Former Tampa Bay Lightning top pick Roman Hamrlik retires
Roman Hamrlik, the Tampa Bay Lightning's first-ever draft pick, announced his retirement Monday.
Selected first overall in 1992, the defenseman concluded a 20-year career in which he recorded 155 goals and 483 assists in 1,395 career games.
Hamrlik played five and a half seasons for Tampa Bay and ranks third all-time among Bolts defensemen in goals (52) and points (184). In 1995-96, he posted a career-high 16 goals and 49 assists in 82 games for the Lightning.
"I would like to thank my first general manager in Tampa Bay, Phil Esposito, who selected me as the first player in Tampa Bay Lightning history, first overall in the 1992 Draft," Hamrlik said in a statement released through the National Hockey League Players Association. "It was Phil who gave me a chance to play in the NHL, and I value and appreciate him as a GM and a friend to this day."
Tampa Bay traded Hamrlik in December 1997 to Edmonton in exchange for Bryan Marchment, Steve Kelly and Jason Bonsignore.
The defenseman, who appeared in three NHL All-Star Games, noted capturing a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Winter Olympics as one of his most cherished moments.
"I cannot forget the 1998 Czech Republic Olympic hockey team, under the guidance and leadership of coach Ivan Hlinka," Hamrlik said. "I am so proud to have been a part of such a memorable tournament and the incredible victory of the Czech Republic, in the tournament of the century, is something I will cherish always."
Hamrlik also played for the Oilers, New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers during his career.
Erin Brown can be contacted @rinkside.