NHL Lockout: How the NHL's Biggest Stars Are Performing in Other Leagues

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor INovember 12, 2012

NHL Lockout: How the NHL's Biggest Stars Are Performing in Other Leagues

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    As the NHL lockout rolls on, star players continue to thrive in the KHL, SEL. SM-liiga and other leagues overseas in Europe.

    Many of these players have made a good adjustment to playing outside the US, and most are enjoying performing in their home country. 

    With no end to the NHL lockout in sight, here are how the NHL's stars are currently performing in the other leagues overseas.

Ilya Kovalchuk

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    The New Jersey Devils' forward is a member of SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, and he is really having a great season up to this point.

    The sniper has 26 points in only 16 games so far, and a big reason that Kovalchuk has been successful is because of his linemate Vladimir Tarasenko.

    The St Louis Blues' prospect has found great chemistry with Kovalchuk, and the duo has been pretty lethal all year long.

Claude Giroux

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    Claude Giroux decided to join Eisbären Berlin of the DEL during the lockout, and he is off to a hot start through eight games. Giroux is second on the team in scoring with four goals and 15 assists for 19 points.

    The Philadelphia Flyers' star has only played a small amount of time for the club, so it is quite possible that he will be the leading scorer by the season's end.

Alexander Ovechkin

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    Alex Ovechkin decided to take his talents to the KHL during the lockout, and he currently has a point-per-game average through 14 games.

    With Dynamo Moscow, the NHL sniper only has six goals and eight assists up to this point. Ovechkin has been very vocal about the current NHL lockout, and it isn't clear whether or not he would return to the NHL after the lockout ends.

Evgeni Malkin

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    Evgeni Malkin is currently the top NHL scorer playing in the KHL through 18 games. The Pittsburgh Penguins' superstar has 28 points so far for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, and he is on pace to have an explosive season.

    Malkin is coming off a career year in the NHL, so when the lockout finally ends his play overseas should allow him to be in perfect shape to help the Pens make a playoff run.

Rick Nash

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    Rick Nash returned to the Swiss-A league for the NHL lockout, and he rejoined HC Davos, a team he played for during the 2004-05 lockout.

    In 13 games so far, Nash has nine goals and five assists for 14 points.

    Nash would have more points if it wasn't for a bone bruise injury that had him sidelined for two weeks in October.

Joe Thornton

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    Joe Thornton also joined HC Davos of the Swiss-A league to continue playing hockey throughout the lockout.

    He decided to return to the team he played for in 2004-05 along with his buddy Rick Nash, and it appears that Jumbo Joe has made a smart decision.

    In 17 games, Thornton has four goals and nine assists for 13 points with HC Davos. When Nash was briefly injured, Thornton lost his linemate and Davos was briefly out of sync.

    Now that Nash is back, Thornton and Nash have the potential to do some serious damage for Davos this season, and championship hopes are very high.

Daniel Briere

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    Daniel Briere also decided to join Eisbären Berlin of the DEL for the lockout, and he is also off to a great start.

    The veteran scoring forward has four goals and 14 assists for 18 points through eight games, and playing alongside teammate Claude Giroux is certainly beneficial for his game.

Henrik Zetterberg

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    Henrik Zetterberg decided to head overseas during the NHL lockout, and he has been skating for EV Zug of the Swiss-A National league.

    So far, the Detroit Red Wings star has scored eight goals, and he has added five assists for 13 points in seven games.

    Zetterberg is just getting started, and if there is a lengthy lockout, he could have a good shot at contending for the scoring title in the NLA.

Logan Couture

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    Logan Couture is currently sixth in the NLA scoring race with 21 points in 15 games with Genève-Servette. 

    The San Jose Sharks' forward has been one of the best NHL imports in the Swiss-A league during the lockout, and his NHL conditioning and training is evident.

    During the last lockout, many players were rusty when play resumed the following season because of a lack of activity, and game shape.

    If the NHL season starts on December 1 as speculated, Couture will be ready to immediately step in and make an impact.

Tyler Seguin

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    Tyler Seguin is off to an amazing start in the Swiss-A league with Biel. The dynamo forward has scored 13 goals, and he has assisted on 10 others for 23 points in 15 games.

    Seguin signed an impressive contract extension with the Boston Bruins this offseason, and it is a true shame that the youngster could end up losing one of his prime years as a result of the lockout.

    When, or if, the lockout ends, Seguin will have a leg up on opponents because he will be in terrific shape to return to NHL action.

Jason Spezza

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    Jason Spezza joined Rapperswil of the NLA for the time being as the NHL currently works with the NHLPA to finalize a new CBA.

    Spezza has only appeared in 15 games with the club, and he has scored only five goals while assisting on nine others for 14 points.

    The Ottawa Senators' forward may be off to an average start, but if he could be a top scorer in the NHL, he will have no problem dominating in the NLA once he is acclimated to the larger ice surface.

Pavel Datsyuk

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    Pavel Datsyuk is one of the NHL's most creative players, and he is the best puck handler in the game today.

    Datsyuk is a true magician and wizard with the puck, and has been able to showcase his skills for CSKA Moscow of the KHL.

    With CSKA Moscow, Datsyuk has scored six goals, and he has assisted on 13 others for 19 points in 15 games.

    If the lockout continues for an extended time period, it wouldn't be surprising to see Datsyuk battle countrymen like Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin for the KHL's scoring title.

Erik Karlsson

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    Reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson opted to join Jokerit of the SM-liiga during the lockout, and through 14 games he has looked average.

    The offensive-dynamo has scored just three goals, but has added seven assists for 10 points thus far.

    Once Karlsson re-aclimates with the larger ice surface, he should have no problem dominating on offense like he did in 2011-12 with the Ottawa Senators.

Jaromir Jagr

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    Jaromir Jagr had an easy decision to make once the lockout was officially underway.

    No longer a spry forward with tons of youth and longevity, Jagr decided to suit up for HC Kladno of the Czech Extraliga.

    Jagr is the team's owner, and he is currently the team's No. 2 scorer behind Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens.

    Through 16 games, Jagr has scored 10 goals and assisted on 16 others for 26 points.

    With Jagr nearing the end of the career, the lockout could permanently interrupt his swan song in the NHL.

Zdeno Chara

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    Zdeno Chara hasn't had the best of luck with HC Lev Praha of the KHL so far, and he is a player who is probably dying for the NHL lockout to end.

    The Boston Bruins' captain only has two goals and five assists for seven points through 11 games during his KHL stint.

    Chara's team is 9-12-1 on the year to date, and the sooner the lockout ends, the better it would be for the towering defender.

Pekka Rinne

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    Pekka Rinne is currently the best NHL goaltender overseas, and the Vezina finalist hasn't had the greatest luck or success to this point.

    Rinne is currently skating for HC Dinamo Minsk of the KHL, and through 13 games, Rinne is 7-6-0 with a 2.58 G.A.A.

    It is very clear that Rinne is missing the NHL and teammates like Shea Weber being around to provide a helping hand when it comes to clearing the crease,

John Tavares

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    John Tavares is an NHL player on the cusp of becoming a legitimate star, and the lockout couldn't have come at a worse time for the New York Islanders' future captain.

    During the lockout, Tavares is skating for HC Bern of the NLA, and he is off to an average start. Through 12 games, Tavares has scored six goals assisted on nine others for 15 points.

    With Tavares entering the prime of his career and his development, the NHL lockout is depriving fans of watching an extremely talented player dominate at the NHL level.