Monday, January 07, 2013
The Trickle-Down Suffering Effect
With the NHL lockout resolved, the big things to get to are ratification and getting players back into camps and what-not. This may means dragging guys back from Europe or pulling them up for the minor leagues. This, of course, creates a trickle-down theory of minor league teams getting hurt in the process and having their team maybe lose a step here and there.
Of course, the tome of the Oklahoma City Barons have been one that has been followed this lockout because of players like Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle gracing the OKC ice, but with the absence of those four-- what will happen with the Barons. While they sit 7th in the Western Conference, they lose 65 of their 115 goals from those four and it immediate vaults Mark Arcobello as the team's leading scorer. With a team who is only +7 in the goals for/against column, this adjustment could be a rough one.
Another team losing for NHLers is the ECHL's Alaska Aces-- who lead ECHL with 57 points and will lose team's leading scorer Joey Crabb, Nate Thompson, Brandon Dubinsky, and Scott Gomez-- who has regained his scoring prowess, albeit in the minors, with 13 points (six goals) in 11 games with the Aces. The upside to the Aces is that they'll have other scorer the likes of 2nd and 3rd team leading scorers Nick Mazzolini and Garry Nunn to fall back on. The Aces also always seem to be a top talent getter in the ECHL, so a few trades could probably help, too.
When you look at Europe, while the KHL will lose some talent-- the biggest hit probably will come from Switzerland, who loses plenty of talent like Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin, Joe Thornton, and John Tavares, amongst others. That said, if there's any league in Europe who got more exposure than the KHL, it'd be the Swiss National League. Not only did they get some bigger name players, but they showed them off in their Spengler Cup tournament and showed that they could be a nice side option for older players who cannot find a place to play later on in their careers.
While there were plenty of players who will need to come back to their NHL clubs, at least a good hunk of them did get some playing time somewhere else. That should make the transition from lockout to mid-season start a little more easier, especially for the fans watching. It'll take little time for rust to be knocked off and will show how well the condition is for all the players coming back.