VANCOUVER - Aaron Volpatti was close Tuesday to signing a deal to play in Europe, but with apparent progress being made on the NHL labour front the Vancouver Canuck winger says he may delay things for a few days.
"Things are sounding a little bit more positive and it seems like they may be making some sort of headway, so I may hold off a little bit," Volpatti said late Tuesday afternoon from his Vernon home.
Earlier Tuesday, Volpatti's agent, Peter Cooney, said he hoped to have his client signed with a European team by the end of the week.
"It has not happened as of today, but it probably will happen sooner rather than later," Cooney said. "We have three irons in the fire and our decision will be based on finding the right fit. We'd like to get something done hopefully this week. We'll just keep working on it until we get the right situation."
Cooney would not identify where Volpatti might go, but one of Cooney's other clients, New York Islanders defenceman Andrew MacDonald, recently signed with Karlovy Vary of the Czech League.
After missing much of last season following shoulder surgery, Volpatti is anxious to play. Volpatti had hoped he might be able to play with the AHL's Chicago Wolvesduring the lockout, but that would have required waivers and the Canucks feared losing Volpatti.
"For me, I need to play," Volpatti said. "That's my major concern."
Volpatti played 23 games last season before undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in early December of last year. He scored only one goal in those 23 games, but was giving the Canucks some of the grit coach Alain Vigneault wants from his fourth line.
The 27-year-old Revelstoke native has spent the lockout working out with his former junior team, the Vernon Vipers.
If Volpatti does sign in Europe he would become the second Canuck regular -- and second fourth-liner -- to do so. Winger Dale Weise signed with the Tilburg Trappers of the Dutch League last week.
Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen is playing with AIK of the Swedish Elite League and leads the team with six goals in 12 games.
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