No one outside of the meeting rooms in Toronto or New York knows which statement is closer to being the final answer, but Komets General Manager David Franke has to be prepared for either.
``No. 1 if the NHL goes back to work, will we lose our players?'' Franke said. ``It all depends. I think our team was built this summer and is still built with the thought in mind that we're not getting AHL players for the whole year. The NHL is going back to work eventually, and we're going with our group of guys. That's how the team was put together.''
If the NHL goes back to work, Franke believes the overall balance of talent in the ECHL will shift back to normal. Just before the lockout, NHL teams sent some of their best young players to the American Hockey League and most AHL teams sent four or five players to their ECHL affiliates, along with keeping some extra bodies for practices. ECHL teams with a pair of AHL affiliations could lose an awful lot of players who will be hard to replace if the lockout ends.
``If the NHL doesn't go back to work, then we're all right here with what we've got,'' Franke said. ``If it ends we still have a good core group of guys here who can get the job done in a normal ECHL season.''
Anaheim Ducks assistant general manager Bob Ferguson said last week that his AHL team in Norfolk could call up four to six players from the Komets, including the possibility of some free agents such as defensemen Daniel Maggio and Brent Henley. What the Admirals will need would depend on what the Ducks would need.
The Admirals have placed Ryan Hegarty, Josh Brittain, Marco Cousineau and Matt Kennedy with the Komets, but currently Hegarty, Cousineau and Kennedy are out with injuries.
That means the Komets would either need Eric Giosa to get healthy in a hurry, or they'd need to go out and find one or two more players. Franke is prepared to do that, possibly taking another look at players who performed well in the Komets' training camp. Several of those are playing with Dayton of the Federal Hockey League and with Pensacola of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
If the injured players improve, the Komets may not need that many new players.
``If you look at our roster, it was built with the fact that this would be a normal ECHL season,''We've adjusted at this point and time to the lockout and getting AHL players. The rosters on a lot of teams in the league will get changed dramatically, but we're not going to be in that category.''
Franke said there are also plenty of players who played last year in the AHL, the ECHL or the Central Hockey League who are still looking for work, and every week more players are trying to come home from Europe.
``Every year it seems like a different landscape for this,'' Franke said. ``We've tried to protect ourselves both ways, and I think we'll still be fine. We may have to add another player or two, but there will be teams in the league that will lose quite a few players and their fortunes could change quite a bit.''Since defenseman Nick Schaus was recalled to Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Monday and won't be back this weekend, the Komets have called up forward Mike Hoban from Dayton of the Federal Hockey League. Hoban, who was in training camp with the Komets, has eight goals and 14 points in nine games this season with the Demonz and is plus-8.
OnlineFor more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog, www.tailingthekomets.com.
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