Image: AP / FR170211 AP
NHL agent André Rufener: «Luca Sbisas only options are NHL or resignation»
A whole range of Swiss have expired contracts in the NHL. But our sporting bosses are waiting in vain for Luca Sbisa, Mirco Mueller, Sven Andrighetto, Dean Kukan and Yannick Rathgeb to return.
This time he is also impotent. For the first time. André Rufener (47) has a legendary reputation in the NHL scene as he has dared to publicly request a transfer of his client Nino Niederreiter to New Yorkers in 2013.
In fact, the islanders are sending Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota Wild on a barter deal in 2013. A career is saved. And as his athletic resume faltered again, he comes again this season for a transfer, the miracle works: now Nino Niederreiter shakes the NHL with Carolina.
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André Rufener also managed to turn Sven Bärtschi, Sven Andrighetto and Luca Sbisa into millionaires and temporarily bring Reto Berra to the NHL. He helped Dean Kukan and Yannick Rathgeb hire NHL organizations. He will transform Mirco Müller into a millionaire in the summer.
The last big achievement he did last year was a $ 1.5 million, one-year deal for Luca Sbisa on the New York Islanders.
But now he is powerless for the first time – and a little lost. Luca Sbisa is fit, ready and can not play most of the time. He has only played nine games so far. "Healthy Scratch" means your destiny – which translates to "healthy but excluded from programming."
That means: traveling with the team and dressing up carefully watch the game at the top of the press box. And when a question comes from a chronicler, respond with bravery, which everyone says in their situation: the team is in the foreground, no problem. You have to work hard every day and try to improve and it is important to be ready when the opportunity arrives. Anyone who says otherwise or even revolts – as is customary in such a situation in Switzerland – ends his career.
Luca Sbisa needs a trade. Then a transfer through the barter. Away from the islanders. He is able to play a role in all teams. The former junior Zug is in his ninth season and with Las Vegas he reached the final of the Stanley Cup last spring. But then he was retired and only at the last moment did he win a contract at the training camp with the Islanders last fall.
And so, André Rufener sits somewhat helpless in Newark at the Wyndham Hotel's coffeehouse, looking up and saying, "May the hockey gods help us again." No, he could not ask the general manager for a negotiation in this case. That would not be appreciated at all. "Lou Lamoriello is sure not to talk." The general manager of the islanders is one of the great generals of the NHL.
The NHL's most influential Swiss agent flew to New York last Tuesday and remains until February 26, the day after the NHL transfer deadline. So he's on the site, a little closer to the action. After all, he and Luca Sbisa, Mirco Müller and Yannick Rathgeb have three clients here in the New York area.
Photo: COPEN SPENGLER
In fact, he would have to be the most sought-after agent of the Swiss sports chiefs. Because with Luca Sbisa (29), Sven Andrighetto (25) and Mirco Müller (23) he has three Swiss under contract whose contract expires in the spring. And why not persuade Dean Kukan (25) and Yannick Rathgeb (23) to return home despite ongoing contracts?
Everyone could, if they wished, to continue their careers in Switzerland. With salaries of half a million up. There have never been so many clubs in NL where money does not matter when it comes to legal transfers (Lugano, Lausanne, Zug, ZSC Lions).
Of course André Rufener has to say that no one will play in Switzerland next season. It would come to the rumor that her clients even think about coming home – the NHL's career would be ruined.
In their cases, it's more than that: none of their customers will play in Switzerland next season. Also not Luca Sbisa? He is 29 years old and could pass the hockey event in Switzerland. It has palm trees in Lugano, as in Newport Beach, California. "No," says André Rufener. «The only options are NHL or resignation».
But Luca Sbisa is still in business: upon termination of the contract, he will become a "free agent." A new employer does not need to compensate. And if, contrary to expectations, he does not get a new contract, start his second career a little earlier than planned. "He will return to Newport Beach and start real estate deals." Newport Beach is located in Southern California in the Pacific Ocean.
Luca Sbisa is married to a Canadian (whom he met during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver). Southern California is your new home.
Even for Mirco Müller, there is no return. Logical. He now has over 20 minutes of ice age in New Jersey. He earns $ 925,000 gross and will become the next millionaire of the Swiss dollar with the next contract.
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And what about Sven Andrighetto, who earns $ 1,550 million gross in Colorado, but has just earned just five minutes of ice age? In this case André Rufener also excludes a return. "Under no circumstances does he want to return to Switzerland."
The starting position is not so bad in the NHL. If it does not reach a transfer, the Colorado will end the season with no binding offer (qualifying offer ') make – and then each club Sven Andrighetto without contractual compensation. "Let's find a solution there."
The contracts of defenders Dean Kukan and Yannick Rathgeb run another season. But both come in the NHL in Columbus and the Islanders only sporadically (Kukan) or not (Rathgeb) for the course. So why not a premature return? "Excluded," says André Rufener. "They keep their contracts." It's quite possible they both get into a transfer deal this season.
From time to time André Rufener looks at his smartphone. He does not want to miss a message. Until the transfer on February 25, something can happen at any time and unexpectedly. Nino Niederreiter had been told in Minnesota against the 2:30 clock on his move to Carolina. With the order to pack immediately and fly to Raleigh at 5:00 pm in Minneapolis for your new employer.
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