"Hi, can I come to camp?"
Interesting bit from WHL commissioner Ron Robison, as reported in the Star Phoenix:
Robison said the Canadian Hockey League and the NHL are working out an agreement that would see players released from their junior clubs to attend NHL training camps, should the lockout be resolved.
While the details are still being finalized, Robison said only those from a "restricted list" would be permitted to attend.
"We're working on developing a list of players that would be considered the quality of players capable of playing at the NHL level, should there be a lockout of an extended period," he said.
"Certainly we'll have to read and react based on how extended the lockout may be."
The New York Islanders have one prospect in particular who would probably make such a list, and he helped the Niagara IceDogs off to a 2-0 start to the season:
The IceDogs opened scoring with hard work down low from Ryan Strome, who got the puck onto the stick of Anthony DiFruscia as he found the back of the net for the second straight game.
Most would say Strome, the Islanders' top prospect not already in a pro league, belongs in juniors right now for another year of development. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't deserve a long look in camp. And a camp that started another three months (or so) into his own development might make the team's decision on him more interesting.
Meanwhile, that specter of losing stars to NHL camp at any time sure puts junior teams' plans up in the air. Niagara in particular faces a tricky challenge for its in-season strategy, considering Strome and Dougie Hamilton could also be bound for Russia in December for the World Junior Championship.
If and when the 2012-13 NHL season actually launches, it will have a trickle effect on leagues from the CHL to the AHL and to all of the European leagues where NHLers are currently gobbling up jobs.