Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Milan Hnilicka
Czech-born netminder Milan Hnilicka played a season of Junior hockey in Western Canada after being drafted by the New York Islanders in 1991. He turned professional for the 1993-94 campaign, but it soon became clear that the Islanders did not have him in their plans. When his contract expired Hnilicka decided that in the best interest of his career, he should return to his homeland.

Hnilicka spent two seasons as the starting goaltender for Sparta Praha and his solid play with them was caught the attention of NHL scouts and paved the way for his return to North America. He signed a free agent deal with the New York Rangers.

Though he spent the bulk of the 1999-00 season in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack, he did make his NHL debut that year as well.

The Rangers summoned Hnilicka early in the season when their starter, Mike Richter, was unable to dress. Though Kirk McLean started the game for New York, he soon ran into trouble and Hnilicka came off the bench to relieve him. The Penguins had a field day with the untested rookie by scoring twice in a seven minute span and soon McLean was back in the game. He got his second look at the end of the schedule. With the Rangers out of contention they brought him back up and gave him the start versus the Philadelphia Flyers. This time Hnilicka faired much better by stopping 36 of the 39 shots he faced, though the Rangers ultimately lost the game. In the summer Hnilicka's contract was up again and decided that joining one of the league's weaker clubs would give him a better chance of becoming an NHL regular.

Hnilicka signed with the Atlanta Thrashers that summer, and though the team lacked depth, he was still considered a long shot to make the club. However, after a solid training camp he gave the team's brass little choice but to keep him and re-assign fellow netminder Norm Maracle. Hnilicka and veteran goaltender Damian Rhodes shared the duties for Atlanta, and though he played two less games then his partner, he led the club in wins with 12. The following year Rhodes' season was all but a write off due to chronic injuries and Hnilicka became the club's undisputed starting goalie, and he made the most of the opportunity. In sixty games he posted an impressive .908 save percentage and had a respectable 3.19 goals against average as well.

When the Thrashers failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs Hnilicka was invited to participate in the World Championships for the Czech Republic. He played fantastic through the first four games of the tournament before falling to Russia in the Quarterfinals.

Hnilicka went to split his 2002-03 season between the Thrashers and the team's AHL affiliate in Chicago before being acquired by the Los Angeles Kings prior to the 2003-04 NHL season.

Internationally, Hnilicka has represented his homeland on numerous occasions including; World Junior Championship (1991, 1992), World Championship (1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008), and the Winter Olympics (1998, 2006).


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1989-90 Poldi Kladno Czech 24 3.77
1989-90 Czechoslovakia EJC-A
1990-91 Poldi Kladno Czech 40 0 2.80
1990-91 Czechoslovakia WJC-A 5 4 1 0 1 3.12
1990-91 Czechoslovakia EJC-A
1991-92 Poldi Kladno Czech 38 0 3.73
1991-92 Czechoslovakia WJC-A 6 3.65
1992-93 Swift Current Broncos WHL 65 46 12 2 2 3.36 17 12 5 2 3.19
1993-94 Salt Lake Golden Eagles IHL 8 5 1 0 0 3.97
1993-94 Richmond Renegades ECHL 43 18 16 5 4 4.05
1994-95 Denver Grizzlies IHL 15 9 4 1 1 3.53
1995-96 HC Poldi Kladno CzRep 33 1 2.84 8 2.92
1996-97 HC Poldi Kladno CzRep 48 4 2.63 3 0 5.56
1996-97 Czech Republic WC-A 1 1 0 0 0 3.00
1997-98 HC Sparta Praha CzRep 49 2.09 11 3.00
1997-98 Czech Republic Olympics
1997-98 Czech Republic WC-A 8 4 1 2 2 1.39
1998-99 HC Sparta Praha CzRep 50 2.27 8 1.53
1998-99 Czech Republic WC-A 9 1 2.24
1999-00 New York Rangers NHL 2 0 1 0 0 3.49
1999-00 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 36 22 11 0 5 2.15 3 0 1 0 3.64
2000-01 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 36 12 19 2 2 3.35
2000-01 Czech Republic WC-A 9 8 0 1 1 1.44
2001-02 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 60 13 33 10 3 3.19
2001-02 Czech Republic WC-A 5 1 1.81
2002-03 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 21 4 13 1 0 3.56
2002-03 Chicago Wolves AHL 15 11 2 1 1 2.36
2003-04 Los Angeles Kings NHL 2 0 1 0 0 3.75
2003-04 Manchester Monarchs AHL 20 8 10 0 1 2.58 2 0 2 0 2.37
2004-05 HC Bili Tygri Liberec CzRep 46 5 2.32 12 0 2.74
2004-05 Czech Republic WC-A 1 1 0 0 1 0.00
2005-06 HC Bili Tygri Liberec CzRep 45 6 1.70 4 0 3.80
2005-06 Czech Republic Olympics 3 0 2.82
2005-06 Czech Republic WC-A 9 5 2 2 0 2.63
2006-07 HC Bili Tygri Liberec CzRep 40 4 1.85 12 0 2.85
2007-08 HC Bili Tygri Liberec CzRep 15 2 2.02
2007-08 Salavat Yulayev Ufa Russia 9 1 1.93 1 0 3.02
2007-08 Czech Republic WC-A 6 3 3 0 1 2.59
2008-09 HC Bili Tygri Liberec CzRep 22 0 3.19
2009-10 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 3 0 4.38
NHL Totals 121 29 67 13 5 3.30


Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award (fewest goals against - AHL) (2000) (shared with Jean-Francois Labbe) Signed as a free agent by NY Rangers, July 15, 1999. Signed as a free agent by Atlanta, July 28, 2000. Traded to Los Angeles by Atlanta for future considerations, September 15, 2003. Missed majority of 2003-04 due to finger injury vs. Phoenix, December 31, 2003. Signed as a free agent by Liberec (CzRep), May 18, 2004.
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