The Devils on Wednesday signed the veteran winger to a one-year contract worth $650,000, a nice price tag to tag a flier on.
"I'm ecstatic," Sykora told the Star-Ledger. "Of course I'm very happy. It's something that seemed very far away a couple of weeks ago and it happened."
Last season Sykora played in Russia and his home of the Czech Republic. He played only 14 games two seasons ago for the Wild, his last stint in the NHL, recording three points with two goals and an assist. But that's a far cry from the numbers he put up earlier in his career, particualrly in his original stint with the Devils. Playing for New Jersey as a 19-year-old rookie, Sykora scored 18 goals in 1995-96. The best season of his career came in 2000-01 when he had 35 goals and 46 assists.
After leaving New Jersey after the 2002 season, he made stops in Anaheim, New York (Rangers) Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Minnesota before now making his way back to the Garden State and the Devils roster.
"Yes, I did believe. I always believed," he said. "I just took it day by day. I got a chance to play with a lot of good players."
Sykora, known to have a great one-time shot, impressed new coach Peter DeBoer this preseason. In four exhibitions, Sykora scored two goals and was even more impressive in some of the scrimmages that included a hat trick.
It's going to be interesting to see where Sykora fits and how much ice time he receives. He has shown that at this stage he's willing to do a lot to earn his keep, so I'd be surprised if Sykora doesn't do almost anything he's asked on the ice.
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