NHL Lockout: How Cancelling Games Would Affect the Edmonton Oilers

Adam Bowen@truknorrisContributor IIIOctober 8, 2012

Games are now being cancelled and unfortunately it doesn't look like any progress will be made any time soon.
Games are now being cancelled and unfortunately it doesn't look like any progress will be made any time soon.Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The NHL officially announced a cancellation of 2012-13 regular season games through October 24, a bleak sign for those hoping that something would get done between the NHL and the NHLPA.

Though the two sides began meetings again, no progress has of yet been made, meaning the NHL will no doubt be issuing more such announcements as the days and the weeks go on. 

For a young franchise such as the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL lockout presents a number of unique challenges and opportunities.

While many teams sent players to the American Hockey League, the Oilers sent a total of 27 players down to the Oklahoma City Barons, now that it has been ruled that Taylor Hall is eligble to join line mates Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the Barons roster. 

Now that games have officially been cancelled, players can start to settle into their new roles with their new teams, for the young Oilers in Oklahoma, this means they get to continue building upon the chemistry that proved to be so successful last season.

The time in Oklahoma will allow these younger players to bond in a different atmosphere, slightly removed from the scrutiny of the NHL, and should help the trio establish even more chemistry together. 

While the newest addition to the Oilers, Nail Yakupov will not be playing in Oklahoma, he will get a chance to see some ice time for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the KHL now that games in the NHL have started to be cancelled, and based on his performance already, the young Russian sniper looks poised to take the next step in his career.

For all of the emerging young talent in Edmonton, the more games lost to an NHL lockout equates to more seasoning and experience being gained without costing the Oilers a year off of contracts. 

While many of the elder statesmen on the Oilers roster have yet to decide what their lockout plans will be, the fact of the matter is that the year off could be good for aging (and ailing) former superstars. 

Guys like Nikolai Khabibulin, who struggle with injury problems, will benefit from the time off to get healthy and perhaps provide a little veteran stability to the team once play eventually resumes. 

The longer an NHL lockout goes, the longer the Edmonton Oilers will have to wait to see whether or not Ralph Krueger will be the man to see the Oilers progress in their rebuilding process. 

With all of the assets garnered thanks to the dismal performances these past few seasons, fans, and the Edmonton Oilers themselves, will want to see the team take the next step and begin to compete for a playoff spot. 

Unfortunately, it seems as though both parties will have a while to wait before this is possible.