Yesterday my friend and well-known online hockey researcher Joe Pelletier, Greatest Hockey Legends author, has published an excellent article which I want partly to quote and comment here.
We North Americans really misjudge just how big of an issue the transfer issue is.
It has the significant potential to greatly reduced the number of new European players coming to the NHL. This is the first summer without a transfer agreement, and we are already seeing a dramatic change. So far this summer the NHL has only signed 23 new European players - 11 of which are Swedes - marking a 46% drop from last year.
The lack of a transfer agreement even scared off teams at the NHL draft table in July. Only 24.9% of draftees were European, by far the lowest such total this decade.
One season is too early to definitively blame the lack of a transfer agreement for declining European content in the NHL. It may be just a weak year for Europeans or perhaps more Europeans are just staying home or going to the KHL rather than risk playing in the American minor leagues. But it is an alarming coincidence to say the least.
By the way, 25 NHL players have signed in Europe this summer. There has never been a reverse transfer arrangement compensating NHL teams.
Having "long-term" picture to consider I am not sure what would be better for the NHL and Canadian hockey. I am somewhat agree (partly) with Don Cherry - the huge number of European players, flooded the NHL for the last 20 years has damaged our (Canadian) domestic hockey. So this drop of European newcomers to the NHL, you mentioned in this article, is not necessary bad thing. We have a lot of good players here who have no chance to prove themselves sitting whole life in AHL, CHL, OHL...Look up at my favorite Red Wings - sometimes I have impression it's Europe select team. I think no doubt the best decade in terms of hockey progress was the 70s. But why? Because it was strong and EQUAL competition between the NHL and Europe. And the worst? In my opinion - 90s with same but reversed reason.
The NHL like business is straggling, ignore all this G. Bettman crap, straggling in terms of absence of new heard breaking ideas. So may be this will be "the one"?