The NHL lock out has ended, finally! It ended early Sunday morning. The NHL just completed a 113 day work stoppage. Now, the AHL will be cherry picked clean by the NHL. As the NHL teams rebuild their rosters most if not all of those callups will be AHL players. This actually could make the Whale more competitive in the AHL from a roster perspective. The Whale will lose a player or two but not as much as say, Springfield. Many teams had AHL rosters filled with NHL talent.
The Whale are going to lose their captain but not necessarily to play in the NHL.
In the last three years the Whale’s captaincy has been cloudy and now it will be cloudy again. If the Rangers decide to sit Redden out this season they can buy him out of the rest of his contract this summer. If they dont they will have to take a cap hit next year, and they probably don't want to do that. I expect them to cut or release Redden over the summer, unless ofcourse a deal is struck with another team.
Wade Redden has an NHL contract and was not able to play in the AHL during the lock out. The new CBA agreement prevents teams from placing players with large contracts in the AHL to circumvent the contract hit on the salary cap. The new rule in the CBA is that any player with a contract over 900 thousand will hit the parents clubs salary cap.
If Redden is released or traded by the Rangers he will be eligible to play on another team. Their could be interest in a veteran defenseman in a short 48 game season. We will have to see if Redden shows up on another team.
The good news on the return of the NHL is the Whale might not lose many players to the Rangers. Chris Kreider was the only player sent down by the Rangers when the lock out began. He hasnt performed up to expectations and I am guessing he will not return to the NHL right away. Kreider made a huge splash in the NHL playoffs last year. He looked like a player who was going to be able to score at will in the AHL. He may have to prove that he can play at the AHL level before they will let him play in Madison Square Garden again.
The Northeast Division leading Falcons are sure to lose players. They probably will lose Tim Erixon and Cam Atkinson at least. Jonathen Audy Marchessault may stay but certainly can be called up to help the Blue Jackets at any time during the shortend season.
With a shortened NHL season there is a potential for many call ups and demotions from New York. Injuries and fatigue may play a factor with players in a schedule where 48 games are squeezed into about 100 days.
The Whale have played much better over the last three games. Cam Talbot shut out the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday 3-0. Talbot made 25 saves on 25 shots for his first shut out of the season.
The Whale dropped a road game the following night when they traveled to Glens Falls to play the Phantoms again. The Whale earned a point in the standing but lost the game 2-1 with Talbot in net. He was able to stop 36 of 34 shots before losing a little over three minutes into the OT period.
On Sunday the Whale hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the first time at home this season. Jason Missiaen gave Talbot a day off and what a game he had. Missiaen earned his first professional shut out. Missiaen looked like a bigger Talbot in net. He held off many tough shots including many in the third period late. Missiaen earned this shut out and stopped all 35 shots from the Penguins in the game.
The Whale played well on the first weekend of the New Year; they captured five out of six possible points.
The Whale tied Albany for third place in the Northeast Division with 33 points. They are still four places out of a playoff spot but there is still time to turn the season around, they already have moved up from 15th to 12th.