The lockout roster shuffle begins

With the National Hockey League officially locking out its players on Saturday, fans are now into the wacky, confusing period where players are looking for places to play.

For some, they can head down to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat or their junior clubs to ply their trade. For others, Europe is the option. Others may simple sit at home and try to keep in shape.


The Flames assigned 23 bodies to the American League prior to the lockout. All of these guys are on two-way contracts. Five of them had to clear waivers.

The waivers bunch was Akim Aliu, Paul Byron, Krys Kolanos, Ben Walter and Joe Piskula. I had thought that Aliu was not subject to waivers, but he signed his NHL contract prior to the 2008-09 season and therefore qualified based on years, rather than games, of service.

The non-waivers bunch for the Heat are actually pretty good. Among them are former first-round picks Sven Baertschi and Greg Nemisz, mid-round picks T.J. Brodie, Ryan Howse, Mitch Wahl, Lance Bouma and Max Reinhart and a slew of late round picks and free agents like Michael Ferland and Ben Street.

Thanks to last year’s obliteration of the main club’s roster by injuries, there is a lot of NHL experience in Abbotsford. Nine of the Heat’s players will have spent time in Calgary, most notably Baertschi, Brodie and Bouma, all of whom were pencilled in by most for Flames roster spots this season.

While the Heat seem rather stacked, it’s smart to note that every team has a lot of good prospects in the AHL. The Oklahoma City Barons and Houston Aeros, for example, will each have four former first round draft picks. Most teams have at least one or two.

Abbotsford’s training camp opens on September 28.


Two Flames forwards immediately signed deals in Europe as the week opened, with another expected to do so soon.

Roman Cervenka signed a deal with HC Slavia Praha, his hometown team, in the Czech Republic’s Extraliga. Jiri Hudler signed a deal with HC Lev Praha of the Kontinental Hockey League. So the two friends from the Czech Republic committed to spend their lockout with different teams in different leagues, but at least in the same city. The teams play six kilometers away from each other.

Meanwhile, reports out of Sweden indicated that Mikael Backlund was expected to sign with his hometown team, VIK Vasteras HK, in Sweden’s second-tier Allsvenskan league. Nothing has been made official as of yet, but Backlund has played for the club in the past.

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      • RexLibris

        I understand it from the SEL’s perspective. They don’t want to be the rebound relationship for NHL players. It puts many of the teams in that league (I think also the Allsvenskan has put contract restrictions for NHL players) in a tough spot trying to juggle rosters at the last minute to make room only to wait with bated breath for a potential end to the lockout and another massive roster upheaval.

        I have to wonder also if the SEL was trying to lend some indirect support to their NHL head office brethren by closing off some options for players.

        With the exception of Baertschi, I haven’t seen any names here that might not have otherwise been on the Heat’s roster at one time or another during the season.

        I’ll be very interested to see what happens with the Heat this season.

          • RexLibris

            I remember reading that a few weeks ago.

            Now the real test is, how many players from Columbus rush over to sign in the SEL because it beats spending even half a season with the Blue Jackets.

            The lack of a transfer agreement between the KHL and NHL seems to have served the Russian league teams rather well here. Not likely to give them any more incentive to pursue a transfer agreement in the near future, either.

  • xis10ce

    this is the only good thing that is going to be good about a lockout. its great that all these guys are going to playing against good young players and improve their game. now i wish i live in Abbotsford

  • Sobueno

    this is the only good thing that is going to be good about a lockout. its great that all these guys are going to playing against good young players and improve their game. now i wish i live in Abbotsford

  • I would rather have had Backlund play in a league with better competition. Second-tier Swedish league? What is that equivalent to, pond hockey with a bunch of your drunk buddies?

    What about Iginla and Kipper? I can see Kipper celebrating when a lockout was announced – he doesn’t need to train or show up to camp in weight. He can drink cheap homemade vodka out of Olli Jokinen’s still and smoke all the cigarettes he wants.

    Iginla… don’t get me started on him. He’s probably looking for a home in Pittsburgh or New York for the 2013-2014 season.

  • yomamen11

    Check out the video of Cervenkas 1st match with Slavia Praha on the link above. Whole page is in Czech language and I am way too lazy to translate it all, but Cervus was all over the ice today!

    RYTÍŘI KLADNO – HC SLAVIA PRAHA 2:3 (1:2, 1:1, 0:0)

    Goals and assists: 4. Plekanec (Tlusty, Jagr), 22. Tlusty (Plekanec) – 3. Cervenka (Sobotka, Kalla), 18. Sobotka (Cervenka), 39. Kalla (Cervenka, Sobotka).
    Referees: Frano, Jerabek – Barvir, Blumel.
    Penalties: 6:7, Cervenka (Slavia) 10 min.

    Attendance: 15.575.


    Rytiri Kladno: Chabera – Zidlicky, Cernosek, Majesky, Macholda, L. Prochazka, David Ruzicka, Mocek – Jagr, Plekanec, Tlusty – Obdrzalek, Patera, Hlavac – Hovorka, Dragoun, Eberle – Valsky, Kuchler, M. Latal. Coaches: Vojta, Taticek a Kopecky.

    HC Slavia Praha: Kopriva – Kadlec, Kucny, Kolarik, J. Krejcik, Kubos, Kempny, Dresler – Kalla, Cervenka, Sobotka – Zejdl, Hertl, Krenzelok – Stransky, V. Ruzicka ml., Sklenar – Micka, P. Jelinek, Poletin. Coaches: V. Ruzicka st., Weissmann a Beranek.