So far this year the number of European rookies signing on with NHL clubs has dropped 46% compared with the same time last year. Although more European free-agents will sign on before the season start due to a lack of transfer agreement between the European leagues and the NHL, the number will probably be around 50%. This doesn't necessarily mean there will be fewer Europeans playing in the NHL next season as the number of players travelling in the opposite direction has also gone down, from 46 to 25. The Czechs have declined most during recent years but are still the largest group in the NHL with 57 players; Sweden (54) has held its own better. These two nations are followed by Finland (42) and Russia (36).
In the ongoing saga of the Phoenix Coyotes, it looks like Canadian millionaire Jim Balsillie will be able to make a bid for the club despite all the efforts of the NHL. Although the bankruptcy court judge has allowed the deposition from a yet anonymous NHL representative concerning the difficulty in moving the franchise so late in the day. Balsillie has declared that his bid would be withdrawn if he's unable to relocate the team for the coming season.
No doubt I'll be returning to the Coyotes issue again but I just do not see how a relocation can be made in time for the new season.
All the best.