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.