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Thread: European players in the NHL 2011-12

  1. #1
    IHF Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Winterthur, Switzerland

    European players in the NHL 2011-12

    Apologies if this is being discussed elsewhere in the forum, but I didn't see it and don't know where it would fit.

    The IIHF has just published the statistics on the European NHL players during last season:

    The trend of declining numbers of Europeans is continued, and has reached the lowest point since the 1998-99 season. In terms of rookies, it is even "worse"; the 124 European rookies is the lowest since the 1989-90 season!

    The only major nation opposing this trend is Sweden, with a steady increase of NHL players.

    How do you see this development? Are the European players not good enough anymore? Or has the NHL lost some of its appeal for European players so that they prefer to stay in Europe? And how much has the KHL to do with this?

  2. #2
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I think that what we're seeing is just natural balancing, and the strengthening of American hockey.
    American players are getting not just better, but there are more talented players than in the past, and these guys are taking mostly depth positions from European players. So basically there's less Euros on the 3rd and 4th lines, with more Canadians and especially Americans filling those roles.
    Also, top Euro leagues pay better than they did in the past I believe, which allows those depth guys who might spend half their year in the minors to stay home and make just as good money while playing in a better league.
    Lastly, I think that many NHL teams are buying into the notion that young European players will often develop better by playing in elite European leagues rather than the AHL, and allowing them to stay there until they're actually NHL ready. So you see less guys playing in the AHL, getting called up for one game and that's it.

  3. #3
    IHF Member Stolpskott's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    21 euro rookies, 12 of them swedes. wow.

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