Thursday, May 1, 2008

Czechs out of IIHF agreement, outlook bad

Chaos! It will be chaos! You think your NHL team has a player signed for the whole season? Well not so fast. He could be skipping the continent at any time. And vice versa. There will be more Freddy Brathwaites this year as it won't just be Russia who makes their own rules.

From the Hockey News:
The Czech Ice Hockey Association has decided not to sign the IIHF’s player transfer deal with the NHL after the 14 hockey clubs in the Czech Extraliga voted in favor of ending the current deal immediately. This likely means there will be no regulations surrounding the transfer of players between the European teams and the NHL next season.

The NHL is unlikely to sign an agreement with just five countries, meaning it will be a free-for-all across Europe.

These developments will surely have consequences for the upcoming NHL entry draft as well. Teams do not want to waste picks on players who they may have trouble bringing over. Especially high picks.

It won't mean teams need to scout Europe any less, it just means they need to do it smarter, with an ear on who wants to jump, and an eye on older players. It's a brave new world.

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