BUFFALO – Will more Sabres go overseas? Could some go back?
If the NHL lockout drags on, expect to see more players bolt for Europe. They desperately want to stay sharp. Some haven’t played games now in eight or nine months.
Of course, going overseas has its drawbacks. Most of the good leagues are filled up, leaving only second-tier (or lower) jobs available. Some leagues pay paltry salaries. Many teams are isolated. Some players leave their families, too.
For some, it’s just better to stay home and skate against NHL talent a few times a week.
But NHL players sign friendly contracts, so their European commitment’s minimal. Sabres defenseman Mike Weber just left Norway after playing only five games.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, Krefeld Penguins, DEL, Germany
The German has eight goals, 22 points, 26 penalty minutes and a plus-5 rating in 26 games. Ehrhoff compiled 10 goals and 27 points in 48 games when he played for Krefeld in 2002-03.
Center Tyler Ennis, SCL Tigers, National League A, Switzerland
Ennis finished his Swiss run with three goals, eight points and a minus-8 rating in 10 games. He recently returned home to have a shoulder injury re-evaluated. He’s fine, though, and has been skating with some other locked-out teammates. He can go back to the Tigers later if he wants.
Goalie Jhonas Enroth, Altuma, Allsvenskan, Sweden
Enroth, who made only seven NHL appearances after Jan. 1 last season, has a 2.92 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in nine games. He posted a 2.50 goals-against average and .888 save percentage in two earlier appearances with Huddinge IK, a low-level team in his native Sweden. He also made one appearance for his native Sweden in an international competition.
Defenseman Tyler Myers, Klagenfurter AC, Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, Austria
Little’s known about an ankle injury Myers suffered earlier this month, although it’s not believed to be serious. Myers, the 2009-10 Calder Trophy winner, has just two goals, nine points, 30 penalty minutes and a minus-8 rating in 16 appearances.
Winger Jason Pominville, Mannheim Eagles, DEL, Germany
So far, with four goals and five points just four games into his run, Pominville’s dominating he DEL. The Sabres captain goes on long point bonanzas in the NHL, so perhaps he’s only getting started.
Former Sabres forward Jochen Hecht, a Mannheim native, recently joined Pominville on the Eagles, his old team. He already has three assists in two games.
Defenseman Andrej Sekera, Bratislava Slovana, KHL, Slovakia
Sekera has three goals, 10 points, two penalty minutes and an even rating in 18 games.
Defenseman Alexander Suzler, Ingolstadt ERC, DEL, Germany
The German has two goals, 13 points, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 rating in 17 games. Sulzer had four goals and 15 points in 44 games when he played for the DEL’s DEG Metro Stars in 2006-07.
Winger Thomas Vanek, Graz 99ers, Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, Austria
Vanek, who returned home from his native Austria in November, finished with five goals, 15 points, four penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating in 11 games.
Defenseman Mike Weber, Lorenskog, Norway
Before returning home last week, Weber showcased some rare offensive flash in Norway, compiling one goal, six points, 10 penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating in five appearances.