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Update: 9:40am CT --- According to a tweet from Linus Hugosson
, Editor of Pro Hockey Magazine, Blues center Patrik Berglund has signed a lockout deal with Västerås IK of Hockeyallsvenskan (Sweden's 2nd Div.).
The 25th overall pick in the 2006 draft has appeared in 310 games in his four year career while amassing 75 goals and 163 points. A native of Vesteras, Sweden, the 24 year old is in the final year of a two year contract and is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer assuming the rules governing free agency do not change that fact in the next CBA.
Berglund is projected to be the second line center for the 2012-13 season.
When most NHLPA members are asked where they will play next season they will provide a straight answer because by September 18th they're in training camp with a team already. With owners locking out players for the third time since 1994 that question and answer carries quite a bit of uncertainty.
Naturally, the media and fans want to know each players plans while union bosses battle with the commissioner. Those who pay attention to Twitter saw preliminary responses Monday.
Josh Rimer, of NHL Home Ice fame
, exchanged texts with more than a few house hold names around the league. Included in his subsequent tweet frenzy were three St. Louis Blues forwards: David Backes, TJ Oshie, and David Perron.
No surprises there. Diplomatic, yet rationale, answers. Though a significant amount of talent and a time zone separate these three from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeny Malkin and others rumored to head over the Atlantic or already have, this Blues trio is just like any other professional athlete in their prime. They want to play. Preferably in the league they grew up following that is the at the top of the pantheon, but a players got to play.
Reading between the lines it appears that it's a wait and see approach. If by some act of the hockey gods (or Congress) the gaping chasm between the two sides on economic issues is bridged quickly then they want to sit tight. If not... well, a player has to play.
What about the European born players?
Forward Alex Steen's agent, Donald Boden, told Sports Bladet
that his client is working out with Modo of the SEL and hopes to play for them soon. The top league in Sweden has not decided whether or not to allow locked out NHL players to play.
Fellow forward Vladimir Sobotka will play for HC Slavia Praha
according to the team's website.
Via Google Translation:
The second confirmed NHL hockey player from overseas is Vladimir Sobotka defending colors Wed Louis Blues. Twenty-five hockey player in 2005 was drafted by Boston in the early second century, fully managed to push through to transfer to a new team.
According to Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com
Even though he would be happy to overseas competition started as soon as possible engagement in Slavia welcomes. "I grew up here and love coming back here, Slavia is the clear choice for me," said Sobotka.
Jaroslav Halak, Roman Polak, and Patrik Berglund are likely bound for Europe as well.
Long story short, unless this lockout is ended quickly get ready to fire up online feeds of games.
Lastly, Backes joined the "Afternoon Mayhem" show on AM 1380 in St. Louis yesterday to talk pucks and the lockout. Here's the highlights of what he told show host Jeff Gordon.
"It's on crazy rate of growth and we need to keep that going."
"They are looking for straight player concessions . . . as we're making these concessions, the richer teams can help out."
"The players and the PA have taken the stand that by law we can still play and negotiate and get a deal done."
"St. Louis has a done a fantastic job of not spending themselves into the toilet." No onerous long-term deals.
Thanks for reading.