No one knows what will happen by the September 15th CBA deadline, but the smart money is on some sort of a delay in the 2012-13 NHL season. Yes, this is very likely to be the third labour disruption in the NHL during Gary Bettman's tenure. But the players are carrying on as if the season will start relatively on time and currently the Oilers have been making their way back to Edmonton. The veterans, the prospects, the rookies and everyone in between have been preparing and working hard in anticipation of the Oilers training camp and cannot even allow themselves to think that that may be delayed. If they give up on their training, it might be very easy to lose their spot to someone who comes to the eventual camp better prepared. For the newly drafted players like Nail Yakupov (should he return to the CHL, which is something he has said he will not be doing) they will head off to their respective junior teams and then be released to to the NHL when the time comes. But for players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, we all know that he will not be returning to the WHL, too bad for Red Deer.
The players have been in discussions with the new head coach, Ralph Kreuger, and of course talking amongst themselves. There will be changes in the lineup, but who makes which team and when is yet to be determined.
The Oil Kings are wrapping up their pre-season and preparing for their regular season, one that will celebrate their 2012 WHL victory and of course attempt to repeat the success this season.
There are very few players from last year's Oil King's team that will be moving on; Tyler Maxwell is already playing in Austria, Mark Pysyk is hoping to advance with the Buffalo Sabres and Kristians Pelss would also like to take on new competition in his development with the Oilers.
The Oklahoma City Barons are also set to kick off their season shortly, and looking to build upon their impressive successes of last season. Although the team has only been in existence for two seasons, people have taken notice.
The success of the team cannot even be said to be entirely because of the plethora of talented prospects that the Oilers have assembled, but also the free agents and "career AHLers" that the Barons have been able to assemble. Why players may look to the Barons as a shot to maybe get a two way deal or even a chance with the Oilers, some see it as an opportunity to play for a winning, and maybe even championship team.
The Barons do not have any games on their schedule until October, when they would usually see the addition of players who had been released from their NHL camps. This year, the NHL will have a much farther reaching affect on the other leagues and especially the AHL. But it might be a great opportunity to see the few but loyal fans in OKC to see players we have been growing to love; Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and perhaps even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.