Today on Minnesota Wild A-Z we look at the career of defenseman Ladislav Benysek. He was a member of the first Minnesota Wild squad back in 2000-01. Benysek also played all but two of his 161 NHL games for the Wild. Ladislav was born March 25, 1975 in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia. Currently 39 years old he’s played for 16 teams in 11 leagues over the course of 21 seasons.
Benysek was drafted out of the Czech Junior league where he spent two seasons with HC Olomouc Jr. He was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 11th round, 266th overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Benysek came to North America the following season to play for the AHL Cape Breton Oilers at the age of 20. The 6’2″, 194 lb. defenseman appeared in 58 games, scored two goals, added 7 assists, and accumulated 54 penalty minutes. Not a bad introduction to the North American game.
The next two seasons Ladislav chose to play in Europe in the Czech league. Perhaps it was for more seasoning or he just wasn’t comfortable yet on the smaller North American ice sheet. He spent 1995-96 and 1996-97 season with Olomouc HC and Sparta Praha. He would return to North America for the 1997-98 season and make his NHL debut.
Ladislav Benysek made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers scoring zero points in two games. The rest of that season was spent back in the AHL with this time with the Hamilton Bulldogs. This time he totaled 2 goals, 14 assists, and 29 penalty minutes in 53 AHL games. This would be his last season in the Oilers organization.
On September 30th 1999 Benysek was waived by the Edmonton Oilers and claimed by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Even though he was now property of the Ducks he would never wear an Anaheim sweater. Benysek would travel beck to Europe and play the next three season with Sparta Praha in the Czech league.
Ladislav Benysek got his big break and shot at the NHL when he was selected by the Minnesota Wild on June 23rd, 2000 in the expansion draft. The Wild saw in Benysek, a NHL ready defenseman, with several years of pro experience. He would play 71 games for the Wild in their inaugural season wearing number 3. His stat line reads, 2 goals, 5 assists, a -11 rating, and 38 PIMS.
In Benysek’s second season with the Minnesota Wild he played in 74 games with his stats remaining rather static. In 2001-02 he scored just a single goal, upped his assists to 7, had a -10 rating and just 28 penalty minutes. He was a decent enough defenseman with a difficult job. In his first two season in St. Paul his team won a total of 51 out of 164 games.
The 2002-03 season would see Benysek’s time with the Minnesota Wild draw to a close. He played just 14 games in St. Paul and another 39 with the Houston Aeros. The following season he returned to Europe this time playing for HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League. Benysek spent a total of three seasons in Finland before moving on to Sweden in 2005.
The 2005-06 through 2012-13 seasons would see Ladislav refuse to give up his dream of playing professional hockey. He played in Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Italy, and Ireland. Anywhere a pro team would make him a roster player he’d go. That’s a look at the hockey career of one Ladislav Benysek. Next up on Minnesota Wild A-Z is another defenseman, Marc-Andre Bergeron.