Friday, August 17, 2007

NHLers flee to Europe

Players who played five or more NHL games in 2006-07 and have signed to play in Europe for next season:

European team Country NHL team
Ric Jackman
Salzburg EC Austria Ana
Josh Green
Salzburg EC Austria Van
Jaroslav Balastik
Zlin Czech Republic Cmb
Filip Novak
Ceske Budejovice Czech Republic Cmb
Petr Nedved
Sparta Praha Czech Republic Edm
Mikko Lehtonen
Karpat Finland Buf
Jussi Markkanen
Jokerit HC Finland Edm
Richie Regehr
Germany Cal
Eric Boguniecki
Ingolstadt Germany NYI
Eric Meloche
Germany Phi
Brad Tapper
Germany Phi
Nils Ekman
Russia Pit
Stanislav Chistov
Salavat Yulayev Russia Bos
Jamie McLennan
Magnitogorsk Russia Cal
Alex Perezhogin

Salavat YulaevRussia
Anton Babchuk

Alex Svitov

Denis Arkhipov
AK Bars Kazan Russia Chi
Jamie Lundmark
Dynamo Moscow Russia LA
Oleg Tverdovsky
Salavat Yulayev Russia LA
Jamie Heward
St. Petersburg Russia LA
Alexei Yashin
Yaroslavl Russia NYI
Randy Robitaille
Yaroslavl Russia NYI
Oleg Saprykin
CSKA Moscow Russia Ott
D. Afanasenkov
Dynamo Moscow Russia Phi
Tomas Mojzis
Sibir Novosibirsk Russia StL
Alex Suglobov
St. Petersburg Russia Tor
Petr Tenkrat
Timra IK Sweden Bos
David Printz
Djurgardens IF Sweden Phi
Ville Nieminen
Malmo Redhawks Sweden (2) StL
J.P. Vigier
Geneve-Servette Switzerland Atl
Nathan Dempsey
SC Bern Switzerland Bos
Antti Laaksonen
Fribourg-Gotteron Switzerland Col
Patrik Stefan
SC Bern Switzerland Dal
Juraj Kolnik
HC Geneve-Servette Switzerland Fla
Marty Murray
HC Lugano Switzerland LA
Donald MacLean
ZSC Lions Switzerland Phx
Marc Chouinard
Fribourg-Gotteron Switzerland Van
Y. Tremblay
HC Lugano Switzerland Van



At 3:36 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

You couldn't build a competent AHL team with the talent that left.

At 3:50 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Stevens8204 said...

Though that is true....there will be more in the coming years but that is just how it is.

At 3:52 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Brushback said...

One more, from the Columbus Blue Jackets-- Alexander Svitov signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk (announced today).

At 3:54 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Brushback said...

By the way, Chemmy, don't scoff-- Oleg Tverdovsky makes a hell of an AHL defenseman.

At 4:06 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

Eh, you might be able to make a solid AHL line.

I'll miss Suglobov though. We drove up to a Marlies game last year and cheered our heads off for him. He looked confused on the bench.

At 4:30 p.m., August 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Names on the list are not anything special but at the same time it's a function of the new CBA. And US dollars slide.

Players that are good enough to play in the NHL are squeezed down to 475,000 minimum salaries and that's only 300,000 euros.

And while 300,000 euros is a great salary in Europe, too, it's not what guys like Ville Nieminen can make over there. Some Swedish newsreports said that Nieminen makes 700,000usd with much smaller living expenses.

Another problem is reverse waivers. If you make more than 100,000usd in the minors you can't be called up without waivers.

That makes it very tough to sign these good solid veterans on two-way deals.

At 4:53 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Jeremy said...

Good points all around, although I think that most of these guys could still pull their own weight at the AHL level.

Don't be surprised, however, if we see at least a couple of these guys back in the NHL again some day. Both Heward and Tenkrat were on their second tours of duty in the NHL after spending some time in Europe, and every off season brings a handful of players returning from overseas (see Jan Hlavac, Dick Tarnstrom, Tomas Surovy and others this year). It seems that the exchange between the NHL and Europe has become more fluid, owing to the strength of the Euro and the development of the European leagues.

Of the players on this list, who do you guys think is the most likely to return to the NHL?

At 5:04 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Gautham Ganesan said...

Of the players on this list, who do you guys think is the most likely to return to the NHL?

Yashin for sure, maybe as soon as Christmas, especially for teams that miss out on the Forsberg sweepstakes and are still desperate for a No. 1 center, Yashin may be their man.

At 5:34 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Jeremy said...

Yeah, Yashin definitely has the most talent of all of the players on the list, and he is probably the only known NHL commodity of the group. For all his baggage, he's consistently produced on the ice, though never up to the expecatations that his whopping NYI contract set.

He's still a wildcard, though, in that he seems generally uninterested in competing for the Stanley Cup. It really seems to be about who can pay him the most and/or give him surroundings that suit his needs. I think Yashin might become a similar case to Aleksey Morozov, the ex-Penguin who has been demolishing the RSL for a few seasons now. Both obviously have the tools to make it at the NHL level, but if a team isn't willing to spend, spend, spend to bring them across the pond, they'll stay in Russia. That won't stop their agents from teasing NHL GMs and the media, however.

