While the NHL and NHLPA are fighting over Billions of dollars, the average fan is fighting to free up extra cash flow to spend that hard earned money to watch the game they love.
Yesterday, news came down of the NHL teams assigning various players to their affiliate franchises , be it the AHL, ECHL or back to the CHL. I know some people are concerned that sending bonafide NHL players down to Minor pro leagues and Jr leagues will displace some players in the system. My thoughts? Absolutely, but truth is while some players will miss out on opportunities most teams are washed down with players who should not be playing on those teams anyway.
Providing there is no immediate change about to happen with this Lockout in the coming month, there is some exciting hockey coming especially to CHL teams and AHL teams. The one that I am about to discuss further is the OKC Barons. The reason? The Oilers are developing their future in OKC. If and that is a big IF, Hall gets cleared eventually and gets sent to OKC as well, this team will be lights out!
This year continues to be about development and if the lockout ends say sometime in December, the Oilers will likely have had Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordon Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz all primed up and ready to go. They will likely have continued to build their chemistry, therefore not wasting part of a year of development waiting for a lockout to end. In addition the bonus is, they will be playing with others on the Barons roster like Magnus Paajarvi, Teemu Hartikainen, Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick.
The greatest benefactor is going to be the fans in OKC. Will they show up in higher numbers to see a elite level AHL team? Highly debatable, however it's good on the faithful fans that have been paying and going to their games regardless. The second biggest winner will be those AHL players who are on the edge of making it to the NHL. It can do nothing but positive things for the Oilers organization.
Just looking into the possibilities myself but between radio and live streaming hockey games, I am one fan who will just spend more time on the OKC Barons website, message boards etc...
I have heard some rumblings that some are concerned Nail Yakupov is headed to Russia to play in the KHL. I don't think the concern is him playing somewhere other then Sarnia but more they seem worried if he will return to the NHL when this lockout ends. IMO, even if Yakupov stayed the full year in the KHL, it would only make him more prepared for the following year. Playing with men rather then boys would only push him to learn more of a team and all around game. For those worrying about him returning to the NHL, Yakupov wants to play in the best league in the world and should he stay for a year in the KHL and not report for this year, his ELC would not start til the following year anyway. Until he starts playing in the NHL he is Oilers property and his ELC will not start til he does. Yakupov wants to prove he is the best, and that can only be done with the best league in the world.
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