Last Sunday, the NHL officially went into a lockout with players and team owners unable to come to a collective bargaining agreement. This not only means that players will not have a league to play in, it also means that players cannot use team facilities—a reality that could really hurt some players’ future performances.
Waves of players have already headed overseas to play in European leagues. According to the New York Times, Russian star Evgeni Malkin and veteran Sergei Gonchar, among many others, have already signed contracts with the KHL in Russia. There, they will keep in shape during the lockout under contracts that can be terminated at any time.
Germany’s Elite League is also getting attention from agents, says the Toronto Sun. The general manager of the Berlin Eisbaeren (Polar Bears), Peter Lee, has been contacted by the agents of more than 30 players for contract deals.
Younger, less experienced NHL players will be sent to the AHL to stay in shape. The minors will keep the players' skates moving, but the competition in the minors is hardly comparable to that of the NHL.
Locking the players out of team facilities is a tactic the owners are using to pressure the players into submission. However, with the abundance of options outside of the U.S., the players can sidestep this pressure—the lockout will have to be solved by both sides coming to terms.
The shortened season that could ensue, if there is a season at all, will be tough on all players who have to get back into playing shape midway through the season. Certain players will have an easier time adjusting and other players will never adjust to the abnormal circumstances at all.
Here are five players with the most to lose from the extended lockout.