Panthers forward Shawn Matthias has agreed to a lockout deal with EHC Black Wings Linz of the Austrian league, according to the team website.
Mattias, 24, is coming off the finest season of his four-year NHL career, scoring 10G-14A-24PTS in 79 games. He also appeared in all seven games of Florida’s opening round playoff loss to New Jersey, notching one assist while averaging over 11 minutes a night.
With Linz, Mattias will join a handful of ex-NHLers — Pat Leahy, David LeNeveu, Curtis Murphy — and will also join a growing number of locked-out players suiting up in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, the top flight of professional hockey in Austria.
Thomas Vanek, David Clarkson, Tobias Enstrom, Derek Dorsett, Andrew Cogliano, Johnny Boychuk, Derick Brassard, Sam Gagner, Tyler Myers, Michael Grabner, Andreas Nodl and Bryan Bickell have all signed on with Austrian clubs, though it should be noted a few (Vanek, Clarkson and Enstrom most notably) have since returned to North America.
Matthias is in the final year of a two-year, $1.7 million deal with the Panthers. He was acquired from Detroit in 2007 as part of the Todd Bertuzzi trade.
On Friday, Johnny Boychuk became the 11th locked-out Bruin to sign overseas, joining Red Bull Salzburg of Austria’s Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.
News of the signing was first reported by CSN New England’s Joe Haggery.
Boychuk, 28, is the latest NHLer to try his hand playing in Austria. Chicago’s Bryan Bickell, Carolina’s Andreas Nodl, New York Islander’s Michael Grabner, Buffalo’s Tyler Myers and Edmonton’s Sam Gagner are currently there, while the likes of New Jersey’s David Clarkson, Winnipeg’s Tobias Enstrom and Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek have come and gone.
(Of note, Boychuk will replace Enstrom as Salzburg’s NHL “import” defenseman.)
The move to Austria comes nearly nine months after Boychuk agreed to a three-year, $10.1 million extension with the Bruins. Boston was keen to lock him up after a solid 2011-12 campaign which saw him play in a career-high 77 games and average a career-high 20:37 minutes per.
As mentioned above, Boychuk is one of a growing number of Bruins playing abroad. Andrew Ference (Czech Extraliga), Tyler Seguin (Switzerland), Rich Peverly (Finland), Tuukka Rask (Czech Extraliga), Dennis Seidenberg (Germany), Zdeno Chara (KHL), Patrice Bergeron (Switzerland), David Krejci (Czech Extraliga) and Chris Kelly (Switzerland) are the others.
Another day, another signing abroad thanks to the lockout — this time out of Buffalo.
According to Matias Strozyk or EliteProspects.com, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers signed a deal with Klagenfurter AC in Austria’s Eishockey Liga.
The 6’8″ defenseman struggled last season for the Sabres and while the work stoppage rages on, the Sabres will hope he can both stay healthy and figure out his game. Last year saw him put up the lowest numbers of his career thanks to injury, scoring eight goals and finishing up with 23 points in 55 games.
Myers would be the fifth NHL player in the Austrian league joining Sabres teammate Thomas Vanek as well as Carolina’s Andreas Nodl, Islanders forward Michael Grabner, and Edmonton’s Corey Potter.
Much like Andreas Nodl’s news earlier today, Michael Grabner is heading to Austria to play hockey during the lockout.
Chris Botta of Sports Business Daily reports the speedy Islanders winger will play for his hometown team EC VSV Villach. The team’s website touts Grabner’s arrival thanks to donations from sponsors to help pay the insurance on his NHL contract.
In case you’ve forgotten thanks to the glut of lockout news, Grabner fast skating and breakaway skills turned him into a star for the Isles scoring 39 goals two seasons ago and 20 more last year.
Grabner joins Nodl and Thomas Vanek as NHLers in Austria. Conveniently enough, that’s the home country for all of them.
Andreas Nodl will take his talents to HC Innsbruck of the Austrian National League for the duration of the lockout, according to Bill Meltzer. He was one of just three Austrian players in the NHL last season.
If it wasn’t for the work stoppage, Nodl would be gearing up for the second season of his two-year, $1.69 million contract. He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer.
Nodl was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and stayed in their organization until he was claimed off waivers by Carolina Hurricanes last season.
He ended up with three goals and eight points in 60 games last season.