The Russian Super League is considered by most, if not all puck experts to be the #2 Hockey league in the entire world. Here's a look at some of the world class puck action that you can find there...
In recent years there's been a noticeable decline in the number of Russians entering the NHL due to the Russian Hockey Federation's refusal to sign the IIHF transfer agreement and due to changes which were made in the collective bargaining agreement. Nevertheless great hockey talent continues to come out of Russia and the Super League. HockeyFutures.com has a great look at some of that young Russian talent. Some of which will be entering the league this year AND some of which are deciding to return to Russia from the NHL. Yeah, it's a two way street.
Here's some of that young Russian hockey talent mentioned in the hockeyfutures.com article that will be making it's way to the NHL this year.
Hopefully the many issues and problems between the Russian league and the NHL will be solved so that the North American league continues to be the premier showcase for the best hockey talent in the world. Personally though, I think a war for players is developing between Europe and the NHL that's being helped along by the new CBA that's forcing a lot of top flight talent to either flee the NHL or stay in Europe to begin with. It's definitely a developing trend. How it all shakes out long term obviously remains to be seen but as of now I don't think it's good trend for the NHL. It only helps the challengers to the leagues' prominence grow stronger and it also helps those rival leagues to be increasingly seen by NHL players squeezed by the new CBA as attractive and lucurative alternatives. The leagues in Europe are loooong established and fairly solid. They're not like the upstart expansion leagues that tried to challenge the NHL, NFL and NBA and failed... or succeeded, depending on your point of view in that a merger eventually happened. Because in the end it was about those major leagues retaining the talent that was leaving for their rivals and hurting their "product". That's what I see happening here eventually, a merger leading to a... NHL Europe ...someday. With a Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals that would bring world wide interest, sponsors and media coverage to the league... every year. Like they've never seen before.