When the Edmonton Oilers acquired Roman Horak as part of a package in return for Ladislav Smid last year, Horak was a little-known commodity. I don't know that that changed greatly during his brief tenure with the organization last year, but Horak performed well in Oklahoma City (21g-27a-48p in 53 games) and earned himself 2 games with the Oilers before the season was over.
Let's see how Horak was rated by our panel:
He was considered a two-way centre upon arriving with to the Oilers, but was placed on the wing with the Barons where he appeared to excel. He's not a large player, but at 6'0", 190 lbs. he isn't undersized either.
While Horak earned himself a couple of good looks from Oiler management last season, I think he may have seen the writing on the wall with the team having some of their more highly touted forward prospects entering the pro ranks for the coming season (Moroz, Yakimov, Khaira, possibly Draisaitl as well though he was not part of the organization at the time) and realized that he might quickly find himself a little lower on the depth chart for 2014/15. As a result, this past May Horak agreed to a contract with Chekhov Vityaz of the KHL for the upcoming season.
The departure of Horak does represent a loss for the Barons as he was a strong producer for them in 13/14 and he was a viable recall option for the Oilers to quell injury issues as well, but with so much focus being placed on the next crop of developing forwards, its a very real possibility that Horak may not have received the same opportunities this year so a detour to the KHL may serve him well. The team submitted the necessary qualifying offer to ensure they retained his NHL rights.
With the KHL season already underway, we can let you know that thus far Horak has gotten off to a strong start, producing 3g-1a-4p in his first five games.
Ultimately, Horak won't factor into the Oilers' plans for this season, and with the youth making its way through the organization behind him, he may find it difficult to re-establish himself among the top recall options should he opt to return at some point down the road.
Nonetheless, this is a useful AHL player with the ability to step in sporadically at the NHL level when needed. He's not among the team's high-end young players, but likely has a better shot at a sustained pro career than many other prospects on our list.