Given the calendar date, the Minnesota Wild would normally be occupying the ice at the Xcel Energy Center with preseason games well underway and roster cuts looming. But instead it is the Houston Aeros, the Wild affiliate who moved into the Wild’s home as they open up their training camp and prepare for the AHL season.
The Aeros are expecting big and exciting things from this year’s Aeros team and as coach John Torchetti mentions, courtesy of the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo, there is no shortage of skilled players on this year’s roster:
“We have skill upon skill now. We weren’t blessed with that last year.”
In what will be a league full of young, skilled talent with NHL players who played two years or less in the show being eligible to be reassigned to the minors, it should provide plenty of action all season long. Players such as Jeff Skinner from Carolina, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Oilers, Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Minnesota’s own Marco Scandella are just a few of the everyday regular players who have been assigned to their respective affiliate clubs while the lockout drags on.
It’s a blessing for the AHL and the teams as the stands should be full given these highly skilled names. The only problem is that for the NHL hockey fans, we have to sit and wait for them to return to the big league clubs and that means enduring this damn lockout. At least we’ll get some hockey in the form of the minors. Any hockey is better than no hockey and at this point we won’t be fussy. Game on.