After 113 days, the NHL lockout neared its end Sunday with the league and the players agreeing in principle to a new collective bargaining agreement.
The Komets, the AA-level affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, are bracing for the effect an abbreviated NHL season will have on their roster in the ECHL.
The Komets have seven players contracted to either the Ducks or Norfolk, their American Hockey League affiliate and all seven of them could be called up as the Ducks stock a truncated training camp while the Admirals and Komets must make sure they have players to continue play in their respective leagues.
The new CBA must be ratified before the NHL can determine the dates for training camps and the regular season.
The Fort Wayne players under higher-level contracts are forwards Corey Elkins, Garrett Klotz, Luca Caputi (injured shoulder) and Matt Kennedy (injured groin), defensemen Nick Schaus and Ryan Hegarty, plus goaltender Marco Cousineau.
Goaltender Kevin Reiter is under contract with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, an affiliate of the New York Islanders, and could be called up, too.
And if the AHL teams get too strapped for players, any of the Komets’ other players could get looked at, too.
It’ll affect us. It will affect every team in the league. It will affect our league, the CHL, the (Southern Professional Hockey League) and even the Federal League, Komets general manager David Franke said during a 3-2 victory over Orlando on Sunday.
There will be a ripple effect all the way through. There will probably be some stuff going on (Monday), but as the week goes along, there will probably be more transactions.
Teams that heavily loaded with contracted players, they will be the ones that take the big hit.
The Komets may be better positioned than are most other ECHL teams. Because they didn’t ink their affiliation with Anaheim until late in the offseason, the bulk of the Komets’ top players under contract with Fort Wayne. Cincinnati, on the other hand, has 15 players under higher-level contracts.
Fortunately, we put our team together thinking they would play all year (without an affiliation) and we lost Chris Auger (to a knee injury), but out of that original group, he’s the only player we’ve lost, Franke said. We’ll just have to see what happens.
Added coach Al Sims: You just don’t know how big the effect will be. Is everybody going (to Norfolk)? Will it just be three or two? We really don’t know. But we’ll take it a day at a time and see how it goes.
But it will change the landscape of every league and we’ll see how it all sorts itself out.