Little work for NHL goalies overseas
Senators goalie Craig Anderson would like to play in Europe during the NHL lockout, but can find any takers so far. (File photo)
Craig Anderson is going to have to practise patience.
While NHL players continue to flock overseas with the lockout heading into its second week, there haven’t been any goalies that have made the jump and they may be the ones who have the toughest time finding work in the next few months.
While forwards and defencemen aren’t having any trouble landing deals, only Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who is set to join Frolunda in Sweden, and Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets, with Liberec of the Czech Extraliga have spots locked up in Europe.
For the rest, like Anderson, it’s a waiting game because teams in Europe aren’t sure they want to give up one of their import roster spots to a goalie. Then, there’s the matter making sure they’ve got insurance in place.
“It’s not just a matter of finding a job ... it’s a matter of finding a job and making sure that the player is protected now and in the future,” Anderson’s agent, Justin Duberman, said from his Chicago office Saturday.
“There is a lot of risk in going over. There’s a lot of great things about going over as well from a hockey standpoint, but you have to make sure you protect yourself from an insurance standpoint to make sure it’s a great opportunity.”
With three years and $10 million left on the deal he signed with the Senators in March, 2011, Anderson can’t just jump at the first offer he gets to ply his trade elsewhere.
If you look around, he’s not the only goalie in this position. Nobody has signed goalie Jonathan Quick, who led the Kings to the Stanley Cup. Montreal’s Carey Price is skating with his teammates in Brossard.
“I can’t speak for the other goalies, but I’ve been looking at this situation for the last six weeks and trying to put a Plan B in place,” said Duberman. “There’s just not a lot of jobs out there right now for goalies. When teams were signing during the free agency in Europe, they weren’t planning for a lockout.
“There were a couple of teams in Switzerland that left some import spots open that would have already been filled just in case they could sign an NHL forward or defenceman. For the goalie position, teams really don’t operate that way. That’s been a big challenge.”
Duberman said getting a deal done in Europe isn’t a big issue because there isn’t a bidding war taking place. Instead, it’s trying to make sure that if Anderson, 31, is going to play, he’s not going to do so by putting his contract at risk.
“As you get older, the disability rates get higher. It gets expensive, and I mean it gets really expensive,” said Duberman. “The game all changed when players started getting career-ending injuries or concussions.
“If you’re an established NHL player and you’ve got another contract or two coming your way, you’ve got to be careful by protecting yourself against future earnings. You’d be foolish not to do that.”
Duberman said he has spoken to most teams in Europe about Anderson.
“I know a lot of guys went over quickly, but there hasn’t been any import goalies and I think that kind of shows you what the marketplace is bringing over there. There’s not a lot of opportunities,” said Duberman.