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4 Pittsburgh Penguins Spending the Lockout Overseas and How They're Skating

Brandon BurnettContributor IIIDecember 20, 2012

4 Pittsburgh Penguins Spending the Lockout Overseas and How They're Skating

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    There are only a handful of Pittsburgh Penguins spending their time during the NHL lockout overseas, but a couple of them have been busy dominating their respective competition. 

    Sidney Crosby has yet to commit to playing overseas, but Evgeni Malkin is one of four Penguins players who wasted no time in doing so. Dustin Jeffrey, Deryk Engelland and Tomas Vokoun are the others. 

    Malkin, currently lacing up the skates for the Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, is the only one playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, where numerous NHL stars have decided to take their talents. 

    Let's take a look at how these four Pens are performing overseas while we all sit around waiting for the NHL and NHLPA to settle their differences. 

Dustin Jeffrey

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    24-year-old center Dustin Jeffrey has been playing for Medvescak Zagreb in Austria. The Croatian-based team currently holds second place in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga. 

    Jeffrey is one of the team's leading scorers despite having played in just 20 of the club's 31 games thus far. He's notched 11 goals to go with 13 assists, scoring over a point per game. The former sixth-round draft pick is averaging more PPG than any other skater on the roster. 

    For Pittsburgh, Jeffrey has appeared in 51 games over the past two seasons, scoring 12 points in 2010-11 and seven a season ago.

    It is crucial for young skaters enduring the lockout to absorb as much live action as possible. Jeffrey certainly fits that description, and he's hard at work trying to earn an expanded role in the NHL when play resumes. 

Tomas Vokoun

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    The Pens traded for veteran netminder Tomas Vokoun in early June to serve as their backup goaltender in 2012-13. Since that isn't possible at the moment, the 36-year-old has returned home to stay sharp. 

    Vokoun's hometown is Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia. He supposedly returned there to join HC Karlovy Vary of the Czech Extraliga on Nov. 2. Multiple websites (including ESPN) note that Vokoun is playing with the team, but he's logged no ice time to this point. 

    The updates are few and far between, but Allan Walsh of Octagon Hockey tweeted Nov. 5 that Vokoun has no agreement with Karlovy Vary despite the team's announcement and no immediate plans to play in Europe. 

    OK, then. I suppose your guess as to what Vokoun is up to these days is as good as mine. With 14 years of NHL experience, one can only assume he'll be ready when his number is called, wherever it is called. 

Evgeni Malkin

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    To the surprise of no one, Evgeni Malkin is crushing it in the Kontinental Hockey League. 

    In 30 games for the Mettallurg Magnitogorsk, the 26-year-old superstar has 16 goals and 46 points. That's just a hair over 1.5 points per game. In fact, only one other KHL player, Sergei Mozyakin, has more points than Malkin. 

    Given the situation, the KHL is loaded with NHL players this winter, and a few notable names are playing with Malkin. Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto Maple Leafs), Ryan O'Reilly (Colorado Avalanche) and former teammate Sergei Gonchar (Ottawa Senators) just to name a couple. 

    Penguins fans would much rather see Malkin back in America, but it's at least somewhat comforting to see him performing so well overseas. 

Deryk Engelland

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    Despite being drafted back in 2000, defenseman Deryk Engelland failed to make his NHL debut until the 2009-10 season with Pittsburgh. 

    He appeared in nine games that season, but combined to play 136 regular season games over the past two years.

    Known for his physical style of play, Engelland is never hesitant to drop the gloves if the situation calls for it. He did cut down on the penalties last season, but piled up 123 penalty minutes over 63 games during the 2010-11 season. 

    That being considered, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the 30-year-old already has 43 penalty minutes in just 15 games with Rosenborg IHK Elite in Norway. What may come as a surprise, though, is that the blueliner has a goal and eight assists over that span. 

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