With the start of the NHL-season being delayed until presumably December, players are allowed to sign contracts in Europe (or elsewhere) with out-clauses and return to the NHL once the league is set to start again.
One candidate to make use of this could be Joe Thornton. The 41-year-old usually spends part of the summer in Switzerland, and, as Elliotte Friedman mentioned on Sportsnet's Saturday Headlines-segment yesterday, he might extend his stay this time around. With the San Jose Sharks not being part of the playoffs, the veteran could ink a deal with a National League team and eventually return overseas. He does not have a contract for the upcoming season yet.
Already having played for HC Davos during the most recent NHL-lockouts in 2004 and 2012, it would be safe to assume Thornton were to sign with them again. During his two tenures in the National League, he made 87 games, recording 26 goals and 89 assists.
"Joe is an icon of world hockey. It would never cross our minds to ask or even request him if he wanted to play another season with us. This is a matter of respect. But if Joe were to come to the conclusion to want to play for us, we would sit down and find a solution," Davos' team manager Raeto Raffainer tells Watson's Klaus Zaugg when asked about the case. "In the next few days, we will have a chat and see what plans he has."