The Arizona Coyotes won’t have Josef Korenar as an option in net next season, as the young netminder has signed a two-year contract with HC Sparta in Czechia. The team will still be able to retain his rights with a qualifying offer, but won’t see him on this side of the ocean for a while.
Korenar, 24, was acquired from the San Jose Sharks along with a second-round pick in exchange for Adin Hill and a seventh last summer, after he had made his underwhelming NHL debut in the 2020-21 season. This year he saw some time with the Coyotes as well, appearing in two games and stopping 32 of 35 shots he faced for a .914 save percentage.
The trouble was more in the minor leagues, where Korenar was shelled behind a bad Tucson Roadrunners team and even saw a bit of time in the ECHL. With Karel Vejmelka’s emergence in the Arizona crease, it seemed likely that the undrafted Korenar would eventually take his talents somewhere else.
In this case, it is back home, where he’s played sparingly since his junior years. The Sharks signed him in 2017 after a strong season with the Lincoln Stars, and he’s played nearly 100 AHL games in the years since. While his rights will be held with a qualifying offer, this may be the last we see of Korenar in the Coyotes organization, as they will expire when he turns 27, just a year after this new contract is complete.