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NHL Rumors: More Potential Swedish Pickups

Keaton Ellerby could be an ideal pickup for a Swedish team because he would cost less to insure. Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

When Sweden’s Konkurrensverket (KKV, or the Swedish Competition Authority, which oversees competitive businesses of all kinds) ruled that it was illegal to bar NHL players from joining Elitserien during the NHL lockout, that opened the doors for players to sign with Sweden’s top league. Two have already done so: Alexander Steen and Matt Duchene.

Now, there is speculation that a few different players from different teams and positions may choose to go to Sweden.

The Swedish Aftonbladet newspaper theorized that Andrew Ladd, Tyler Myers, Karl Alzner, Ray Emery, Keaton Ellerby, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane and Claude Giroux could all find temporary work in the Elitserien.

Two of those players, Ladd and Giroux, have already found teams elsewhere–Ladd in Russia, Giroux in Germany–but the other aforementioned players are still on the table.

Aftonbladet noted that the list includes superstars like two first overall draft picks in Johnson and Kane, but also players who might be cheaper to insure, like Ellerby. The cost of picking up NHL players can often be very high for European teams. For example, the Swiss HC Lugano had to ask for outside donations, much like PBS does, to help raise funds for getting Patrice Bergeron.

Peter Werner, the CAA agent who helped get Duchene and Anze Kopitar into Sweden, said that Elitserien and Allsvenskan (the second-tier league, which had always been open to accepting NHL players) are leagues with good reputations.

Werner said that the Swedish leagues are also pretty safe and that it’s important that his clients don’t get robbed on their way home from games. (That does seem pretty useful.) He added that some teams are in negotiations right now, but wouldn’t disclose further details.