New Jersey Devils European League Round-Up, Week 1

Which Devils are Abroad and where are they Playing?

It is the final week in September and the air is starting to chill, so your internal clock is telling you that your body should begin drinking warm beverages and frequenting hockey rinks to witness great NHL action. Unfortunately, the NHL and the NHLPA can't get to common ground and the lockout has cost the entire preseason. Therefore, I'll begin covering the Devils players who chose to travel to Europe to continue playing the sport they love. Continue on after the jump to see a list of New Jersey Devils playing abroad and what they're up to!

As of today, there are three Devils abroad.

Stats

Player

League

Team

GP

G

A

P

PIM

+/-

Ilya Kovalchuk

KHL

SKA St. Petersburg

1

0

1

1

0

1

Vladimir Zharkov

KHL

CSKA Moscow

7

1

0

1

0

-1

Marek Zidlicky

Czech Extraliga

HC Kladno

4

0

3

3

6

2

Kovalchuk and Zharkov both went home to Russia while Zidlicky went home to the Czech Republic. I feel good about these players' locations. They are in a familiar area and they most likely won't face any difficulty in adapting and becoming comfortable in their lifestyle there.

As for their quality of play, it is early in the season but Zidlicky is on a .75 points per game rate. Zharkov has one goal in seven games and Kovalchuk managed one assist in one game.

I can't comment on how they look on the ice, because I don't have access to live feeds of these games.

Notable Teammates

I thought it would be useful to detail the more significant members of the European teams in order to see what type of skill the Devils players are dealing with. Obviously, if they play with more skilled players, they are likely to ascertain new skills and may become better players.

CSKA Moscow

- Alexander Radulov

- Pavel Datsyuk

- Ilya Bryzgalov

SKA St. Petersburg

- Maxim Afinogenov

- Fedor Fedorov

HC Kladno

- Tomas Plekanec

- Jaromir Jagr (Team Owner)

- Tomas Kaberle

Which Devils May be Headed Abroad?

Martin Brodeur is currently mulling over the decision to play abroad. I would prefer if Marty didn't play abroad. He is over 4 decades old... he needs the rest.

David Clarkson isn't in a hurry to travel abroad.

Petr Sykora isn't "technically" a Devil as he is a UFA, but he isn't against heading to the Czech Republic if the lockout lasts into December. Since Sykora is a free agent, he would have to sign for a full season abroad.

Patrik Elias. Who knows, but if he gets hepatitis again, his career could be over!

Anton Volchenkov is rumored to be signing with CSKA in the near future.

Other European players left on the Devils: Dainius Zubrus, Henrik Tallinder, and Johan Hedberg could potentially head abroad if the work stoppage drags out.

Of course North American born player could head abroad if the lockout drags along as well. These players include: Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Travis Zajac, and Bryce Salvador.

Other Notes

Kovalchuk was named captain of SKA St. Petersburg. I think this is good because it will give Kovalchuk some time to feel out how to lead a team. Since Parise's departure, Kovalchuk will *most likely* become captain of the Devils, and what better way to practice leadership than with his countrymen who look up to him as a superstar and national figure.

As the season begins to unfold, I'll start adding video footage of significant plays and breakdown some of the more significant games involving the Devils players abroad.

As always, thanks for reading, even if the NHL and your team is locked out. If you'd like to follow the stats for these players, follow the links below. Also, the Czech site for HC Kladno is in Czech, so you need to translate the page, I would suggest Google Chrome.

HC Kladno

CSKA Moscow

SKA St. Petersburg

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