You’ll have to excuse the pessimism. But with the NHL officially set to lock out at the end of this week, barring some sort of miracle, it’s time to start monitoring where some of the bigger names around the league could end up.
One of those names is Philadelphia Flyers star forward Claude Giroux.
Giroux has already said that he will play elsewhere should the league head to another lockout. As with any player in the league, the options are probably going to come down to somewhere in Europe or over in the KHL in Russia. According to his goaltender, the KHL is a choice we can quickly eliminate.
Apparently Giroux has a fear of Russia. As Ilya Bryzgalov told Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy:
“Claude says ‘I have one friend who played in Russia. But he was kicked out from the club without paying. Hockey players in the KHL are absolutely unprotected.’ Canadians listened to different stories about our country from their friends. And it is difficult for me to argue because I have never been in these types of situations.”
So we can effectively eliminate Russia. Somewhere in Europe is much more likely. One place that could be a possibility is over in Finland, with SM-liiga. Teammates Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen are part owners of Kalpa, so that could be a possibility for him. That’s pure speculation, though.
Ultimately, we won’t really know where, or even if, NHL players plan to start leaving for other leagues for at least another week or so. It depends on how talks go over the next couple of days and whether or not the players feel a lockout would be long enough to even look into playing overseas.
But you know that they’re at least putting some thought into it at this point.