to pinch in when required and bagged himself a couple of goals as a result.

Where has he gone?

Miro has asked to be released to remain at home for family reasons. For the last 3 seasons, Miro has left a wife and children in Slovakia to come and play in Basingstoke and it seems he’s made the decision to stay in Slovakia. Who can blame him.

Who replaces him?

At the moment, nobody though Doug Sheppard is searching. Don’t expect him to pull the trigger on a replacement immediately though. I get a feeling that this will be a considered and well thought out decision.

Final thoughts:

Well this is horrible timing and horrible news. From a personal perspective, Miro is one of my favourite players of recent years so the fact that he’s not coming back is just a bit rubbish but such is life. Family should always come first in these situations. Vantroba has been part of the Bison and been one of its most consistent performers during its most successful period all whilst playing away from his young family. You could certainly make the argument that he’s earned the benefit of the doubt.

That said though, this is terrible timing. Less than a week from pre-season starting and 2 weeks from the season itself and the big import defenceman says “sorry lads, not coming back”. It throws the defensive rotation slightly out of whack right at the start of the season and having thought that he’s finished, Sheppard is right back to recruiting.

Some people will think the Bison need a replacement right away but as I’ve said above I don’t think Sheppard will rush this decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see a new import defenceman till the third weekend of the season. It gives Sheppard a bit of time to see what sort of player he needs to get before rushing out and picking someone that he then ends up replacing in December or January because they’re not working out.

Does it set the Bison back? Yes, obviously because Vantroba’s good. Is it an immediate disaster? I don’t think so. The current defence is already pretty decent and can survive in the interim. Do I think we need to get a replacement? Yes because where even Peterborough adding a 5th import on trial when they said they’d start the season with 4 and whatever you think of the import increase, we have to operate in the reality that we exist in and when other title contenders have visibly tooled up.

All that aside, we can say thanks and all the best to a good player who helped us during one of the Bison’s most successful periods.

Thanks Miro and enjoy whatever comes next.

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