Lukas Sedlak was placed on unconditional waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, and the forward said he will return to play in his native Czech Republic.
Sedlak had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 27 games with Philadelphia after being waived by the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 19.
The 29-year-old said he had been thinking about returning home for a while and informed the Flyers of his decision on Friday.
“I just felt like I was playing in the NHL, it didn’t bring me what I expected and I’d rather be at home with my family,” Sedlak said.
He said he expects to sign with Pardubice in the Czech Republic’s top professional league.
“The last few weeks I’ve been trying to figure out if I like it and if hockey is still giving me what I want out of it,” Sedlak said. “Because my family has sacrificed a lot for me to be here. I haven’t really been home in the last 12 years. And I think right now the negatives just kind of outweigh the positives.”
Sedlak said Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher tried to convince Sedlak to stay, including during a meeting Saturday.
“I have spoken [Fletcher] Again today,” Sedlak said. “He told me that I have my place here now and they like me for what I’m doing. … He kind of wanted to change my mind, but then I kind of told him all my reasons and they were good enough to let me go instead of doing anything else to me. So I’m happy for that.”
Sedlak played three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets (2016-19), then three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League. He returned to the NHL when he signed a one-year contract with the Avalanche on June 13, but was scoreless in three games when he was waived.
“When I was coming from Russia, I always played there a lot and I enjoyed playing a lot and kind of being that guy and stuff like that,” Sedlak said. “I didn’t expect to have it here. I kind of knew what I was going to get, how many minutes, things like that. But I thought I’d feel better for it. When I signed with Colorado, I kind of knew I could have a chance to win, stuff like that. So that’s certainly part of the reason as well. That’s why I left before when I was in Columbus, I wanted to play. I’m getting to a certain age where it’s not just about being in the NHL or playing in the NHL, it’s about playing, having fun playing because I don’t know how many good years I have left.”
The Flyers (10-15-7), coming off a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, are seventh in the eight-team Metropolitan Division.
Forward Scott Laughton said he learned Sedlak was leaving about an hour before Philadelphia held its morning skate.
“He was a great professional,” Lutton said. “He’s a really good skater, helped us a ton on the PK and tackled. He came in when we were missing key depth and did a really good job for us. He was a really nice guy. I asked my friend. [Boone] Jenner about him, he played with him in Columbus, so I knew a little bit about him just from him. But yeah, good guy. At the end of the day, it’s about being happy and comfortable, and I hope he finds that.”