MVP signs with Lausanne

Updated: November 6, 2004, 7:01 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- NHL MVP Martin St. Louis of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning signed with a Swiss club Friday, one day after teammate Vincent Lecavalier joined a Russian team.

Since the lockout began, almost 250 NHL players have joined European teams, about one-third of the league.

St. Louis signed with Lausanne of the Swiss league for the rest of the season -- although his contract allows him to return to the Lightning if the NHL lockout ends. He is to arrive in Switzerland with his family next week and plans to play his first game Nov. 20 against HC Lugano.

The forward won the Hart (MVP) and Art Ross (points leader) trophies last season after recording 38 goals and 56 points in 82 games. He added 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) in 23 games to lead the Lightning to their first Stanley Cup championship.

Lausanne, last in the First Division, includes ex-Montreal Canadiens forwards Eric Landry and Andrei Bashkirov and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Patrick Boileau.

Lecavalier signed with Russia's AK Bars Kazan, and fellow Lightning forward Brad Richards was expected to join him there.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press