New Jersey Devils European League Roundup: Week 5

Jim McIsaac

Kovalchuk is scoring at an increasing rate, Clarkson goes to Austria, and Volchenkov breaks his foot.

Another week, another botched week of negotiating for the NHL and NHLPA. As the NHL continues to lockout the players, the players continue to show them that there is demand for their talents in other leagues around the world. I will do on to talk about the recent new Devils going abroad but would like to give you some food for thought about the lockout. Imagine that the NHL locks out for a full year and top tier players begin to sign deals to stay in other leagues... Would the NHL really be a premier league anymore? Imagine the loss in competitive balance the league would face... Anyways, here's the Devils abroad news for the week.

The Newcomer

David Clarkson, a burgeoning star, has left for the EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Bundesliga. Clarkson had a breakout season last year with 30 goals and almost 50 points. I'm not sure how I feel about Clarkson going abroad. On one hand, its good that Clarkson is continuing to play after a phenomenal season. On the other hand, I hate to see him change leagues and possibly change his style of play to fit the Bundesliga.

The Injury

Anton Volchenkov has fractured his ankle... sigh. Volchenkov will be out up to six weeks. This is never good news, but its not that bad considering the NHL will most likely be locked out for all six of those weeks. Hopefully Volchenkov will heal without any complications.

The Superstar

Ilya Kovalchuk played two games this week and picked up another goal and another assist. Kovalchuk has 20 points through 12 games. Or 1.66 points per game. In Kovalchuk's lifetime ppg in the NHL is 1.01. There could be several explanations for this. The first explanation would be that the KHL does not have the same caliber players as the NHL. The second is that Kovalchuk is on fire. Time will tell if Kovalchuk can sustain this level of play, but it seems possible given what we've seen through 12 games.


The other Devil Succeeding in Europe

Marek Zidlicky picked up a goal and 3 assists in 3 games... Impressive. Zidlicky continues to succeed expectations in the Czech Extraliga. However, Zidlicky continues to pile on the penalty minutes. He has 18 PIM through 13 games. A trend I hope decreases because penalties could be due to dirty plays... which may lead to an injury. If he is tripping or hooking a lot, that could just be him adjusting to the bigger ice surface. However, if he is getting in fights or hitting dirty, it could lead to an injury.

Others

Vladimir Zharkov isn't benefitting from playing in the KHL. Zharkov has played 17 games so far this season and only has two goals to show for it. He also has a minus 5 and two penalty minutes. Not sure what's not going well for Zharkov, but he needs to prove himself if he ever hopes to make an NHL team. Finally, Artur Gavrus picked up two assists in one game this week.

Stats

Player League Team GP G A P PIM +/-
Ilya Kovalchuk KHL SKA St. Petersburg 12 7 13 20 4 12
Vadimir Zharkov KHL CSKA Moscow 17 2 0 2 2 -4
Marek Zidlicky Czech Extraliga HC Kladno 13 1 9 10 18 6
Anton Volchenkov KHL Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 3 0 0 0 4 -2
Artur Gavrus Belarus HC Neman 2 0 3 3 0 1
David Clarkson Bundesliga EC Red Bull Salzburg 0 0 0 0 0 0

Now that you've seen what the Devils who are playing abroad have been up to, do you think more Devils are headed abroad? How do you feel about Volchenkov breaking his ankle while playing abroad? Will Kovalchuk continue his scoring streak? Thanks for reading everyone, lets hope this lockout ends sometime this year!

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