Which Senators might head to the KHL?
Listen, I know not everyone wants to talk about it, but there isn't really anything else to talk about right now aside from speculation about which Ottawa Senators players might head to the KHL in order to get some ice time next year. As Dmitry Chesnokov reported yesterday, the Russian league has opened itself up to receiving some NHL players in the event of a lockout, making it one of very few choices available to locked-out NHLers.
We all know about Sergei Gonchar's reported standing offer from Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, so he's one player--and, given the fact that the KHL will be more welcoming to Russian-born players, that just makes sense. But there are another 18 Senators players on one-way deals who'll be looking for work if there's a lockout. Which of them have what it takes to get an offer for the KHL--and which will be interested in heading there?
One name that immediately comes to mind is Kaspars Daugavins. He's never played pro hockey outside of North America, but he's a Riga native who's represented Latvia at more than ten international events, including the most recent Winter Olympics. He'd be a very popular player there, so I expect he'd get an offer (the team also wouldn't have to worry about import rules by bringing him over). He's also a pending free agent, so he's got to make the most of this season.
Erik Karlsson is an obvious candidate for the KHL, given his marketability, his recent success, and the fact that the Swedish league (for now, anyway) isn't opening itself up to NHLers coming over for a potentially shortened stint. However, Ken Warren quoted Karlsson as saying, "I don't know if you want to go there," so he's apparently not sold on the idea.
Although he headed to Europe during the last lockout, I doubt Daniel Alfredsson is too interested in parachuting into a KHL team for this season. It's not likely worth the injury risk since he's not yet discounted playing in 2013-14, and it's just a team he's not invested in at all. Also, as per Chesnokov's report, Russia-based KHL teams would only be permitted one non-Russian player to a lockout-long contract; are there players out there who might offer more value for money than Alfredsson?
There's also a KHL team in the Czech Republic; would they look to offer Milan Michalek an attractive lockout-long contract? It seems possible.
Then there's Jason Spezza, the Sens' most marketable player outside of Karlsson, and one who'd likely do pretty well in the KHL. He could warrant an offer; he might even be interested in pursuing it. But since he seems to be active in the CBA negotiations, would he want to head to Russia and distance himself from that--in both literal and symbolic terms?
I don't know; other than Gonchar's reported contract, this is really all very loose speculation. Are there any Sens players you think might head to the KHL if there's a lockout this fall? Are there any Sens you'd like to see head over there, or any you'd rather not see do so?