KHL, Euro Leagues Begin Stockpiling Locked-Out NHL Talent; No Panthers Have Yet Made Official Leap
The list of current NHL players seeking to avoid lockout fever by heading East continues to swell, adding names such as Boston's Tyler Seguin, Washington's Michal Neuvirth, and Calgary's Jiri Hudler on Thursday alone, but they figured in among the "leftovers" (so far) given a banner crop of jumpers whom have signed with European clubs in the preceding forty-eight hours.
Since Tuesday, we've witnessed the likes of Alexander Ovechkin (Dynamo Moscow/KHL), Pavel Datsyuk (CSKA Moscow/KHL), Ilya Kovalchuk (SKA St. Petersburg/KHL), Anze Kopitar (Mora/Allsvenskan), Jason Spezza (Rapperswil/NLA-Switzerland), Rick Nash and Joe Thornton (both with Davos/NLA) banging out short-term deals across the Atlantic. And of course Sunday saw Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin (Metallurg/KHL) essentially open the floodgate.
Yet curiously no Florida Panthers have (officially) found a temporary employer across the Atlantic. A scant few rumors have been floated in recent days, one in particular involving Marcel Goc returning to play alongside younger brother Nikolai with Adler Mannheim (DEL) in Germany, and call us presumptuous for expecting Tomas Kopecky, Sean Bergenheim, and still-unsigned RFA Dmitry Kulikov to find roster spots somewhere overseas very soon, but crickets otherwise.
Once the league pulls the rug from under its remaining exhibition schedule (read: by Tuesday) fans can safely surmise a player exodus from the mean streets of Coral Springs will most certainly be in full effect. Who will be the first to ship out?
As "Panthers" begin boarding flights for Europe, we'll post a roster of sorts on the sidebar with each player and a link to the club they signed with. Sadly.
UPDATE: George Richards reports "Goc left for Germany...with Kulikov right behind".