It appears reports of Dustin Brown signing in the KHL were premature.
Just two days after Vityaz Chekhov GM Alexei Zhamnov said he was close to a deal with the Kings captain, Brown flipped the script by agreeing to terms with Zurich of the Swiss National League A.
News of the Zurich signing was first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Brown, 27, will join a Lions club with some familiar faces — Marc Crawford, who coached Brown for two seasons in Los Angeles and Jeff Tambellini who, like Brown, was a first-round pick in 2003.
Brown and Tambellini also made their NHL debuts with the Kings in 2005-06.
The signing is a significant one for Zurich, the defending Swiss league champ that’s seen a number of rival clubs load up on locked-out NHLers. Brown is coming off a stellar Cup run with the Kings, pacing the team with 8G-12A-20PTS in 20 games en route to the first championship in franchise history.
In the opening round, he tied a playoff record by scoring two shorthanded goals in a Game 2 victory over the Canucks.
With the move, Brown becomes just the fourth King to sign overseas during the work stoppage. Anze Kopitar signed in the Swedish second division, Alec Martinez joined TPS of the Finnish league and Jonathan Bernier inked with Heilbronner of the Germany’s tier two, the Bundesliga.
While fans in Minnesota are champing at the bit to see Zach Parise don a Wild sweater and try to lead their team to glory, the lockout has him exploring alternatives.
Michael Russo of The Star-Tribune spoke with Parise and finds out he’s got offers from teams in Switzerland he’ll make a decision soon should this weekend’s meetings take a turn for the negative.
“Keeping our fingers crossed,” Parise said. “I think every one’s still in a holding pattern waiting to see where this is going, but at some point, you have to worry about yourself and make sure you’re ready to play.”
Parise isn’t itching to leave for Switzerland, but when it comes down to it, if it’s not looking like a new CBA is going to be hammered out, he’ll have his choice of teams to sign with. That sounds an awful lot like how Parise’s summer of free agency went.
While Anze Kopitar is looking at possibly playing in Sweden’s second tier league during the lockout, Kings captain Dustin Brown has a few other higher profile offers to consider.
John Hoven from Mayor’s Manor spoke with Brown and finds out that while he hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll play in Europe during the work stoppage, he has options galore abroad.
“I have a couple Swiss teams and a couple KHL teams I’m looking at,” Brown says.
One thing holding Brown back from leaving right away? A family with young kids at home.
As for other Kings teammates, both Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov may be headed home to Russia and the KHL on separate deals.
If you’re a locked out NHL player and you’re eyeing the KHL as a possible backup plan to play hockey, you may be surprised to find out you don’t meet their criteria.
The Russian pro league announced today they’ve got a set of qualifications to help thin the possible herd of incoming foreign players. While KHL teams can claim up to three players, said players’ resumes need to have a few curious things on it (link in Russian, Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov clears some things up):
— 150 NHL games played over the last three seasons
— Must have previous KHL experience
— A national team member in one of the last two World Championships, World Junior Championships, or Olympic teams
— A Stanley Cup winner or finalist or an NHL award winner of another kind
To add to this, the KHL will only pay up to 65 percent of an NHL player’s contract so even if you want to go get paid, you’re not going to get it all. On the upside for the Russian team, that salary doesn’t count against their league’s cap.
With the Swedish league not allowing locked out players in (or will they?) and the KHL having these restrictions, suddenly Finland and Switzerland are looking a bit better for lockout hideaways.
Oilers forward Linus Omark is a shootout guru and small bundle of excitement, but he won’t be flexing his skills in Edmonton or Oklahoma City next season.
According to David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, Omark is headed to Switzerland where he’ll join EV Zug.
Last season Omark played in just 14 games with the Oilers, scoring three goals and adding no assists. He played in just 18 games in the AHL with Oklahoma City but had six goals and 10 assists there. He wound up missing plenty of time thanks to a broken ankle.
Omark was a restricted free agent this offseason as he waited out to see if the Oilers would present him with a contract offer and an opportunity to stick with the big club. Rather than waiting for the team to come to him, or the labor dispute to be settled, he opted to take his game across the ocean.