Skip to main content

In this picture, taken Oct.5, 2012 Islanders'  John Tavares, NHL lockout player, now with  SC Bern, challenges for the puck during the match between EV Zug and SC Bern in Zug, Switzerland.

Associated Press

Their numbers continue to slowly grow, even on the day the NHL regular season was supposed to open.

Los Angeles Kings backup netminder Jonathan Bernier has signed to play over in Germany, becoming (by my unofficial count anyway) the 133rd locked out NHLer to find a temporary home overseas.

Not surprisingly, the KHL is the top destination for players so far, with 27 per cent of NHLers signing in Russia's top league.

Story continues below advertisement

Next in line is the Czech Republic, followed by Switzerland and Finland, all three of which have about 15 per cent of those playing overseas.

Where are players playing during the lockout?

Led by Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Malkin and Datsyuk, the KHL has drawn the majority of the top NHL talent in the early days of the lockout

What's interesting is that there's a huge difference between the number of players from different NHL teams who are playing overseas.

The Boston Bruins, for one, have nine players suiting up there. So do the Detroit Red Wings. And a handful more, like the Flyers, Sharks and Blues, have eight.

Then there are the Canucks, who, as far as I can tell, don't have a single player playing overseas (surprising given they draw players from so many different countries). The Ducks, Wild, Rangers, Penguins and Lightning only have two.

If this lockout stretches on for three or four months, you have to think that the teams with more players playing at a high level right now will be better set up to play NHL games when the puck drops.

If there's a shortened season, there's going to be a short training camp and few preseason games, meaning those in "game shape" already will have an advantage. (On the flip side, players playing fewer games this season will likely be less fatigued late in the year.)

Story continues below advertisement

Another thing worth noting? There really aren't that many North American players among those playing overseas.

Of the 133, I count 32 Canadians and 11 Americans, which means they make up about one-third of the total. That makes a lot of sense, as it's far more comfortable for European players to simply remain in their hometowns where many spent the off-season, but it could put the North Americans who make up 75 per cent of the NHL at a disadvantage once the season finally begins.

Hardly any of the North American players are in the KHL, either, with only Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane playing there so far. The top choice for Canadians and Americans has been to go to either Switzerland, Finland or Germany.

For a full list of who's playing in Europe, both TSN and Sportsnet are keeping tabs on all of the names.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter