Less than day after the National Hockey League said it was locking out its players, European teams announced Sunday they had signed, among others, stars Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar to contracts.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League said in a statement it had signed Malkin, a center with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Gonchar, a defenseman with the Ottawa Senators , to deals. Malkin was the NHL's scoring leader last season. Center Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings has signed with AK Bars Kazan.
USA Today reported Jaromir Jagr is expected to sign with Czech League team Kladno, of which he is part owner. Sovietsky Sport publication reported on Twitter that Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Nikolai Kulemin also will soon sign with Metallurg as well.
Metallurg did not announce the details of Malkin's and Gonchar's contracts.
During the last lockout, about 300 NHL players spent time playing with pro teams in Europe.