With the lockout coming to a close and training camps slated to start within a week’s time, some NHL teams chose to have their players sit out of AHL contests this weekend.
Brendan Smith, who will likely start the season with the Detroit Red Wings, did not skate today in the Grand Rapids Griffins game against the Milwaukee Admirals. With Carlo Colaiacovo’s injury weakening an already thin defense corps in Detroit, it seems the Wings didn’t want to risk an injury before camp starts. Winger Gustav Nyquist, also expected to start the season in Detroit, did play and had one of the two Griffins goals in a 3-2 shootout loss.
The Oklahoma City Barons were without most of the star power that has made them a big draw in away games this AHL season. Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and league-leading scorer Jordan Eberle (25 goals, 51 points) all sat out of today’s game against the Chicago Wolves. All three are expected to be a part of the Edmonton Oilers roster once the season gets underway.
The Minnesota Wild made the same decision Saturday night, not having prized Finnish prospect Mikael Granlund suit up for the Houston Aeros in their contest against the San Antonio Rampage. Granlund has eight goals and 21 points in 21 games for the Aeros.
With the AHL All-Star Game set to take place in just under three weeks, most of these players would have been named to the lineup but will now be in the NHL instead. AHL fans got a treat this season seeing NHL stars on a nightly basis, but will now have to watch things get back to normal for the rest of the season.