According to multiple reports, Brooks Laich became the third Capitals player to sign with a European team on Tuesday when he agreed to play for the Kloten Flyers of Switzerlands National League A.
Laich, 29, has not yet returned a message left for him by CSNWashington.com. His signing was first reported by the NLAs website.
Laich spent the past two weeks skating with Capitals teammates at Kettler Capitals Icelex and was on the ice as recently as Monday. He has five years remaining on a contract that pays him 4.5 million a season.
Laich has spoken openly about the NHL lockout and the rights of NHL players to earn paychecks overseas during the NHL lockout and fully supported teammates Alex Ovechkin signing with the KHL and Michal Neuvirth signing with the Czech League.
There are other opportunities for players to play, Laich told CSNWashignton.com. I dont know if these owners realize it, but it is a reality.
With former Caps forward Alexander Semin signing to play with a Tier II team in Russia on Tuesday, a total of 66 NHL players have agreed to deals with 10 different leagues in Europe.
The more players you start to see head overseas there are a lot of guys you speak to that really enjoy playing over there, Laich said. I think a lot of guys really, really want to play in the NHL. Obviously, thats the top league in the world. But if were facing a work stoppage once every six years, in the life span of an athlete thats a lot of time missed and a lot of potential earning that are missed.
For some guys its not as much pressure to play in Europe and maybe some guys enjoy that, where theyre not so much in the limelight. You can see different parts of the world. You see different parts of North America playing in the NHL, but now you get a more worldly experience going to other countries.
There are other benefits, Laich continued. Maybe the finances arent as great, but maybe it makes up for it with job security. Its a lighter schedule on guys and maybe they can prolong their careers by paying less games. There are a lot of things to think about.