With the NHL’s work stoppage in full swing, Alex Ovechkin told RT.com that the KHL presents the sport’s highest level of competition right now.
“I can see the level of the game, I can see the guys, the skill of the players, how they have great techniques,” Ovechkin said. “I think right now it’s – with the NHL not working – the KHL is the best league.”
The numbers back up Ovechkin’s claims, at least from a quantity standpoint.
The KHL employs 27 percent of jettisoned NHL players, according to The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle.
According to Mirtle’s report, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden are the closest competitors behind Russia’s KHL while Poland and Slovakia bring up the rear.
As the Ovechkins of the world get in game shape, Mirtle points out that most North American-born players are mostly staying put.
Of the 133, I count 32 Canadians and 11 Americans, which means they make up about one-third of the total. That makes a lot of sense, as it’s far more comfortable for European players to simply remain in their hometowns where many spent the off-season, but it could put the North Americans who make up 75 per cent of the NHL at a disadvantage once the season finally begins.
We’ll see if these movements make any impact in a shortened season – if there is one, of course.