The dominoes are already starting to fall.
The NHL’s third work stoppage since 1994 is no more than a few hours old, after commissioner Gary Bettman locked out players on Sunday morning at midnight, but players are already starting to bolt for European leagues.
Ruslan Fedotenko was the first Flyer to sign elsewhere.
Fedotenko, 33, is going home. Fedotenko signed a temporary contract with HC Donbass in Russia’s KHL, though the team is based in Donetsk, Ukraine. They are the only KHL team located in the Ukraine and this will be their first season of play in the league. Fedotenko was born and raised in Kiev.
The deal was first reported by Fedotenko’s agent, Allan Walsh.
Fedotenko will remain property of the Flyers whenever this current lockout ends. He signed a 1-year, $1.75 million deal with the Flyers in July. His contract with the Flyers needed to be insured in-full against injury.
Since Fedotenko signed just a 1-year deal in Philadelphia for a relatively small amount of money, his contract was easier to insure than most.
That is what is holding up some other players from signing elsewhere. Others, like Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk are diving right in. They have all already signed in Russia.
Most will sit and wait.
Jake Voracek, for instance, signed a 4-year extension this summer in Philadelphia worth $17 million. Even at his younger age, it still costs a ton to insure a guaranteed $17 million.
Voracek is still training in Montreal. His former teammate and close friend, Jaromir Jagr, has already signed in their shared hometown of Kladno, Czech Republic, with the HC Kladno franchise that he owns and his father runs. Voracek has a standing invitation from Jagr to join him.
“I still haven’t decided,” Voracek told the Daily News in a text message on Sunday. “It’s tough because of the insurance.”
ALSO: Free agent Pavel Kubina, who ended last season with the Flyers, has signed with HC Vitkovice in the Czech Extraliga.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers