I don’t think that we’ll find anyone on the planet who thinks that this NHL lockout is a positive thing in any way, shape, or form. However, there are a few minor benefits, mainly for the younger guys.
Scattered throughout the league are young guys that were either hoping to make their first appearance at the NHL level, or had already made a brief appearance. This lockout gives them the extra time necessary in the AHL to get a bit of extra seasoning before the real season begins. If it does at all, that is.
One of those players is Chris Kreider. We’ve obviously seen plenty of Kreider already, as he was a breakout star in the playoffs for the New York Rangers. He’s already receiving plenty of attention and some pretty lofty expectations for the new season.
That comes despite having not appeared in a single regular season contest in his career. Kreider spent last year with Boston College, but you wouldn’t know that the postseason was his first real action at the professional level. He had seven points in 18 games in the playoffs, including a pair of game winning goals.
There’s little doubt that Kreider is going to be a star in the National Hockey League. He has impressive size and speed, along with all the other tools necessary to make a player successful. But to expect him to step in and star next year was probably going to be on the unreasonable side.
This lockout should help to benefit him a bit. Kreider will start the season with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. He’ll presumably see top line minutes and can build some momentum heading into the actual NHL season, whenever it begins.
It’s not going to be an easy adjustment for Kreider, going from a college schedule to a full season at the professional level. But this beginning in Connecticut will benefit him, as it will easy him into his new role as an NHL forward more than throwing him into the fire down on Broadway for a full season may have.