NHL players looking for a reprieve from a potential lockout in 2012-13 might not have the ability to run off to Sweden's top league. Elitserien (or the Swedish Elite League) officials will not allow NHL players to sign short-term contracts with their teams for the upcoming season, according to a report from Jatkoaika.com, a Finnish hockey publication.
Only full-season contracts will be allowed, a stipulation that could scare off NHL players who believe the impending lockout may not force the cancellation of the entire 2012-13 NHL year. On the flip side, several prominent Swedish-born players have already voiced their intentions on playing in Elitserien during a potential lockout. If players like the Sedin twins follow through with those plans, the NHL could lose some of its top talent whenever play does begin in 2012-13.
During the NHL lockout in 2004-05, roughly 70 or 80 NHL players made their way over to Sweden to play hockey, but the majority of those contracts featured out-clauses that would have allowed players to leave in the event the lockout was resolved midseason. It wasn't, as we all know, and those players wound up playing the entire year in Sweden.
Most of the NHL talent playing in Elitserien that season were of Swedish decent, but several North American-born players ended up in there as well. American-born NHL veteran Mike Knuble led the league that season with 26 goals while Canadian-born Shawn Horcoff and Brendan Morrison also found their way onto the leaderboard.
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