It’s remarkable how fast the hockey landscape can change. At one point you can be scoring a goal as a member of an Original 6 team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And, in the space of three summers later, you can be searching for the opportunity to earn an AHL contract as a pre-season invitee.
That’s the journey that Marquette, Michigan native Justin Florek has been on. The 26-year old is in the middle of his fifth pro playing season after having been drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Bruins.
He enjoyed a solid four-year career at Northern Michigan University after having been a product of the United States Development Team in the Under-17 and Under-18 program. Florek currently has played more NHL playoff games than he has games in the regular season. Those all came during the 2013-14 season with the Bruins in which he scored a goal and an assist in 4 games during the regular season. He then suited up for 6 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and scored a goal against his favorite team growing up, the Detroit Red Wings, on 4/20/14 in a game that the Bruins would win 4-1.
Florek has mainly been an AHL player in his pro career. He played for the Providence Bruins and Bridgeport Sound Tigers before turning up with the organization that he watched as a kid for his first pro hockey game – the Milwaukee Admirals. He was an invitee to training camp but quickly impressed the coaching staff and teammates alike to earn himself an AHL contract as a member of the Admirals. He has already seen an incredible leap in performance over his time last season in Bridgeport. And he is one of only just three players on the Admirals roster this season to have played every game. That’s not too shabby for someone that arrived as an invitee.
Thanks to Justin Florek for taking the time after practice to chat. The next edition of Fifteen could use your input. Who should we feature next? Mike Liambas, Trevor Smith, Mike Ribeiro, or someone else? Let me know in the comment section below.
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