We haven’t even hit 2019 yet, but plenty of NHL eyes are already on the potential 2020 NHL lockout.
We’ve seen it in more than a few contracts, as players are taking bonus-laden payouts to essentially “lockout-proof” their deals. It’s always a good sign when the league is basically like “yeah it’s probably going to happen again,” isn’t it? Fun for everyone!
One group that stands to benefit from an NHL lockout is the European leagues, including the KHL in Russia, SM-Liiga in Finland and others.
It appears, according to Aivis Kalniņš (who is as plugged in as it gets when it comes to KHL stuff), that KHL teams are already jockeying for NHL stars, including one of the Bruins’ brightest:
CSKA Moscow have reportedly acquired rights for Sebastian Aho, David Pastrnak and Joel Armia. These are all moves made for a potential lockout in 2020.— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) December 27, 2018
Not a bad group there!
What does this actually mean? Nothing, really. The KHL drafts and signs rights to players all of the time, giving them dibs on the player if he ever elects to play in Russia.
It’s not all that different from the CHL drafting European kids who may or may not play in Canadian junior hockey.
The upside for the KHL teams, obviously, is huge: it’s essentially a low-risk, high-reward play, as any of those three choosing to come to Russia during the lockout would be great for the team.
Does this mean David Pastrnak will be playing in Moscow during the lockout? No, not really. It just means that without another move, he can’t play for another KHL team during the lockout.
He could still play in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, etc.
Two things about this are actually interesting: it’s clear that Pastrnak is a desirable talent overseas, and it’s clear that the KHL thinks another NHL lockout is coming.
One of those is great for Bruins fans (always good to have good players), and the other...not so much.
If you remember, plenty of Bruins headed overseas back in 2012: Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin played in Switzerland, Andrew Ference played in the Czech Republic and Tuukka Rask played in Finland.
Here’s to hoping, for all of our sakes, that a lockout can be avoided this time around and that Pastrnak isn’t bound for the KHL any time soon.