Whether the NHLPA and the NHL are meeting isn’t relevant, but what is relevant is the fact it is hockey season. Coaches, owners, players and fans are all eagerly awaiting to see what happens next in the ever revolving door that is the NHL 2012 lockout. One thing is for certain fans will go elsewhere to get their hockey fix, whether it is from the AHL, CHL or even the KHL. Players are no exception.
These athletes have trained their whole lives to play the game they love, not to wait and see what happens. And this is why so many NHLers are heading overseas to play, and for some it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with money, but rather a love for the game. All NHL teams are being affected by players going elsewhere and the Winnipeg Jets are no exception.
According to recent posting by TSN.ca the Winnipeg Jets have four players playing overseas, one in the AHL, and another in the OHL. All these players were expected to be on the Jets starting lineup or at least fighting for a shot for a spot on the big team.
Jets centre Nik Antropov and wingers Evander Kane and Alexi Ponikarovsky have all recently signed contracts to play in the KHL.
The 32 year old Antropov, who is a former first round draft pick signed with Barys Astana. He scored 15 goals and added 20 helpers last season with the Jets.
Ponikarovsky scored 33 points last season which was split between the Kings and the Devils. He has signed with HC Donbass for the duration of the lockout.
As for Evander Kane who just signed a six year extension with the Jets, he will be playing for Dinamo Minsk. Kane will be on the same team as goaltender Pekka Rinne and centre Joe Pavelski. Kane scored 57 points last season with the Jets.
Meanwhile goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has agreed to play in the Czech Republic. Pavelec was the workhorse for the Jets last season winning 29 games.
20 year old Alexander Burmistrov who tallied 28 points last season is now playing for St. John’s in the American Hockey League.
The Jets number one draft pick Mark Scheifele is back with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Barrie Colts.
It was also reported that Jets captain Andrew Ladd had agreed to play in the KHL. Ladd who scored 50 points last season, never officially signed the deal and decided to stay in Winnipeg with his family.
It won’t be surprising to see more players decide to play elsewhere depending on how long the lockout last. This is a shame for the Winnipeg faithful who just got their team back last season after fifteen long Jet-less seasons.