NHL Lockout: Which League Has Benefited the Most from the Lockout
With the lockout in full swing and any hope for a season pretty much gone with the wind, the players of the NHL have packed up and flown out to wherever they can find a league that will give them a place to play hockey.
There are a few players that have hung around North America, but they have either done so because they were entrenched in the negotiating process for the new CBA, or they were younger players assigned to their team's AHL affiliate.
Most have either gone over the Atlantic to find a team in a European Elite League, or over the pacific to the KHL in Russia.
So which of these leagues have gotten the best in their attempt to bring in rogue NHL players just desperate for some hockey?
The Kontinental Hockey League, or KHL, may have gotten the best influx of NHL players during the lockout.
The KHL has managed to bring in 34 NHL players to this point, many of which are big-name players.
The KHL has seen the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Zdeno Chara, Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk head to Russia.
In addition to these staple big names, the KHL has also pulled the biggest young player around in the most recent first-overall pick, Nail Yakupov.
Plus, of all of the leagues fiedling NHL players, the KHL is the only one that has seen ESPN broadcasting some of their games.
Swiss Elite League
Eighteen NHL players have chosen the neutral grounds of Switzerland to be home during the lockout, which seems like a bit of a high number to me.
Headlining this group are players like Henrik Zetterberg, Joe Thornton, John Tavares and Rick Nash.
These are names that I would expect to spend time over in Sweden as the level of play is higher, but due to the Swedish Elite League's policy to not give NHL players contracts that would allow them to go back to the NHL if/when the lockout ends, some of these better names have gone elsewhere.
Because of these larger names coming around, the Swiss Elite League might have gotten one of the larger benefits in the latest installment of NHL lockouts.
Finnish Elite League
Erik Karlsson headlines the names of the players that have ended up in the Finnish Elite League.
Strange that a Swede would go over to Europe and play in Finland, but not as strange when you remember that the Swedish Elite League said they weren't giving partial contracts to NHL players this time around.
The Finnish Elite League has brought in 19 NHL players for this year's lockout festivities.
Of the 19 NHL players that have gone to the Czech League for the lockout, it seems that there are a few more seniors heading that way.
Tops on the list would be Jaromir Jagr, but there are plenty of younger players heading along as well.
Tuukka Rask and Ondrej Pavelec are among the younger players heading to the Czech League.
Swedish Elite League
Ten players have come to the Swedish Elite League this time around, which is a result of the policy I mentioned earlier.
The Swedish Elite League really did themselves no favors by making this contract policy, but did still attract a few young starts.
Players like Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Patrik Berglund and Carl Hagelin have still joined the SEL, but there are far fewer players joining than in the past.
While other leagues may not have fared as well as the ones mentioned, NHL players have still made their way to the following other leagues as well: German Elite League, Austria, British Elite League, German T2 League and the Swedish T2 League.
For a full list of which NHL players have gone where, follow this link.
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