The NHL lockout is barely a week old, yet many players are jumping ship to the second best hockey league in the world, the KHL. 20 of the KHL’s teams are located in Russia and two thirds of the players are from Russia.
Hockey’s Future previewed the upcoming KHL season. They point out that each KHL team may only sign three NHL players for this season and only one of those players can be foreign in the team is located in Russia.
So that means the six teams located outside of Russia can sign whomever they want from the NHL. These regulations are one factor contributing to the exodus of NHL players to the KHL.
Another factor is that the last NHL lockout ended in a lost season. Many players do not want to take a chance and find out if an agreement is made.
A Yahoo Sports blogger said 2012 is different than previous lockouts because of the rate at which players are heading overseas.
“The floodgates are open in Europe; previous predictions that NHL players may not leave with the same frequency as in the 2004-05 lockout may no longer hold true. We’re just over a week into the lockout, and three of the NHL’s top four offensive stars — Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Evgeni Malkin — are overseas or, in the case of Stamkos, nearly there.”
A Bleacher Report blogger said he believes if the NHL is locked out this year it will deteriorate the chances of future lockouts due to the outpour of players to Russia. The Russian league’s salaries are becoming more competitive and the quality of play is also increasing. If there is another viable location for top quality players to play at he believes future lockouts will be less likely.
I hope the NHL gets its act together and ends the lockout. The league will survive it in the end and the top players will still get paid this year. The ones who are really hurt by this are the broadcaster who will have to find a college team to announce for, or the concession worker out of work who used the extra income for their child’s Christmas.
If you would like a list of the players heading to the KHL click here.