Here’s a fun little story about how Joffrey Lupul wants to go play in Europe in case of an NHL lockout. Fair enough. Lupul is a likable enough guy, suggesting that both sides “might want to apologize”, referring to the players and owners, for the dispute that will shut down training camp openings next week.
Lupul, coming off a 13-goal, 34-point rookie season as a 19-year old, spend his 20-year old season during Lockout No. 2 in 2005 with the Cincinatti Mighty Ducks, leading the team in scoring as one of the younger guys on the team. Obviously, the AHL isn’t an option to him this time around.
He can’t go to Sweden. The Swedish Elite League apparently doesn’t want rental players. His next option would be Russia, but as it turns out, the Kontinental Hockey League may not want him either:
Our clubs have been granted the opportunity to enter into contracts and place on their main rosters no more than three NHL players, and the previously established limit of 25 players per team may be exceeded by the addition of these players. For Russian clubs, only one of the three NHL players may be a foreigner, and this player must meet one of the following criteria set down to ensure that only top-level foreign players come to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.”
Criteria for foreign players signed from NHL:
- Has played no fewer than 150 games in the NHL over the last three seasons;
- Has experience of playing in the KHL;
- Represented his country at one of the last two IIHF World Championships, World Junior Championships or the Olympics;
- Is a Stanley Cup winner, a Stanley Cup finalist, or a winner of one of the individual prizes awarded by the National Hockey League at the close of the season.
Obviously, this isn’t impeccably stringent criteria.
Most Leafs, save for the AHL-eligible ones, meet the 150 game criteria. One particularly notable first-liner doesn’t:
Lupul has no KHL experience and has not represented Canada since the 2003 World Junior tournament. He has also never won one of the individual prizes awarded by the National Hockey League at the close of the season, although he was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy this past season.
As for being a Stanley Cup finalist, well, in 2006 he played for Anaheim, the year Edmonton made the final. A year, in 2007, he played for Edmonton as Anaheim made the final.
More players seem to be staying home than they did in 2004, but for some players who just want to play, they have fewer options. Like Joffrey Lupul, not wanted in Sweden or in Russia, despite being one of just eight point-a-game players in the NHL last season.