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Breaking News: Sweden To Opt Out Of Transfer Agreement

By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department

After meeting in Stockholm yesterday, 10 of the 12 Elitserien clubs and the Svenska Hockey Ligan have agreed to withdraw from the NHL-IIHF player transfer agreement after January 1, 2008. The governing body of Swedish hockey, the Svenska Ishockey Förbundet (Swedish Ice Hockey Federation), will have the final say on wether or not all Swedish clubs will follow suit, but it is expected that the SIF will not go against the wishes of the powerful Elitserien clubs.

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The future of Blues' prospect Jonas Junland may be affected by the decision for Swedish clubs to opt out of the NHL-IIHF transfer agreement

The main point of contention seems to be the "two-year rule" that restricts NHL clubs from holding the rights of drafted players for longer than two years. Swedish clubs want the time frame lengthened, so that they are not losing their best young players at age 20 or 21 to NHL clubs who are signing them before losing their rights.

There is also some disconentent over the amount of the transfer fee; NHL clbs are currently paying $200,000 to the Swedish clubs when an NHL team signs a player that has a valid contract in Sweden. The Swedes feel that they are entitled to greater compensation for their contributions to the players' development.

How this affects he future of Blues' prospects is currently unclear. The most significant of these, Patrik Berglund, has already signed a contract with the Blues and is essentially on loan to his hometown club in VästerÃ¥s, so his future with the Blues is not likely to be impacted.Â

2007 first round pick Lars Eller, a Dane by birth, is currently playing for Borås of the Allsvenskan; fellow 2007 draftee Simon Hjalmarsson skates for the Frölunda junior squad in the J20 Superelit league; and 2006 draftee Jonas Junland is competing at the Elitserien level for his hometown team in Linköping.

Further details to follow as the situation becomes clearer. Until then, remember... "if we do not prepare for ourselves the role of the hammer, there will be nothing left but that of the anvil." Auf wiedersehen.