NHL Stars' European DominationThursday, November 29, 2012
NHL Stars' European Domination
by Mitch Goldenberg
The NHL and its players association may be talking, but based on their slow progress, it seems they are speaking totally different languages. Here’s a look at a handful of players making plenty of progress playing in their newfound hometowns where foreign languages are the norm.
John Tavares has improved each and every season as a professional hockey player, and this season in Switzerland has been no exception to this trend. With 10 goals and 15 assists in just 17 games, the former first overall pick has hit superstar status with over a point-per-game pace in the competitive Swiss elite league. Finally playing on a good team instead of the lowly Islanders, Tavares is a +6 and a big reason why SC Berne is just three points out of second place.
Erik Karlsson has picked up in the Finland’s SM-liiga right where he left of in the NHL; he is the league’s top defenceman. The speedy Swede with extremely potent offensive abilities has been a blessing on the blueline for Jokerit Helsinki. So far, he’s racked up 18 points in 21 games and is a +12. At just 22 years old, he is poised to enjoy a Nick Lindstrom type career.
Claude Giroux could not be stopped by NHL defences last year, so it’s not that surprising he’s been torching the Germans with 19 points in his first nine games for Berlin. Their only hope of slowing down the dynamic centre probably involves tinkering with his pregame bratwurst sausages. But even if Giroux is contained, Flyers teammate Danny Briere has his back. Briere has notched 23 points in 13 games.
Pavel Datsyk seems just as comfortable in Moscow as he did in Detroit. With 26 points in 21 games, the gifted veteran is showing no signs of slowing down at age 34. As a matter of fact, he’s faring better than he did as a 26 year-old playing in the KHL during the 2004-05 lockout!
Semyon Varlomov ditched the NHL for Russia well before the lockout, but it should be noted he’s quite the valued commodity in his homeland. Through 12 games, the former Capital’s netminder is 7-2-3 with a 1.63 goals against average and a league leading .951 save percentage. Playing for the rebuilding Lokomotiv franchise that suffered the heartbreaking loss of 37 players and coaches in the tragic 2011 plane crash, Varlomov has the team fighting for first place in the KHL’s Western Conference. Don't forget to buy the amazing Rotoworld NHL Draft Guide. It will help you achieve fantasy league dominance!