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Does anyone remember when the NHL had a huge european boom, and we were afraid of the lack of US born players might hurt the fan base of North America Hockey. Well, with the recent boom of Europeans returning home to play in Europe Leagues. How does everyone think this will affect the look of the NHL. Also, does anyone think that this will weaken or strenghten the game?
 

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james mirtle thinks this is weakening the overall competitiveness of the NHL. i tend to agree. with the salary cap, there is less NHL money to go around, to the point that it's become more lucrative for certain players to sign in europe than league minimum deals in the NHL. for example, what will danny markov do?

james mirtle said:
Ekman is perhaps the most significant player to flee so far (aside from Alex Yashin, although that depends on your definition of significant), given he's one season removed from back-to-back 20-plus-goal, 55-plus-point campaigns in San Jose – but he's far from alone. Familiar faces to make the jump this summer include Jamie Heward, Alex Perezhogin, Jamie Lundmark, Oleg Tverdovsky, Stanislav Chistov, Oleg Saprykin, Jamie McLennan, Anton Babchuk, Alex Suglobov and Randy Robitaille.

And we're also getting word Jan Bulis and Josef Vasicek could soon join them.

It's difficult to say just how much this exodus of players will dilute the league's talent pool, but one would be pretty hard-pressed to argue there isn't an impact at all. Fewer skilled players, even on teams' checking lines, will decrease the level of play in the NHL eventually, and the league can't stand to lose 20 solid citizens every year.

These aren't exactly washed up veterans making the leap.
source: http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/08/14/the-russian-exodus-of-07/

as james wrote, some of these guys not washed up veterans or never-wases. ekman is a solid third liner. guys like perezhogin and saprykin would be top six wingers on non-playoff teams. instead, they're all going to star in european leagues. that means significant NHL roster spots are going to young players on entry level contracts -- guys who are probably better served playing less difficult minutes or starring in the minors or junior. that means the overall level of play in the NHL is lower.

but notice also that ed belfour, a future hall of famer, has now also signed in europe. granted, he is a washed up veteran, but he's still a hall of famer -- and a north american one to boot. it's not quite the WHA-era redistribution of talent, but it's starting to look more and more like it.
 
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