The NHL has officially cancelled the pre-season and with many high profile players packing up and moving to Europe, the future of the NHL is cloudy at best. That being said, if you have the ability to place a wager on betting websites, be sure to watch the KHL or other European leagues this winter as it should be a great year for hockey. Some players will be able to make close to their original salaries, with the their job here in North America perfectly safe.
However, there are some other players who should be worried about their future. There is an abundance of talent in Europe, and a second class NHL player will not necessarily be on a team overseas. This holds very true for a lot of second year players who need to prove their worth here in the NHL. Players such as Brayden Schenn, Jake Gardiner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all had great rookie years, but you can bet that their place on a European squad is far from guaranteed.
So who does have a place on a European hockey team this season? Well, there are superstars such as Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Jaromir Jagr have already signed to play abroad; there will be a few others going as well. In fact, according to online sports books, during the 2004-2005 lock out over 400 players (half of the NHL) went to play overseas.
Now that many players are finding other playing options, what will happen if the season does resume sooner rather than later? For one, betting on the NHL will be interesting as the dynamics of many teams could be completely changed. The road to the Stanley Cup may be a lot easier with many stars in contracts that require them to stay overseas. Another factor will be teams who did not do serious renovations to their teams this summer. Teams like the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins had a pretty uneventful summer and should be able to jump right back into the regular season.
Also, rookies who would not normally be given a big role will be able to fill the roster holes left by the starters who may have gone overseas. Players like Chris Kreider who had an excellent post-season with the New York Rangers will be given a big role come the start of next season. It will also be a great chance for second year players to cement themselves on a roster for years to come as they will be able to prove that their rookie season was not their best.
With so many committing to hockey teams in Europe, it is clear that the NHL lockout will not be ending any time soon. But it is always a good idea to stay optimistic and keep your hockey rosters on hand if the season starts after all. The basic issue is that the players are getting too much revenue compared to other professional leagues and the owners are not putting up with it anymore. Whether this is the owners being greedy, or the players being unreasonable is your opinion. However, at the end of the day the league will lose billions of dollars thanks to the lockout. It will be interesting to see how these players perform overseas, or better yet, how each team can organize themselves for a regular season start later this year.
Read more here to keep up to date on the latest NHL lockout news.