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Wild Signs Free Agent RW Branko Radivojevic

Thursday, 07.06.2006 / 10:34 AM / News
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Wild Signs Free Agent RW Branko Radivojevic

 Branko Radivojevic was a member of Slovakia’s 2004 World Cup of Hockey team.
Branko Radivojevic.

The name alone oozes old-time hockey. It says, “gritty,” “energetic,” “rough and tumble.” All are pretty accurate descriptions of Branko Radivojevic, the latest in a slew of recent signings by the Minnesota Wild that are beginning to make October 5 look like Christmas morning.

Radivojevic, who spent the last two NHL seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, stands 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, and uses every ounce of it when digging in the corners and hassling opponents.

Though not sought after by Doug Risebrough for offense, Radivojevic has been known to chip in offensively, as he did with a crushing goal in the final minute of a 3-2 Flyers win over the Wild back on December 10. He finished last season with eight goals and six assists in 64 games with Philadelphia. He sat out 11 games in late January and early February with a high ankle sprain. His best year came in 2002-03 when he potted 12 goals to go along with 15 helpers while with the Phoenix Coyotes.

But Radivojevic won’t be impressing anybody with highlight reel goals. He’ll impress with what is referred to in coach-speak as “always on the puck.”

“Branko encompasses a few things we were looking for,” said Assistant General Manager Tom Lynn, who has probably slept about 45 minutes over the last week. “He’s a hard-working, team guy – a true believer in team. Plus, he’s tough to play against.”

Radivojevic is not an antagonist in the vein of a Matt Cooke or Jarkko Ruutu, but he does frustrate opponents to no end with his constant aggressiveness and his relentless forechecking.

“We watched him closely in Phoenix for a couple years,” said Lynn. “And he was always that guy that’s tough to play against. We used to have guys like that in Darby Hendrickson, Jim Dowd and Brad Bombardir.”

The 25-year-old Radivojevic will be the third Slovakian on the Wild roster, joining countrymen Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra. He grew up in Trencin, as did Gaborik. While it may have been a factor in him signing here, Lynn said that wasn’t why he was pursued as the fourth NHL free agent to join the Wild in the last five days.

“He doesn’t play your ‘stereotypical European game,’” he said. “We went after him because of his ruggedness and he’ll fit in well here.”

Radivojevic was orginially selected by Colorado in the third round (93rd overall) of the 1999 Entry Draft. He has notched 79 points (34-45=79) and 183 penalty minutes in 238 career NHL games over five seasons with Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Branko Radivojevic’s Career Statistics

  Reg. Season              Playoffs         

Season 

 Club

 League

 GP

 G

 A

 PTS

 PIM

GP 

 G

 A

 PTS

 PIM

 1998-99

Belleville 

 OHL

 68

 20

 38

 58

 61

21 

 7

 17

24 

 18

 1999-00

Belleville 

 OHL

 59

 23

49 

72 

 86

 16

 8

 13

32 

2000-01 

Belleville 

 OHL

61 

 34

70 

104 

77 

 10

 6

 10

 16

18 

 2001-02

Phoenix 

NHL 

18 

 2

 6

 4

 0

 0

 2

  Springfield   AHL 62   18  21  39 64   -- --   --  --  --
 2002-03 Phoenix  NHL   79 12  15   27 63   -- --  --  --   --
 2003-04 Phoenix  NHL   53 14  23  36  --  --   --  --  --
   Philadelphia NHL   24  1  8  36  18  1  1  32
 2004-05  HC Vsetin Czech   31 11  18   114 --   --  --  --  --
   Lulea HF Sweden  10   6  5  11  8  4  0  44
 2005-06  Philadelphia NHL  64   8  14  44  5  1  0
  NHL Totals     238  34 45   79  183 24   2  1  3  34


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