After terminating his contract in the KHL because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lucas Wallmark appears to be headed to Switzerland. Reports have surfaced that both Wallmark and Markus Granlund will sign with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss NL, after spending this season in the KHL.
Wallmark, 26, once recorded ten goals and 28 points in a season for the Carolina Hurricanes and appeared to be on his way to relevance in the NHL. That quickly dissipated though, and after several trades (he was sent to the Florida Panthers two years in a row), he took his talents to CSKA Moscow where he had 19 points in 31 games. This season also included a stint with the Swedish Olympic squad, where Wallmark actually scored five goals in an impressive six-game performance, earning a place on the tournament All-Star team.
Given his relative youth, a contract in Switzerland doesn’t necessarily end any chance of Wallmark returning to North America at some point, but it certainly will delay it. Zurich is one of the most well-run organizations in all of Europe and routinely grabs top imports from around the globe. Despite not finding much success in his last few NHL stops, Wallmark should have no problem in the NL.
Granlund meanwhile is another year removed from the NHL, last playing for the Edmonton Oilers in the 2019-20 season. He’s spent the last two seasons in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, where he has been one of the league’s most consistent offensive players. In 91 KHL regular season games over two seasons, Granlund scored 31 goals and 91 points, numbers that should follow him to Switzerland if he does in fact sign. Another participant in the Olympics, he managed to record just one point in the tournament, but still take home a gold medal with the Finns.
Now 29, a return to North America is still possible down the road, and Granlund did score 19 goals for the Vancouver Canucks in 2016-17. That kind of scoring touch has been inconsistent for him at the NHL level though, meaning he might be another European star that prefers to stay overseas than risk demotion to the AHL by coming to this side of the pond.
Granlund surely can get something better than a NL contract, no?
Britney Greiner says hello to any foreign player still thinking of signing in the KHL again for some reason.
and also anyone wanting to bring an illegal substance into a country where it is, you know, illegal.
And, of course, anyone who wants to trust their life and freedom to the honesty and integrity of the Russian state bureaucracy.