If the National Hockey League lock outs its players on Sept. 15 and re-opens for business later, the Canadian Hockey League will have plans in place for its NHL-eligible players.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported on Twitter on Thursday that a work stoppage amid CBA negotiations does not necessarily mean NHL drafted players in the CHL will locked in junior hockey all year.
While CHL president David Branch says no specifics have been worked out yet, the league acknowledges that the NHL will have access to drafted CHL talent if the 2012-13 regular season starts late.
Details of any arrangement would depend on how late the NHL season starts, but players like Edmonton Oilers draft pick Nail Yakupov (Sarnia - OHL) and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Ryan Murray (Everett - WHL) would potentially be able to make the jump in the middle of their respective junior campaigns.
Also, underagers who played in the NHL last season as 18-year-olds and are still eligible for junior this season could play in the American Hockey League. That would include players like Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia's Sean Couturier.
Nathan Horton (Florida Panthers, San Antonio) and Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins, Providence) did that during last lockout in 2004-05.