Seguin played 29 games for EHC Biel this lockout. - Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
With 11 players in Europe the Bruins were one of the most well-traveled groups of NHL players during this lockout.
From Switzerland to Finland, Prague to Moscow, Bruins players got their shifts in during this lockout. But how well did they actually do, and did the quality of the league they played in factor into their success?
Let's start with the obvious: Tyler Seguin, playing for EHC Biel in the Swiss-A League. Seguin appeared in 29 games for Biel and instantly became a fan favorite over there - especially while playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Jacob MicFlikier. He put up 25 goals and 15 assists for a total of 40 points, taking over the title of leading scorer for the club. Biel is not a great team, even for the Swiss league - they've only won 17 of their 37 games so far, are ranked 9th out of the league's 12 teams, and were drastically outscored in multiple games - making Seguin's -2 through 29 games a non-issue (reuniting him with Bergeron and Boston's solid defense should repair that). Will Seguin's success carry over to the NHL? Likely - 29 games abroad should have kept him in game shape.
Patrice Bergeron saw similar success in the Swiss-A League playing for HC Lugano, scoring 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points through 21 games - a greater-than-1-PPG pace, which is a theme for our NHL forwards in Europe. Bergeron's team included old friend Glen Metropolit, and are currently ranked 8th out of the Swiss-A League's 12 teams. So, again - not a great team, not a fantastic league - but the 21 games should have kept Bergeron in game shape for when games start up again in two weeks.
David Krejci played for HC Pardubice during the lockout, a team in the Czech Republic's Extraliga. He appeared in 24 games, and as of the time of his departure was ranked third on the team in total points. He had 16 goals (tied for first on the team) and 11 assists for 27 points, again a greater-than-1-PPG scoring pace. Interestingly enough, this is the first time in his career that Krejci has had more goals than assists - could we be seeing the start of a more selfish, goal-scoring Krejci in the NHL? Probably not, but time will tell.
One of two Bruins players to appear in the Finnish SM-liiga was Rich Peverley, who appeared in 29 games for JyP Jyvaskyla, a team that actually has an affiliation with the Boston Bruins. Peverley scored 9 goals and had 14 assists for JyP. The SM-liiga is considered the second-strongest European league, so despite his lower numbers, Peverley's experience in Finland will likely carry over into a strong season in the NHL. His total games played by the end of the regular season will, like Seguin, be closest to as if he'd played an actual 82-game season, as well.
The final forward in Europe was Daniel Paille, who played for the SM-liiga's Ilves Tampere, albeit only for a month. Paille headed to Finland on December 3rd and appeared in nine games for Ilves, scoring two goals and six assists. Through his few games, Paille has still managed to lead the team in plus-minus as one of two plus-rated players; by comparison, Max Talbot, also playing for Ilves, was a -4 through 12 games.
Of the six defensemen who will likely start the season on the Bruins' blue line, five played hockey in Europe during the lockout. Granted, only four played professionally - Dougie Hamilton in World Juniors in Ufa, Russia is sort of a technicality, I guess.
Zdeno Chara should be in top game shape after playing 25 games for the world's second best league, the Kontinental Hockey League, as part of the Czech Republic's team Lev Praha. While sharing the ice with the NHL's Jakub Voracek and Marcel "the Lesser" Hossa, Chara put up four goals and six assists for a total of 10 points through 25 games. Probably the saddest part of the end of the lockout is the fact that were the lockout to continue, Chara would have played on one of the KHL's All-Star teams - and we finally would have gotten to see who has the ACTUAL hardest shot in the world - Chara or Alexander Ryazantsev.
While Chara toiled away in the KHL, Andrew Ference had the opportunity to watch some of Chara's games, as he was playing for Ceske Budejovice, in the Czech Extraliga. Ceske Budejovice was the club for whom he played during the last lockout. Through 21 games Ference had two goals and five assists, and played with NHLers Vinny Prospal, Martin Hanzal, Milan Michalek, and Ales Kotalik.
The only player to play in the German league was Dennis Seidenberg, who played for Adler Mannheim in 26 games. He had two goals and 18 assists for 20 points - strangely, the same number of assists he had through all eighty games last year. Hmmm.
Johnny Boychuk did a short stint in the Austrian League for Red Bull Salzberg, playing with a pair of Blue Jackets - Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard. David Clarkson and Rob Schremp played there for a short time, as well. Boychuk scored two goals and had six assists for eight points in 15 games, and appeared to be pretty solid defensively.
Tuukka Rask's team faced off against David Krejci and Andrew Ference's teams in the Czech league while he playedfor HC Plzen. Although he suffered a minor leg injury while playing there, Rask still managed a 1.85 GAA and 0.936 GAA through eight games. It's been said that the ideal workload for Rask is 55-60 games - if you consider that he's only spent eight of those so far, this 48-game season could be awesome in goal for the Bruins.
Rask's backup, Anton Khudobin, played 26 games for Atlant Moscow Region, on the other hand, which is the majority of the games for that team so far this season. Atlant has struggled, only winning six of the games in which Khudobin started - his record is 6-14-4. His GAA is 2.96, and save percentage 0.912 - expect to see him start games in the NHL only to spell Rask, at least unless he proves he can play better behind an NHL team on NHL-sized ice.