Jaro is a solid forward. I have been a fan ever since the WJC. This guy was underrated for a while. His stock is not really falling that much. It's just that his stock rose probably too high when he had ONE good stretch of NHL hockey while the Canes were on the most visible platform you can find (meaningful, big time playoff hockey).
Lots of things are just not working in Carolina. This is the team headed by the most incompetent GM in the league right now. Rutherford must have nine lives and will just not disappear.
Not saying Svoboda will necesarly work out but I could see it happen. He's fairly dynamic, skates well but has a bit of a tunnel vision. Not overly physical but will manage to play in intense games. Nice shot too.
I would love to see him with a smart center and Brenden Morrow. A sort of energetic line that would be threatening as well. For such a low pick, he is a good return. Could step in right now. If it doesn't work, it's not much of a gamble.
Jaroslav Svoboda has played with the type of line that you mentioned earlier with Rod Brind'Amour and Erik Cole. That's almost exactly the same line you described, and it still couldn't really save him. Svoboda has been ailed by the same problem for the duration of his entire professional career, he simply hasn't been able to show up when needed. Consistancy, and the same effort every single night. Had Svoboda been able to play with consistancy, there is no doubt that he would have been penciled in on the Hurricanes 3rd line for a long time. With the exception of the 15-20 games that he played in during the 2001-2002 season, Svoboda's professional career has been nondescript at best.
Here is a little fast fact for everyone. The only reason that Carolina didn't call up Jeff Heerema instead of Jaroslav Svoboda was that Svoboda wasn't a major contributer on his AHL team, the Lowell Lockmonsters, at the time of the recall. Lowell was trying to position themselves to make noise in the playoffs and Carolina couldn't justify calling up their leading scorer (Jeff Heerema, 33g 37a in 76 games) for a brief stint instead of Jaroslav Svoboda (12g 16a in 66 games). There was only a small vacancy on the 4th line due to the fact that Craig Adams, Jeff Daniels, Craig MacDonald, and Tommy Westlund had been platooning there.
Jaroslav came in and played his heart out, which had rarely been seen in previous years, and won the hearts of the fans. A player who had only a career high of 28 points in his two career professional seasons, was now a favorite for the Calder trophy at the start of the next season. Despite his fantastic two way game, Svoboda only scored 5 points in 23 games during the playoff run in Carolina. His career points total is now at 27 in 114 games.
Svoboda fell victim to the same hype machine that almost swallowed Erik Cole as well. Had Cole not been already fairly established at the time of the Cup run, he would have been immersed in this publicity as well. Jaroslav Svoboda is nothing more than a serviceable 4th line player with 3rd line upside, but Carolina and the rest of the hockey world behind them, hailed him as a potential 2nd line player who would be in contention for the Calder Trophy. TSN's Forecaster had him at 4th in the predictions for the honor. Needless to say, it went to his head.
At the start of the 2002-2003 season, Jaroslav Svoboda was again paired with Josef Vasicek on the 3rd line of Carolina's attack. Despite good defensive zone play, Svoboda failed to score what would amount to any significant contribution and missed quite a bit of time that season with little injuries and being scratched quite a bit. This is where Carolina mishandled him, but it wasn't as monumental as some here claim it was. There isn't much you can do to mishandle a 23-year-old role player. Svoboda had already maxed out his potential, in my opinion, and that wasn't something that was going to change with playing time or the like. Svoboda may become more effective at what he currently brings to the table, but I don't see him developing much more significantly than he is right now.
There are aspects of Svoboda's game that i'm impressed with however. He plays a rather solid two-way game that is very respectable and will probably keep him in NHL money until he becomes unable to skate as well as he does. His hands are probably the best the Hurricanes had until his departure, with a close race between he and Radim Vrbata. Svoboda is hard on the puck and doesn't wilt under pressure, but also doesn't make plays under pressure in a sense where it can be offensive. Svoboda is very instinctive when it comes to neutral zone and defensive zone coverage, but loses a little when the puck is on his stick. Usually, one would chalk this up to inexperience with the puck, but Svoboda has been like that for the duration of his career and I think it's a character trait by now instead of a learning curve. However, i'm glad that Svoboda is being given the chance to play again instead of just rotting here in the Minor League system. I'm hoping the Stars see his rather significant contribution he can provide on a 4th line and let him play out West, where his defensive play will help him find a home.