Ex-Winnipeg Jets forward Tim Stapleton told R-Sport on Sunday that he sees an NHL lockout as inevitable.
The North American league's collective contract with the players' association is due to expire next week, and with no replacement in place, the scene is set for a 2004-style lockout.
"Unfortunately, it’s more than likely that a lockout will occur in NHL," said Stapleton, who now represents Belarusian team Dynamo Minsk in the KHL.
"I’m monitoring the news from North America every day and everything goes to the season not starting as scheduled,” the 30 year old said.
Stapleton ended four seasons in the NHL in July when his contract with the Jets expired, and joined Dynamo as a free agent. He says he has no regrets about the move.
“During the previous season a lot of players, including me, thought about the possibility of a lockout, that’s why when I received an offer from Minsk, I decided to take a fling in KHL. Now I’m excited to be in my new team.”
On Friday, Stapleton made his second appearance for the Belarusian team and scored the decider in a 3-2 overtime victory at 2009 and 2010 champion Ak Bars Kazan.