That is the claim of a report issued last week by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Here are the bullet points from the IIHF's press release:
++ Too many Europeans who are not of NHL-calibre are signed by NHL-clubs.
++ Too many Europeans who are potentially of NHL-calibre but not yet NHL-ready, are signed prematurely.
++ The average quality of European-trained NHL players remaining in their European clubs until they are NHL-ready is vastly superior to the quality of Europeans spending significant time in the minor leagues or who go through the major junior system.
++ The often repeated theory that a European player needs 'adjustment' and 'time to learn' the North American game is not supported in the data from the research.
++ The recruiting of European players under development is a threat to the quality of the top European leagues and to the European development system as the European clubs are not able to adequately replace the players. This is also a threat to the NHL as a decline of quality of the European leagues will put in danger further development of players of NHL-calibre.
Can it profitable for the NFL to "waste talent?" Perhaps the NHL is making a mistake as the last point suggests, or alternatively, the IIHF could just be politicking and cartelizing. The full report is available at the above link. My null hypothesis is the last-mentioned possibility. Reducing competition for players is a perennial list-topper on the agenda of sports leagues.