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So who really leaves for the KHL?


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mXVPxp8NjbG0wriOFd2acmQ.jpg A lot of folks seem to get annoyed that NHL players or the borderline ones leave to go play in Europe. I personally think it is a misconception of who actually goes over, based off of Kovalchuk, the Kostitsyn boys and Radulov. The truth is so far from these few. Here is a fair sampling of the players who have left for Europe so far this offseason:


Jussi Rynnas: mP7pcB9EoB5sOoJDoKRbAJA.jpg Failed now in two trials in the NHL returns likely for good to Europe.

Benn Ferriero: 28 year old who had cups of coffee with three teams in the NHL, was awful with the Chicago Wolves last year, signed with Salzburg.


Ryan Potulny: 31 year old, played 126 games in the NHL with 4 teams last in the NHL 4 years ago, signed with the KHL.


Casey Wellman: Once a decent prospect with the Wild, career came unstuck, only 13 games in the NHL over past 3 years. Signed in KHL.


Andrew Gordon: 30 year old has 53 NHL games over 5 seasons with 3 teams. Signed in KHL.


T.J. Galiardi: The big signee for Europe this year the 27 year old has spent 7 years in the NHL last year with the Jets, with only 1 goal in 38 games and a lot of time in the press box as a healthy scratch. Signed with the KHL.


Pete Regin, Brendan Mikkelson, Derek Meech, John Persson, Alexandre Bolduc, Tim Kennedy, all names that might be recognized by the most diehard of fans only have all left for the richer pastures of Europe.


 Part of it is money, most of these guys sign two way contracts that might pay them 7 or 8 hundred K a year for their time in the NHL, but 'only' two hundred grand or a bit more in the AHL. They usually sign for roughly a half a million dollars a year to play in Europe, (euro teams do not release salaries) sometimes less, depending on the quality of the league.


 Part of it, in many cases the deciding factor is the desire to keep playing the game that they love, the AHL rules dictate that 13 players have to have 260 or less professional games under their belt. So in short, there are jobs for at most 5 grizzled minor league vets. It is a way of making the league a development league.


 So a guy like Ferriero who came off a bad year, a Derek Meech who is unsure if he is going to land a job next year as a rule scramble to the safety of Europe.

 For the most part, once gone they are forgotten. Occasionally you get one of these guys who comes back, a Leo Komarov in Toronto for instance but as a rule when they go you can forget them for good. Not much call for an undersized Chris Conner or an outcry for his return.


Many of these guys stick around in Europe for the love of the game, not as a cash grab. Most know that by going over they are killing any chance they will ever have of appearing in the NHL again. Money plays a factor but not as much as a chance to keep playing the game for a few more years.

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Well, @yave1964 , before all this financial mess came about with the KHL, I would have said that players who were a just a cut or two below what the NHL looks for would go play in Russia to either fine tune their game then make their way back, or in the case of many European players, simply be closer to home and be regarded a bit higher than they would as an NHL'er.


Or if you are a guy with very high talent AND you are European, you can go over to the K and live like a rock star basically....being THE guy over there as opposed to being one of several in North America.

Heck, for awhile, it looked like the KHL would be poised to steal away much MORE high end talent to truly make their league an equal to the NHL.


But now with the money issues, among other things, going on with that league, I am not too sure why a player would go over there, unless if was for, like you had mentioned, simply for the love of the game.

Where a player will be a regular doing what he loves, as opposed to staying in North America and be a part timer at what he loves.


Truth be told, I was quietly rooting for the KHL (and the Finnish Liiga, Swedish Elit, Czech Extraliga for that matter) to do well because I thought that would help push the NHL itself into higher standards if they see other top leagues approaching the quality of not only the players they have, but the on-ice product.

We all know how complacency can set in with ANY business if they are the 'only game in town', which had been the case for decades prior to recent seasons when leagues in Europe, the KHL being primary, were attracting away talent.


Still though, I just don't know who would willingly go over to the K now, other than guy's trying to extend careers, be closer to home, or jump start one that never really got going in North America to begin with.


Many of the names you mentioned either are "Who??" or guys whom I agree, we likely won't hear from again in the West.

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@yave1964  Did the "great" Ryan Potluny just sign with the KHL, cause his stats show 25 games with the AHL's Hartford Wolfpack, but no other teams this year. If Ryan is signed with the KHL for next year and gets double digit goals, the league should fold out of embarassment. Actually they should already fold because Patrick Thoreson (the one balled wonder) never got more than 5 pts with the Flyers, but was a top 10 scorer in the KHL....that leauge must be TERRIBLE.



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