NHL Players Continue To Flock To Europe

April 2, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Washington Capitals 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The NHL CBA negotiations have been at a standstill the past few days, as the two sides have not met since last weekend. The optimism of last week has turned to pessimism and it appears that it is leading more players to try and find work over in Europe.  Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks and Jason Chimera of the Washington Capitals are among the most recent players to head overseas.

Sportsnet.ca does a great job breaking down where NHL players are playing during the lockout.  There are currently 194 NHL players that are in Europe.  This is approximately half the amount of players that went over to Europe during the 2004-05 lockout.

As in the 2004-05 lockout, the KHL (formerly the Russian Superleague) leads the way in terms of number of NHL Players with 41.  The Swedish Elite League, which was the second most popular destination in 2004-05, only has 12 NHL players this time around.  The SEL was originally not accepting rental players from the NHL, but an anti-trust ruling changed that.  Still, teams are not flocking to sign NHL players to short term contracts. If the NHL season gets cancelled, that could change how many players end up in Sweden, especially Swedish players like the Sedin twins.

A complete breakdown of NHL players in European leagues is given in the table below:

 

League Number of Players League Number of Players
KHL

41

Denmark

2

Finland

31

Norway

2

Czech

29

Slovakia

2

Swiss

24

Czech (Division II)

1

Sweden

12

Finland (Division II)

1

Austria

10

Germany (Division III)

1

Germany

10

Poland

1

Germany (Division II)

8

Swiss (Division II)

1

Sweden (Division II)

8

Ukraine

1

England

5

Russia VHL

1

Italy

3

 

It is also interesting to take a look at which NHL teams have the most players currently playing in Europe. The table below is a summary by NHL team:

Team Number of Players   Team Number of Players
Philadelphia

12

Chicago

6

Boston

10

Edmonton

6

NY Islanders

10

Toronto

6

Ottawa

10

Anaheim

5

Detroit

9

Columbus

5

Montreal

9

Dallas

5

San Jose

9

NY Rangers

5

Nashville

8

Calgary

4

St. Louis

8

Colorado

4

Winnipeg

8

LA

4

Buffalo

7

Minnesota

4

Florida

7

New Jersey

4

Phoenix

7

Pittsburgh

4

Washington

7

Tampa Bay

4

Carolina

6

Vancouver

1

The Philadelphia Flyers lead the way by having 12 players in Europe, while the Vancouver Canucks have the least with only one.  It will be interesting to see how this might affect these two teams if there is an NHL season this year.  The Flyers also have six players in the American Hockey League that could start the year with the NHL club.  So almost their entire roster is playing in a professional league right now.

If the league finally does startup it will be with an abbreviated training camp and a compressed schedule.  There won’t be time for players to get into game shape.  Although training practices have improved over the years, nothing can match the effectiveness of playing games.  Given how many players the Flyers have that are playing real games against good competition; this has to be an advantage for them, especially early in the season.  The Canucks on the other hand, might be subject to a slow start.

 


Follow Tony on Twitter:
@TheDailyBites

 

Topics: Europe, NHL Lockout

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