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Now That The Bombshell Has Dropped

09/17/2012 3:14 PM - Mike Peck
Well, the inevitable happened on Saturday and the NHL owners have officially locked out its players for the second time in eight years.

Yeah it stinks, but for fans, it’s reality right now, and for fans of the AHL, the first month or two (and hopefully not any longer) could be a lot of fun!

Just looking at the IceHogs roster, there are 18 forwards listed along with eight defensemen and four goalies, for a total of 30 skaters. That number will get whittled down to around 23 to 24 barring injury.

So needless to say, this should be the most competitive training camp in IceHogs history. That means six or seven players who probably would have made Rockford’s roster out of training camp will now begin the season down in the ECHL with the Toledo Walleye.

Click here to check out Rockford’s roster.

The forwards are going to be the most interesting as the top 15 is going to be extremely tough to crack. When I say top 15, I think it’s safe to say that includes (in alphabetical order) Kyle Beach, Brandon Bollig, Wade Brookbank, Rob Flick, Jimmy Hayes, Marcus Kruger, Peter LeBlanc, Jeremy Morin, Philippe Paradis, Brandon Pirri, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith, Martin St. Pierre and Brandon Svendsen.

This, of course, is putting names on paper without seeing the work any of these guys have put in this summer. In conclusion to that statement: this isn’t the training camp to come into out of shape.

Without naming training camp invitees, which will be announced within the next week or so, the competition for the last few forwards spots will probably include Terry Broadhurst, Brookbank, Byron Froese, David Gilbert and Svendsen.

On the blueline, there are eight d-men listed on the roster. Logic says seven stay and that the two rookies, Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck, will battle Ben Youds for the final two spots. Think about that depth. I felt Youds was one of Rockford’s most versatile defensemen the second half of the season and he definitely should be here.

But, because of the lockout, he might be one of several players around the AHL starting the season in the ECHL.

The goaltending battle is going to be interesting as well, at least for the second spot. Carter Hutton is locked into the first and Alec Richards, Kent Simpson and Mac Carruth will fight for the other.  This is definitely going to be one of the most intriguing storylines of training camp.

With the likes of Nick Leddy, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Jimmy Hayes, the IceHogs definitely got deeper. But some other teams, particularly Oklahoma City, Charlotte and Houston really got loaded up.

If the lockout persists, when Charlotte comes to Rockford on Oct. 20 and 21, their roster could feature 2010-11 NHL Rookie of the Year Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk, who had a solid rookie season in Carolina.