The 2012 American Hockey League season begins on Friday with seven games kicking off the regular season. With the NHL lockout still ongoing, a number of players with NHL experience will be suiting up for AHL teams.
The Oklahoma City Barons are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of the NHL lockout. The Barons led the AHL Western Conference with 99 points last season and will get a huge boost from Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Eberle led the Edmonton Oilers in goals and points last season. The second-year player scored 34 goals to go along with 42 assists. He will be joined on the Barons by Nugent-Hopkins who finished third on the Oilers with 52 points last season. Oklahoma City will face Lake Erie on Friday.
The Norfolk Admirals, who led the AHL in regular season points and won the Calder Cup last season, will also be in action Friday. The Admirals, who finished with 113 regular season points last season, will host the Worcester Sharks on Friday. The Admirals roster includes Devante Smith-Pelly who scored seven goals in 49 games for the Anaheim Ducks last season.