With NHL lockout talks heating up the past two days, it once again raises the question whether a deal might get done. If the two sides come to an agreement the Edmonton Oilers’ young stars will leave Oklahoma City to play in a trimmed-down NHL season similar to the NBA last season.
Four of Edmonton’s top young players are playing with the Barons during the lockout. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and a couple of Barons would return to the NHL if a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
“I’m following it some,” Eberle said. “I’m a fan of the NHL. I keep tabs with what’s going on. It sounds like they might be making a little progress. I know the fans feel it’s good to see something happening.”
Eberle, who led Edmonton in scoring last season, said playing in the American Hockey League during the lockout has been exactly what he hoped for.
“You get to play hockey,” Eberle said. “I’m 22. I’m still young. This is an opportunity to work on my game. More than anything you need to develop that winning attitude. If we find ways to win down here it can translate to the NHL.”
While negotiations continue Eberle is focusing on helping OKC win games. The Barons leave Thursday morning for Friday and Saturday night games in Abbotsford, B.C., near Vancouver.
“These are the chips we were dealt,” Eberle said. “We need to find ways to win games and get on a roll. If the NHL season doesn’t start so be it. We would have a chance to win a Calder Cup here.”