The last time the NHL had its lockout the Swedish Elite League was one of the players' reprieves, the league where they could go to continue playing and earning a pay check.
It's not going to be that easy this time around.
Swedish league decided today it will not accept any short-term contracts of locked-out NHLers. Players can only sign for minumum 1 season.— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) August 23, 2012
That's a monkey wrench in the whole situation, now isn't it? How many NHL players are going to be willing to gamble on missing the entire season to sign a contract in Sweden? Zilch would be my best guess.
The easy conclusion to draw here is that the SEL probably felt a little used in 2004-05. Players came, grabbed some cash and ice time, then went back to North America as soon as the lockout ended. The reciprocal effect of getting more attention from star players and their presence wasn't enough it would seem. So if players are going to try and bide their time in another league should the NHL delay the season, it won't be in Sweden.
Might I suggest the KHL?