As the lockout continues on with no foreseeable resolution in the near future, hundreds of NHL players remain unemployed. The players who are eligible have been optioned to their respective minor league teams.
For the Philadelphia Flyers, these players include Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Eric Wellwood, Zac Rinaldo, and Erik Gustafsson who will be playing with the Adirondack Phantoms.
Many veteran players have resorted to signing overseas in Europe and Russia to play. Most notably, 2011-2012 NHL points leader Evgeni Malkin has signed with KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Detroit superstar Pavel Datsyuk has also signed in the KHL with CSKA Moskva.
To date, only four Flyers have signed overseas. Starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has signed in the KHL with Datsyuk for CSKA Moskva. Right winger Jakub Voracek has also signed in the KHL with HC Lev Praha alongside Calgary’s Jiri Hudler. Last, but certainly not least, offseason signing Ruslan Fedetenko has signed with the KHL’s Donbass Donetsk. Also playing for Donbass Donetsk are Winnipeg Jet’s winger Alexei Ponikarovsky and former Flyers’ defenseman Oskars Bartulis. Bartulis’ contract was bought out by the Flyers at the beginning of the offseason at the end of June.
The most recent Flyer to sign overseas is Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds signed with ETC Crimmitschau of the German Division 2 Bundesliga. He will be playing with his friend Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues.
It is possible that Flyers such as Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, and Nicklas Grossmann will seek deals from teams in their native countries. It will be interesting to see if NHL 13 cover winner Claude Giroux will seek a deal from a big name club overseas as well.
It is also likely that some players around the league may organize games around Canada and the United States. There is talk that Flyers forward Max Talbot and defenseman Bruno Gervais will do so in their native Quebec. One thing is certain: as long as the lockout continues, many players will continue to look elsewhere for work.