Fans of the Lake Erie Monsters could be in for a treat, if the NHL lockout proceeds (and it will). NHL rookie of the year Gabriel Landeskog could very well play for the AHL Monsters should a lockout drag on (and it will). Along with Landeskog, fans in Cleveland also may see a lot of Stefan Elliot and Tyson Barrie this year – although they probably would have seen them a lot anyway.
But Landeskog is the main attraction for Lake Erie management. Here’s why No. 92 could be in Cleveland soon:
- Because the Swedish League, where the native Swede might have played should a lockout occur, declared in August that it won’t allow “rental” players from the NHL to play there this year. The only exception to that rule is if NHL players sign a one-year contract with no “opt-out” clause. And the full NHL season almost certainly wouldn’t be canceled until January or February – and there is a Jan. 31 “transfer agreement” date in place anyway, for players to make up their mind which continent they want to play on for a season.
Sure, Landeskog could sign with a KHL team or a pro league in several other countries – and he might well do that if the price is right. But not having the Swedish League as a realistic option probably lowers the chances of him wanting to play in Europe.
(As a general rule, only players in their “first” contracts can be assigned to AHL teams without waivers. That means the Avs are free to send him to LE if they want without fear of losing him. They can’t, therefore, send players such as Matt Duchene or Ryan O’Reilly to LE, because their first contracts have expired. This is the “general rule” description. There are technical factors in other situations that could allow a second-contract player to be sent to the minors, but it’s too long to get into here and rarely happens).
- Because if he does play in Sweden or any other European league, Landeskog will have to take out a heavy personal insurance policy – or negotiate one with his temporary? new team. When an NHL player signs with a European team, they generally have to take out expensive personal insurance plans in case they get hurt. For most players, that’s not a huge deal, expense-wise, but it’s a factor. If Landeskog were to play for Lake Erie and get seriously hurt, the Avalanche would be responsible for his medical bills.
- Because other players of his ilk are expected to play for their AHL teams during a lockout. The Edmonton Oilers have essentially said already that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for instance, will play for their affiliate in Oklahoma City during the lockout. It’s arguably a higher level of competition in at least one respect from European leagues: it’s a more regular schedule, in North American rink dimensions, against players who, on average, are closer to NHL caliber than the typical Euro league player.
All of those factors make it likely Landeskog will end up in Lake Erie during a lockout. Well, maybe the word isn’t “likely”, but more “sensible.” But money renders a lot of things senseless – including these CBA talks.