NHL Lockout: Where to Find NY Rangers Players During the Lockout
During the NHL lockout, players have two options: They could either stay home, train and hope for the best in the negotiating process, or they could look for other job opportunities overseas.
The latter option has it's positives and negatives.
On the positive end, getting high-level game action puts a player in a position to be fully fit when the work stoppage ends. On the negative side, there's always the risk of injury.
But, in the end, it's a player's prerogative to play overseas or not. And many have decided to take their talents elsewhere.
Why shouldn't they? If the NHL owners don't appreciate their abilities, someone else surely will.
Among the mob of players heading over the pond are several New York Rangers spread out between three countries in Europe.
If and when the NHL plays a season this year, it'll be interesting to see how these players perform compared to their teammates who decided to stay home and workout on their own.
For those unaware of which players have headed over, or those just looking for an update on their progress, here is a look at the New York Rangers currently playing overseas—and one who could be joining them shortly.
Carl Hagelin, who opened eyes last season as a rookie with his lightening quick speed and balanced skill set, has made the best of a bad situation by signing for his hometown team; something many fellow Europeans have also done during the lockout.
The team is Södertälje and they play in the second division of Swedish hockey, HockeyAllsvenskan.
As expected, the players have had strong starts; Read leads the team with 16 points, while Hagelin sits in fourth with 11.
The most peculiar thing about Hagelin's decision to head back to Sweden is that he's playing in the second division.
I know it's his hometown club, but surely he is capable of better competition; he is an NHL player after all.
Seeing how he re-adjusts to the NHL when the lockout ends is something fans and coach John Tortorella are sure to keep an eye out for.
Unfortunately, things for Hagelin have not gone as smoothly as his temporary and permanent employers would have hoped.
A week ago, Hagelin suffered a bruised shoulder and was expected to recover fairly quickly.
But, after being reported that Hags had an MRI on the shoulder and the injury may be more severe than originally believed, he now finds himself in New York, where he will rehabilitate.
The Rangers' prized summer acquisition decided to head to Switzerland during the lockout to play for HC Davos; the same team he played for during the 2004-05 lockout.
Rick Nash was joined by fellow NHLer Joe Thornton in Davos. Thronton also played there during the previous lockout.
After a flying start, which saw Nash score a hat trick in his first appearance for the Swiss giants, Nash suffered a minor injury which caused him to miss a couple of games.
Lucky for him, and the Rangers, it wasn't anywhere near cause for serious concern.
Overall on the season, Nash has put up nine goals and 14 points in 13 games for Davos.
The good thing about Nash spending time with Davos is that he gets to spend time playing with a premier NHL pivot in Joe Thornton; a player who plays a similar style to that of new York's first line center, Brad Richards.
Playing with a top notch center is not a privilege Nash has been blessed with during his tenure in Columbus.
Hopefully the time he spends with Thornton in Davos will help him adjust to a style of play in which he doesn't need to play on the puck constantly to create goals.
Richards, like Thornton, will be able to find Nash in open areas, and the more Nash can concentrate on getting to the net rather than orchestrating, the better off he will be.
Ryan McDonagh probably made the best decision of all the Rangers to head overseas.
He's decided to lace up for Astana Barys of the KHL.
Why is that the best decision?
Well, because the KHL is currently the best league in the world, and McDonagh realizes this.
He'll be seeing the likes of Ovechkin, Malkin and Datsyuk. which will allow him to stary sharp.
He's also currently averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game, so if this lockout ever ends, you know he'll be game ready.
In the stats department, McDonagh remains goal-less in seven games, but he does have tree assists.
His lack of offensive output isn't something that should worry anyone involved with the Rangers; it's all about the D with Mac Truck.
Up to this point, McDonagh has been able to avoid any injury; something the Rangers have to be thankful for.
Michael Del Zotto
Just over a week ago, Michael Del Zotto signed with Rapperswil-Jona of the Swiss A-league—the same league teammate Rick Nash plays in.
Del Zotto believed it was best for his development as a young player to play competitively during the work stoppage.
Having appeared in only two games for the Swiss club, Del Zotto has picked up a single assist and is a minus one.
What's going to be interesting to see is how Del Zotto can readjust to the smaller ice surface in the NHL once the lockout ends.
Being an offensive minded defenseman, he'll be presented with wider passing and skating lanes in Switzerland; something he may take advantage of.
But how will that effect his game coming back to the smaller surface?
Also, how will the larger surface effect his defensive game?
For a young defenseman, the hardest thing is getting accustomed to the speed of the game, and then learn how to stay in position.
Del Zotto's positioning struggles have been well documented, and although he finally got most of them squared away last season, he now finds himself overseas playing on a larger surface at a different tempo.
Nobody more so than John Tortorella hopes the 22-year-old has the mental toughness to adjust to the varied environments.
Nope, he doesn't play overseas just yet, but it appears that the more this lockout continues, the better chance there is that the current Vezina Trophy holder will return to Frolunda of the Swedish Elitserien.
Henrik Lundqvist initially stated that he would only play the for club if the entire NHL season was cancelled.
But as early as yesterday, Lundqvist began working out with Frolunda after expressing his frustration at the lack of progress of the NHLs CBA negotiations.
For Frolunda to sign him, Lundqvist requests that the league abolish it's rule restricting Swedish clubs to sign NHL players to short-term contracts only.
If Lundqvist were to sign a standard contract with Frolunda at the moment, he would not have an out-clause allowing him to return to the NHL if the lockout were to end.
If and when the Swedish Elitserien allows a contract to be signed with an out-clause, Hank will join his twin brother Joel in Frolunda; the same team they both played for from 2000 to 2005.