NHL stars begin to sign overseas

When the clock struck midnight on Sept. 16, the NHL officially entered its second lockout in the new millennium.

In response, some of the NHL’s biggest stars are signing contracts to play overseas.

On Monday, it was announced that Ilya Kovalchuk will play for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League, according to ESPN.  Kovalchuk is not expected to start playing with the team until Sept. 23.

The Russian winger is the latest player to sign overseas, following Ottawa Senators’ defenseman Sergei Gonchar and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin.  The Associated Press reports that both Gonchar and the reigning MVP have signed contracts with Mettalburg, also part of the KHL.

ESPN reports that other players, such as Jaromir Jagr, Lubomir Visnovsky and Mark Streit have also all signed with European clubs.

Most of these contracts do include opt-out clauses, according to ESPN, so players may rejoin their NHL teams when the lockout comes to an end.  However, it is unclear when the lockout will end though, as both sides remain far apart on economic issues.

The NHL season is scheduled to start Oct. 11.

Categories: Hockey