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NHL Lockout: 13 NHL Players Currently Killing It in Other Leagues

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2012

NHL Lockout: 13 NHL Players Currently Killing It in Other Leagues

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    The NHL may have locked its doors and kept its players on the outside, but that doesn't mean many of the NHL's players don't have a chance to play the game at a high level.

    European hockey leagues give players a chance to compete. While the leagues may not be as strong as the NHL, they are manned by solid professionals.

    The NHL may have underestimated how many NHL players would take advantage of the chance to play overseas. Many of them are playing extremely well, lighting up the scoreboard in European leagues.

    Here's our top 13 (stats courtesy of TSN.ca):

Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Ilya Kovalchuk had an excellent season in 2011-12 with the New Jersey Devils, scoring 37 goals and 46 assists.

    He's also tearing it up in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He is playing for SKA St. Petersburg, and he has scored eight goals and 14 assists in his first 13 games.

Tomas Plekanec

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    Tomas Plekanec has scored 20 or more goals in five of the last six seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. While the Canadiens slumped badly last year, he still scored 17 goals and added 35 assists in 2011-12.

    The swift skating Plekanec is playing his familiar center position for Kladno of the Czech Republic League. He has scored nine goals and added 11 assists in 15 games through Oct. 30.

Jaromir Jagr

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    Jaromir Jagr made a return to the NHL last year after four years of playing in European leagues. He scored 19 goals and 35 assists for the Philadelphia Flyers before signing a free-agent contract in July with the Dallas Stars.

    During the lockout, Jagr is playing for his hometown team of Kladno in the Czech Republic League. He has eight goals and 12 assists in his first 14 games.

Tyler Seguin

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    Tyler Seguin was the Boston Bruins' leading scorer last year with 29 goals and 38 assists.

    The explosive Seguin is playing for Biel in the "A" division of the Switzerland National League. He is off to an excellent start, scoring eight goals and eight assists in his first 12 games.

Ales Hemsky

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    Veteran Ales Hemsky scored 10 goals and added 26 assists last year for the Edmonton Oilers.

    Hemsky is skating for HC Pardubice of the Czech National League, and the right wing is finding the back of the net with some regularity. Hemsky has scored seven goals and nine assists in 14 games.

Logan Couture

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    Logan Couture has quickly become one of the mainstays for the San Jose Sharks. He scored 31 goals and added 34 assists last year.

    Couture is playing for Geneve-Servette in the "A" division of Switzerland National League. Through his first 13 games, Couture has scored five goals and 11 assists.

Pavel Datsyuk

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    Pavel Datsyuk is one of the most skilled and entertaining players in the world. He proves it regularly with the Detroit Red Wings, and he is proving it while playing in the KHL.

    Datsyuk scored 19 goals and 48 assists last year for the Red Wings. He is playing for CSKA Moskava of the KHL, and he has scored five goals and 11 assists in his first 13 games through Oct. 30.

Jiri Tlusty

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    Jiri Tlusty is expected to become one of the Carolina Hurricanes' most vital players once the lockout comes to an end. He scored 17 goals and added 19 assists from his spot on left wing last year.

    Tlusty is playing for HC Kladno in the Czech Republic League, and he has scored nine goals and six assists in 15 games.

Vladimir Sobotka

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    Vladimir Sobotka of the St. Louis Blues is a blue-collar player who does the little things that don't show up on the score sheet to help the Blues win games. He is a tough defensive player, and he scored five goals and 15 assists last season.

    Sobotka is playing for HC Slavia Praha of the Czech Republic League, and he has scored six goals and nine assists in his first 13 games.

Raphael Diaz

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    Raphael Diaz played 59 games for the Montreal Canadiens last year. The young defenseman scored three goals and added 13 assists.

    Diaz is playing for Zug in the "A" Division of the Swiss National League. He has scored three goals and 13 assists through his first 14 games.

Rick Nash

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    Rick Nash is expected to play a huge role for the New York Rangers once the lockout ends. He is an explosive scorer with size, skating speed and a slew of offensive moves. He scored 30 goals and 29 assists last year for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he has scored 289 goals in his NHL career.

    Nash is playing for Davos of the "A" Division of the Swiss National League. He has scored nine goals and added five assists in his first 11 games.

Patric Hornqvist

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    Patric Hornqvist is one of the Nashville Predators' best and most important offensive players. He scored 27 goals and added 16 assists last year. He was especially valuable when the Preds had a man advantage, as he scored eight power-play goals.

    Hornqvist is playing for Red Ice of the "B" Division of the Swiss National League. He has seven goals and seven assists in nine games.

Alex Ovechkin

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    It's no surprise that Alex Ovechkin is playing with Dynamo Moskva of the KHL while the NHL is in the midst of its lockout. Ovechkin scored 38 goals last year for the Washington Capitals, and he has scored 339 goals in 553 career games in Washington.

    Ovechkin has scored six goals and has added eight assists in his first 14 games in the KHL.

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