Predators defenseman Roman Josi confirmed this morning that he has signed with SC Bern in Switzerland. Josi grew up in Bern and will be returning to the team he played with for five seasons before coming to North America in 2010.
“I know everyone there pretty well,” Josi said. “I workout with them in the summer and was on the ice with them in August when their training camp started.”
Josi will leave Nashville next Tuesday and start playing games for SC Bern next Saturday.
“When you’re young you just want to play games and you have to play a lot of games in the NHL,” Josi said. “It’s going to be good for me. It’s a good league, especially since lots of NHLers are going there. I’m just going to work on my game and get better. There are less games there, so I can work on getting bigger and stronger, too.”
Forward Martin Erat said that he is weighing all his options when it comes to playing overseas. He has multiple offers on the table and mentioned he will make a decision within the next 10-15 days.
“If [the labor negotiations] aren’t going to move [any time soon], my plan is to play in Europe,” he said. “I’ve got all my family and a good set up there. It’ll just be a longer summer and I can play with guys that I grew up with.”
Erat played 48 games in the Czech Republic during the 2004-05 lockout.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne said recently that he does not have any current plans to return to Finland and play there during the lockout. However, he is considering it.
“It’s probably pretty soon when I start looking into it,” he said. “You try to take everything in with what’s happening in negotiations and what kind of talks they’re having. It’s hard – we know just as much as anyone else. I will look at options if this drags on. As a goalie you want to stay sharp. I want to play.”
There is a laundry list of NHLers that have already signed overseas. When asked whether seeing all of those players sign is making him think even more about going to Finland, Rinne said, “No question about it. The more you see players go over there, it becomes easier for other guys to go there, too.”
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer, who is skating with some of his former Predators teammates at A-Game Sportsplex this week, said he has talked to teams back in Germany but has yet to make a decision.
“I’m just going to wait a few more weeks and hope there will be some more talks and then go from there,” he said.
There was a report this morning that forward Patric Hornqvist had signed in Sweden. Hornqvist declined to speak to the media today.