NHL Lockout: 10 Players Most Affected by the Work Stoppage
The NHL lockout became official on Sept. 15th, leaving a lot of things in question for some players.
Throughout the league, teams scrambled in the last week to work out contract extensions, migrating massive portions of their rosters to the AHL and giving most players their last chance to visit with the team medical staff.
While many were accounted for in the last-minute scramble to wrap things up before the work stoppage, these 10 players are the most affected by the lockout.
Roberto Luongo has been pushed aside for the beginning of the Cory Schneider era in Vancouver. Next season he is scheduled to make the third-highest salary among goalies at $6,714,000. There are also 10 years remaining on his contract.
If the owners get their wish to lower the cap, Luongo’s large contract will be nearly impossible to trade. The backend of the deal is significantly lower in terms of dollars he will earn, but the cap hit remains the same every season at $5,333,333.
Vancouver will have to swallow some of the contract, but it is hard to imagine they are in a hurry to shop a former All-Star goalie to get pennies on the dollar. The new collective bargaining agreement will determine Luongo’s NHL fate, so he’ll have to sit there and wait in limbo.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are in the exact same boat with this lockout. The two were considered by many to be the top two free agents this summer and both signed 13-year $98 million contracts with the Minnesota Wild.
Like Luongo, they will be affected by the outcome of the new bargaining agreement.
Craig Leipold is the owner of the Minnesota Wild and was a large part of the negotiations. Leipold is leading the charge to put a five-year cap on all contracts. He also wants to make that retroactive and apply cuts in the value of those existing contracts.
If Leipold gets his way in those matters, he will have stolen the top free agents by getting out of paying over 60% of the contracts he used to lure Parise and Suter to Minnesota.
Chris Pronger missed most of last season with post-concussion syndrome. While the lockout permits him to seek out team doctors, it also buys some time for him to recover.
Pronger has been showing signs of improvement, but he is far from getting back on the ice. There is a chance that he could use this as an opportunity to retire.
Pronger will turn 38 in October, so even if he decides to come back and is capable of playing, his return probably won’t be a long one.
Depending on how long the work stoppage lasts, the combination of age and injuries might force Pronger to start writing his hall-of-fame speech earlier than he planned.
Jaromir Jagr turns 41 in February and is currently on a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars. Time is against Jagr when it comes to playing in the best league against the best competition.
If there is a repeat of the last work stoppage, there is a chance Jagr’s last season could be wiped out. There is no way of knowing for sure, but the clock is definitely winding down for him.
The whole situation is reminiscent of a scene in Happy Gilmore. Instead of arguing with an IRS agent, Stars fans are arguing with Bettman saying “I mean, look at him. He's old. You can't just take his skates. He's too old!”
Jagr will be back to play, but the lockout will eat up some of the little time he has left.
Martin Brodeur signed a two-year contract with the New Jersey Devils this offseason. The talk for a majority of the playoffs centered on a possible retirement for him; that contract seemed to put things to rest.
That deal was signed fairly quickly after their cup run ended at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. If the lockout lasts long enough, the thought of retiring may start creeping back into his head.
The adrenaline of a cup run will eventually start to fade, if it hasn’t already, and Brodeur might start to reconsider. A work stoppage provides a great opportunity for him to fade into the sunset after having an amazing postseason.
Much like Jagr, Brodeur is almost at the bottom of the career down-slope due to age, so when he returns there isn’t a lot of time left.
Bobby Ryan was mentioned in more rumors than Lindsay Lohan this summer. The fact that his name was linked everywhere really upset him.
Ryan made sure the Anaheim Ducks knew that he wanted to stay, but the talks kept circulating. No trades can be made during the lockout, but that probably won’t stop the backroom chatter that would get a deal in place for when a new collective bargaining agreement is signed.
Much like Luongo, this puts Ryan in limbo. The outcome of a new CBA will determine the real players in a potential trade and if anyone has the pieces to get a scorer in his prime.
Marian Hossa took that devastating illegal hit from Raffi Torres in the playoffs that required him to be taken off the ice in a stretcher. The final result was a concussion that held Hossa out of the rest of the playoffs.
If NHL players have learned anything, it is that concussions can have lingering effects long after the initial hit. Sidney Crosby missed 101 games due to a concussion, post-concussion syndrome and a broken bone in his neck.
Hossa was supposed to be a full participant in camp, but the lockout offers him some extra time to heal up. It also gives him a chance to do some independent skating to make sure there are no effects from post-concussion syndrome without risking contact in practice.
Extra time to heal from a head injury does nothing but help Hossa return to form.
The Dallas Stars made some big moves in the offseason, and one of them was trading for Derek Roy to be their top center. Originally Roy planned to play through his shoulder injury like he did last season, but opted for surgery instead.
Had the season started on time, Roy was scheduled to be out until November. If the lockout pushes the start of the season back, it could mean that Roy will not miss any time at all.
The best case for Roy would be getting to have the most time possible to play with his new teammates. And since the Stars acquired three new starters for their top two lines, building chemistry between the forwards will be a key to curing their offensive woes.
Dwayne Roloson is currently sitting in the free-agent pool and many are speculating as to if he’ll retire or not. If the lockout lasts long enough, the decision could be made for him.
Roloson is currently the oldest player in the NHL at the age of 42. After the lockout is resolved, teams will have to decide if it is worth carrying Roloson as a veteran backup, or if it is worth carrying a cheaper but inexperienced goalie to be second on the depth chart.
It isn’t looking great for Roloson to find work, but if the worst-case scenario of a prolonged work stoppage happens, he could be phased out of the league entirely.
Sadly, the work stoppage has taken away the option for some players to walk away on their own terms, and Roloson could be one of those casualties.