The NHL lockout has begun in earnest, and with it, many of the league's foreign players including Evgeni Malkin have officially begun to seek playing options until the labor dispute ends.
The most prominent player headed abroad is a very prominent one indeed in Malkin, the 2012 MVP and scoring leader. The Pittsburgh Penguins star will play for Mettalurg in the Kontinental Hockey League primarily based on Russia, the team for which Malkin began his career. He'll be joined on Mettalurg by Sergei Gonchar of the Ottawa Senators. The KHL will also be home to Pavel Datsyuk from the Red Wings, who will play with Ak Bars Kazan, and Ruslan Fedotenko of the Flyers, who will play with Donetsk. Jaromir Jagr will return home to the Czech Republic to play with Kladno, a team he owns in part, while Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets will also play in the Czech league for HC Trinec.
The ability to earn money playing abroad provides a valuable bargaining chip for the players as well as ice time in high-level leagues, in addition to the added bonus of being able to play on one's home continent as opposed to half a world away. We will only hear of more and more players spending time in other leagues as the lockout progresses.