Ontario Hockey League grad Radek Smolenak has found the scoring touch he displayed with the Kingston Frontenacs. Smolenak is currently leading Finland’s Liiga in goals and points with the much improved Pelicans Lahti.
Smolenak played two years in the OHL with the Frontenacs in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Kingston selected Radek 26th overall at the 2004 CHL Import Draft. In his first year, he tied for the team lead with Anthony Stewart with 32 goals over 67 regular season games. Smolenak played in the CHL Top Prospects Game. The Tampa Bay Lightning liked what they saw at the CHL talent showcase and made Radek a third round pick that summer at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 73rd overall.
In his second year with the Frontenacs, Smolenak scored 42 goals and assisted on 42 more for 84 points over 65 regular season games. He led the team in goals and placed third for points behind Cory Emmerton and Chris Stewart.
Smolenak has played pro hockey since 2006-07 in the AHL, NHL, ECHL, Czech Republic Extraliga, Finland’s Liiga, Russia’s KHL and Sweden’s SHL. Radek has seven National Hockey League games under his belt. He played six games with the Lightning during the 2008-09 season. In 2009-10, he played one game with the Chicago Blackhawks with a five minute fighting major to show for it.
2011-12 was Radek’s first year with Pelicans. He started the year with Assat in the Liiga and ended up the year with Pelicans. In the playoffs, he scored eight and totalled eleven points over 17 games. He led all in the playoffs in the goals category. Pelicans reached the finals before falling in five games to JYP.
This past year, 2012-13, Smolenak signed a two year contract extension with Pelicans through the 2013-14 season. He started the year with the team, playing 32 games, scoring 18 goals and totalling 28 points. In true Euro fashion, despite being under contract, he ended up playing seven games in the KHL with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod and nine games in Sweden’s SHL with Timra.
18 games into the 2013-14 season, Radek leads the Liiga with 14 goals and 18 points over 18 games. Each team has a 60 game regular season schedule so the teams have nearly a third of the year in the books already. Pelicans is much improved over last year, sitting tied for second place in the 14 team league.
Pelicans have existed since 1992. They have yet to win a championship but did reach the finals in 2011-12. This past season, 2012-13, Pelicans did not qualify for the post season, placing eleventh out of 14 teams. Home games are played at Isku Areena in Lahti, Finland. Isku Areena is a 5,534 seat venue that opened in 1973.