Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Belfast Giants may move for NHL superstar

A potential NHL lock-out could impact on Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen’s recruitment plans as he edges towards completing his roster for the defence of the Elite League title.

Christiansen has just four spaces left in the squad for the new season, which is now just over a month away, and while he had been working to fill those remaining slots his player search has now taken a new twist.

With the NHL and its players currently at a crossroads as they aim to strike an agreement over changes to contracts, Christiansen is waiting to see if the opportunity to bring a big name player from the world’s top league to the Odyssey may come his way.

The Giants coach is keeping abreast of developments and if there is a breakdown in talks with the NHL he will be in a position to make a move.

A mid-September deadline has been set for a new collective bargaining agreement to be struck in the NHL and while the Elite League season will already be under way by then, if Christiansen is prepared to wait then his patience may pay off in the shape of a top class player.

During the last NHL lock-out in 2004-05 a number of top north American players came to Britain to play out the season.

The Nottingham Panthers brought three NHL stars into their team, signing Nick Boynton, Ian Moran and Steve McKenna, while Coventry’s acquisition of Wade Belak from the Toronto Maple Leafs was the most famous capture.

The now defunct London Racers signed Scott Nichol and Eric Cairns, whose season was cut short when he was suspended after hitting a referee during a fight with Belak.

The Giants were contacted by one NHL player at the time, but turned down the chance to sign him.

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