by Lisa McRitchie on 09/11/12 at 11:15 PM ET
Saturday’s deadline looms, and there isn’t much hope on the horizon. The Edmonton Oilers are split down the middle; guys who can’t afford to miss a year’s salary because they are in the final half of their careers, and guys who just starting their career and who can’t get rusty. And so none of the players look forward to any kind of work stoppage.
Currently, only Nail Yakupov has come out and said that he will play in Europe, the KHL more specifically should the NHL season be cancelled. The rest, many are preparing to receive an assignment to the AHL and the Oklahoma City Barons.
The reason so many Oilers will be available has been reported by Jason Gregor on Oilers Nation, that the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to alter the start date for waiver period:
"It means they can assign Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Magnus Paajarvi, Teemu Hartikainen and any other players who are on their ELC to OKC. This doesn't mean they have to play there, I assume they will, but so far there hasn't been a final decision on that by the organization.
I spoke to two different agents today and both feel players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will also be eligible to play in the AHL this year. They will allow 19 year olds who've played in the NHL to go to the AHL instead of back to their junior club. Nail Yakupov is not eligible to play in the AHL.
The agents also told me they believe that Eberle, RNH and J. Schultz would be contractually obligated to go to the AHL rather than to Europe. Of course they could butt heads and force the Oilers to suspend them for not reporting, but that likely isn't going to happen."
All of these young players will be much better off playing, and playing against men than they would be just trying to keep up with their training on their own, and hoping for the season to start.
If you notice that Taylor Hall is not listed as a player likely to play in OKC, that would be because Hall was injured at the end of the season (concussion and shoulder surgery) and is reportedly not yet ready to play. Hall may be the one player who is somewhat alright with a delay to the season; he won't be sitting in the pressbox instead of playing and helping his team.
There is still a chance that a deal could come together before the deadline, or even within 48 hours of the deadline, but I think that we are all expecting at least a delay to the start of the seaon. I would like hockey for Christmas though, so I hope that Santa Claus is reading this, I've been a really good girl this year.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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