NHL Lockout: 5 Players That Should Still Sign to Play Overseas
There are still many notable NHL players who have yet to sign with an overseas team during the lockout.
Many of these players are enjoying the extra time off, but at some point these guys will have to start playing some competitive hockey, whether it's in the NHL or in Europe.
Let's look at five players who should still play overseas while the work stoppage continues.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Not many of the NHL’s top goaltenders have signed with overseas teams during the lockout, but New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist could benefit from playing in Europe.
Too much rest isn’t an ideal situation for a goaltender, and Lundqvist should consider playing in his home country of Sweden so he can be ready for the most important season of his NHL career.
Lundqvist will be under pressure to help the Rangers return to the Stanley Cup Final following the team’s Eastern Conference Finals defeat to the rival New Jersey Devils in May.
Playing overseas would help the league's reigning Vezina Trophy winner avoid a poor start to the 2012-13 NHL season.
Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins
Milan Lucic was a productive offensive player for the Boston Bruins in the early part of last season, scoring 18 points in the first two months of the year (24 games). To ensure a repeat performance, Lucic should sign with an overseas team.
Getting into a normal day-to-day hockey routine would benefit Lucic because he will be facing high expectations this year following a disappointing playoff performance versus the Washington Capitals. He also signed a new three-year contract extension just prior to the lockout.
Lucic should think about playing in Switzerland, which is where Bruins forwards Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly are currently playing.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos is one of the best NHL players who has not signed with an overseas team yet, and if the lockout continues into January, you can bet there will be many teams in several different leagues who will be interested in signing the NHL’s best young player.
The Tampa Bay Lightning center scored 60 goals last season, the second player to accomplish this feat in 15 years.
After three-straight 90-plus point seasons, hockey fans outside of North America would love an opportunity to watch Stamkos play in-person.
Going overseas would allow Stamkos to make some money, play some competitive hockey and increase his marketability in Europe.
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Eric Staal did not get off to a good start last season when he scored just 12 points in the first two months of the campaign.
Playing competitive hockey would help the Hurricanes captain be better prepared for an important 2012-13 season in Carolina.
Since none of his $8.5 million salary for the 2012-13 season is paid in bonuses, Staal might as well play overseas and earn some money to make up for the amount he has lost during the lockout.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty still has $50 million left on his current contract, but he won't receive any of his salary during the lockout due to the lack of bonuses in his deal.
To make some more money and boost his marketability overseas, Doughty should consider signing with an overseas club.
After an emotional Stanley Cup run during last year's NHL playoffs, Doughty is probably anxious to get back on the ice and start playing some meaningful games.
He's had plenty of time to rest after playing into mid-June last season, so he might as well get back into game shape to help avoid the Stanley Cup hangover when the lockout ends and the Kings' title defense begins.