Very serious jockeying for position has already started in the EURO League leading up to Season 5. Some of the best teams in the league have acquired some of the league’s premier players in trades, and we still have a free agent frenzy to play out.
In the Northern Conference, all 8 playoff teams have been involved in deals. Reigning Cup champion Belfast has added Alexander Ovechkin, while President’s Cup winning Moscow has added Ryan Suter and Blake Wheeler. The North’s third best team Edinburgh swapped John Tavares for Claude Giroux, and fourth-place Minsk dealt for Patrick Kane and Jordan Staal in separate trades.
Fifth and sixth place Gothenburg and Copenhagen are retooling for runs in a couple of seasons, having shipped out top players and gotten top younger talent back. Helsinki made two trades banking on the hopes that prospects Nikita Scherbak and Nicholas Ehlers will get good attributes during their degut NHL seasons.
In the Southern Conference, two of the three longtime power magnates, Paris and Athens, have remained quiet, while the Smurfs have added Tony Martensson and Dion Phaneuf. Lisbon has made the most noise in the conference and the league this off-season. Aside from moving the team from Frankfurt to Portugal, GM Bryan Camara has made three trades that reeled in Shea Weber, Zach Parise and John Tavares. As the inferno, the team barely qualified for its first playoffs last season, but they are definitely trying to zoom up a few more spots, sacrificing two first-round picks, two young players and Giroux in order to secure the three new stars. The team’s starting lineup will now include a forward line of Steven Stamkos, Tavares and Parise with Weber and Drew Doughty on the points.