5-Year Veteran Heads Overseas

After struggling to retain a spot on an NHL roster this past season, former San Jose Sharks winger and veteran of parts of five NHL seasons, Rudolfs Balcers, is heading overseas to continue his career. 

The Latvian winger has signed a one-year contract with ZSC Lions in Zurich with the Swiss National League. There, he'll play under the first NHL coach he ever played for, Marc Crawford, who's now at the helm in Zurich. 

Balcers was last with the Tampa Bay Lightning at the end of this past season, spending three games with them at the NHL level, after suiting up cross-state with the Florida Panthers for 14 games earlier in the campaign. The rest of his time was spent in the AHL and out nursing injuries. 

The 26-year-old was drafted in the 5th round in 2015, spent his first two seasons in the league with the Ottawa Senators, then two seasons with the Sharks, where he compiled 40 points in 102 games while logging about 15 minutes of ice time per night. Overall, he had 62 points in 170 NHL games. 

In addition to Crawford, he'll join several former part-time NHLers on the Lions squad, including Sven AndrighettoJesper FrodenJuho LammikkoDean KukanMikko Lehtonen, and Yannick Weber.

Photo: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports