For many NHL teams, the quest to identify and develop a No. 1 center is a perennial challenge, and the Calgary Flames are certainly on that list.

The latest possibility for the Flames’ top spot may be 27-year-old Roman Cervenka, who starred for the past two seasons with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

The Flames certainly are rolling the dice that the Czech native, "a very significant free agent signing" according to general manager Jay Feaster, can eclipse the results created by the majority of past non-drafted talent outside the NHL.

With the departure of Olli Jokinen, who had a strong 62-point season as one of the Flames' top two centers, Feaster and the scouting staff have deemed Cervenka as top-six-ready, perhaps as the man to get sniper Jarome Iginla the puck while scoring a few of his own.

"This isn't a signing about, 'Let's see if we can help Abbotsford,'" Feaster told Flames TV, referring to the team's American Hockey League affiliate. "[Because of Cervenka's] maturity level, that he has enough confidence in himself, we feel good about his ability to have his game translate into the NHL. He's done his homework, he's talked to players from his country who have played in the League.

"We do think he’s NHL-ready, and he's ready not just to step in the lineup but to contribute."

Cervenka had been pursued by NHL teams and offered contracts, thanks to a game that is heavy on vision, passing and stickhandling.

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