A German League general manager has been contacted by “more than 30” NHL agents looking to place their clients in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
Peter Lee, GM of Berlin Eisbaeren (the Polar Bears!), claims he’s been inundated with offers since the lockout began, suggesting the push to fill import spots is already on.
While Sweden has blocked teams from signing locked-out NHLers, Russia, Switzerland and the Czech league are welcoming them with open arms. Christian Ehrhoff of the Buffalo Sabres is the only NHL player in the German league, having agreed to sign with Krefeld.
Lee is taking a wait and see approach.
“I have mixed feelings: It’s nice to get these players but you don’t know how long they’re going to be around,” he said. “Short-term it may not be bad as long as you don’t fill up your team with these players. That could end up being bad.”
With nine import spots — and two more available in case of injury — the league has plenty of room for NHLers. Teams have to be careful, though, because the import cards are not transferable.
That last bit is important, because German League teams risk “burning” import cards on short-term NHL rentals.
Doesn’t appear to be much of an issue for Lee, though, as he’s had success coaxing players to Berlin. During the last lockout, Canadiens forward Erik Cole made the move early and went on to score 27 points in 39 games.
Cole was later joined by Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig, who played nine games for the Polar Bears.