Little background info about the situation and Espoo Blues (hockey team Nättinen plays for).
Espoo Blues is far from the storied franchises in Finland, having been in existence only for mere 10 seasons. However, the team is been owned by Jussi Salonoja, a Finnish millionare. Salonoja has been eager to spend considerable money to the team (in Finnish scale) and the team have been among the big spenders in the Finnish national league throughout their existence. However, the team's best achievements so far have been second place on 2007/08 season and second place in the regular season on 2008/09 season.
Blues also earned spot in the Chapions Hockey League (CHL) for 2008/09 season and lost in semi-finals to the eventual champion Zürich Lions. Since Blues also earned spot in CHL for season 2009/10, they had originally prepared to have larger amount of players than needed for Finnish Elite League Season, in order to have succifient depth to stay competitive also in CHL. Due the cancellation of CHL for this season, those investments are naturally in vain.
With no additional revenues to be expected from CHL, Blues currently have too expensive roster and with no CHL games they don't need such an extensive roster either. But they are still contractually obliged to pay those players and since there isn't really option to trade players in Finland, the most practical option was to allow all players to try to find new location for themselves.
So far there has been no indications that Blues would not be playing in Finnish Elite League next season and I doubt Nättinen has much interest to change team, after all, he would most likely have quite significant role in Blues, something that could be good for his hopes for NHL career.
Thx Nodo! your report seems to make a lot of sense to me. Do you know why the champions league was cancelled? Is it because of the economy?
Yes, champions league was cancelled because of economy. There has also been reports that team received their money from the first season late and there we're difficulties with the payments.
Espoo Blues's coach told the Finnish media today that he isn't expecting any additional player to leave the team at this point (the players were released to seek new contract in June).
Just to clarify the situation a bit more, Espoo Blues had budget of approximately 7.0 million Euro last season. The team has generated losses each season, with 3.3 million last season and 3.1 and 2.6 million in the previous two seaons (all figures in Euro).
The budget is fourth highest in 13 team league, with highest budget at 8.4 and two other teams at 7.1 million. The losses are by far the largest (although there could be some revenues could be allocated to the mother company, and the payments from the mother company are not included in the loss shown by Espoo Blues).