Though there are more Komets going to American Hockey League training camps than anytime over the last 20 years, it might be the worst timing. Because of the National Hockey League lockout, there are slim odds the seven Komets can make the AHL, at least initially.
``There are not many spots because everybody has looked down at the list, and they have more than enough guys already assigned to them to fill a roster,'' forward Chris Auger said. ``I'm just trying to open doors and give myself an opportunity. I have to be realistic that it's going to be tough to make it, but I can let the organization get to know me.''
Auger, Brandon Marino and J.M. Rizk are heading to Norfolk, Charlie Effinger to Grand Rapids, Kenny Reiter to Bridgeport, Daniel Maggio to Chicago, and Brent Henley to Connecticut this weekend. The Komets are opening their first ECHL training camp at the same time, meaning everyone wants to make a big impression in a hurry.
The chances of making an AHL roster out of training camp after playing all of last season at the AA level are minimal in even the best cases.
``There are so many extra guys, that all you want to do is put in a good showing and prove that you can play at this level in case somebody gets hurt,'' said Henley who has more AHL experience than anyone on the Komets. ``You want to have a good showing, get in shape and have a good start in the ECHL and then see how it goes. Maybe they'll remember you later.''
Henley said he wanted to go to remind AHL teams he's still an option after suffering a severe knee injury in 2009.
``The odds are almost impossible, but if you have a good showing, it's not just the team you are going to camp with, but maybe even the team you are playing against that you can impress,'' he said. ``The AHL teams are going to take contracted guys and guys that their general managers in the NHL like. That's how it has always worked and how it will continue to work.''
Finding ice time could be a problem for the guys going to Norfolk because the Admirals have only one exhibition game scheduled, Oct. 6.
``The likelihood of getting in is not great,'' Auger said. ``You have to really impress during the day-to-day skates to get an opportunity to play in an exhibition game. If you are not playing, you definitely want to be back here because you don't want to go into the regular season with no game action under your belt.''
The Komets have home exhibition games against Evansville scheduled for Oct. 6 and 7.