"Sure, if Aleksey/Alexei finds the right situation, and the team is willing to pay him what he's worth, he'll return."

As far as I'm aware, Yashin has no "opt out" clause in his current contract with Yaroslavl, so I believe he'll be in Russia for all of 07/08.

My picks (for the record) would be Jussi Markkanen and Juraj Kolnik. Even though the competition for goalie spots in the NHL is absolutely cut-throat right now, I believe if Jussi puts together a couple of strong seasons in Finland he could sneak back into the NHL, ala Johan Holmqvist. Kolnik didn't receive much attention playing in Florida, but he's only 26, with a relatively good shot and offensive instincts. Like Markkanen, he'll have to perform overseas to get some NHL consideration, but I could see a basement-dwelling team bringing him back to bolster its offense.

At 5:35 p.m., August 17, 2007, Anonymous Alec said...

As long as these borderline NHLers go to europe you thin the talent pool that much more, I wouldn't be suprised if we start seeing the top point scorer be north of 130 next year.

At 6:23 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Brushback said...

I'll also agree that Yashin is probably over in Yaroslavl to stay, especially since an NHL team would have to pay him over $5 million in order to equal the salary he's getting over there.

I think a lower-end player like Jamie Lundmark is a more likely candidate to return, but then it becomes a question of demand-- who would want him?

At 6:45 p.m., August 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's few good players in Europe but I really feel that Kenny Jonsson will return to the NHL after next season.

He was All Star in Torino Olympics and he must be shaking his head when Kimmo Timonen, Brian Rafalski, Mathieu Schneider (at 38) etc. have signed those ridicilous deals.

None of the above are better than Kenny Jonsson.

At 7:04 p.m., August 17, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Every single one of those guys is replaceable by someone younger, cheaper, and - ahem - Canadianer.

At 8:07 p.m., August 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

Randy Robitaille lives in Kanata Lakes. Strange for a... Russian.

At 12:37 a.m., August 18, 2007, Blogger Jeremy said...

Art does have a good point, though. Even though this exodus is not all Europeans going back to Europe, it's still true that for every guy who leaves the NHL there are a dozen cheap, young Canadians chomping at the bit to take his roster spot. They work hard, diligently and anonymously as they fill the little grinder and stopper roles that more tenured players might think beneath them. And they do it all for at or around the league minimum. These young Canadians are (do I really want to make this analogy?) the Mexican laborers of the NHL. Do not think too hard about that analogy or it will crumble in your hands.

Instead, think about players like Nick Tarnasky in Tampa Bay, Jerred Smithson in Nashville, or Stephane Veilleux in Minnesota. They come, they plug, they go. We're vaguely aware of their presence while they're around, and maybe wonder about them a bit when they disappear a few years later. If there really is to be a "middle class squeeze" in the NHL, where the $1 million to $3 million vets get forced out to Europe, these are the types of players who will be replacing them.

Maybe that's why the league is having such a hard time developing a personality, eh?

At 1:22 a.m., August 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted Nolan's son could be replacing these Europeans but only in States. Canada doesn't want him since he doesn't know where Cornwall is. Whatta shame.

At 1:44 a.m., August 18, 2007, Blogger Lowetide said...

The NHL lost a lot of its appeal as THE world's best hockey league the day Jani Rita decided to go back to Finland.

At 7:31 a.m., August 18, 2007, Anonymous Baroque said...

If the open spots from players (of many nationalities) leaving for Europe are filled with minimum wage pluggers, does that mean the league will become more defensive as a whole because that is the style those players have had to use to remain in hockey?

Even if there is no large drop in talent for the league as a whole, and you think that most of the players leaving are borderline NHLers anyway, will the change in philosophy make the league more stifling and defensively oriented as teams become a number of high-priced stars with a bunch of cheap guys around wearing the same jersey and paid to shut down the other team's top expensive stars.

At 10:23 a.m., August 18, 2007, Anonymous berestoff said...

Apart from Svitov you forget Alexander Perezhogin (Salavat Yulaev) and Anton Babchuk (Avangard).
I'm pretty sure that before the season starts in RSL some new names will add to the list.

At 11:51 a.m., August 18, 2007, Blogger Doogie said...

I wouldn't be suprised if we start seeing the top point scorer be north of 130 next year.

I wouldn't be surprised mainly because most NHLers don't peak at 19.

At 2:36 p.m., August 18, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

I guess whether some of these guys return or not is dependent on the financial success and growth of those Euro/Russian leagues vis a vis the NHL. If Russia ever enforces their $11m salary cap/team, that could drive high end Russian talent back. Instead, the Russian salary cap is a lot like the CFL one was before this season, a cap on paper only.

Hopefully for my team's personal stake they can get Perezhogin back in time and also bring Alexei Emelin over, who is one of the best young Russian blueliners... then again, at one point, so was Anton Babchuk.

At 6:25 p.m., August 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salary cap in Russian league is going to work. Not.

I have visited both Sovjet Union and Russia many times. While your average Russian is a kind at heart they all have lived in the system that enforces lying and stealing.

All the non-Russian players should remember when they sign that big deal is that it's a oneway deal...

If you play well, you get paid. If you get hurt or play under expectations you're gone and you can kiss your money goodbye.

Going to court in Russia? Good luck.


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