WINNIPEG -- The machinations of an NHL lockout have begun in Winnipeg, as the Jets assigned 13 players to their AHL affiliate, the St. John's IceCaps, this afternoon.
It's ahead of the expiry of the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires late tonight. The NHL is expected to impose a player lockout at that point, with no new labour agreement in place.
Rosters will be frozen at the start of any lockout, and no transactions will be permitted.
The headliner of the names released today is centre Alex Burmistrov, who has played two NHL seasons.
The 20-year-old Russian will be joined in St. John's by Chris Carrozzi, Ben Chiarot, Patrice Cormier, Jason Gregoire, Carl Klingberg, Julian Melchiori, Eric O’Dell, Will O’Neill, Edward Pasquale, Zach Redmond, Cody Sol and Ivan Telegin.
The Jets also did a bit of housekeeping with the formality of announcing that centre Mark Scheifele is assigned to the Barrie Colts of the OHL, where he's already been playing for nearly three weeks.
There's also no word today on a possible new contract for restricted free agent winger Evander Kane. While there has been a flurry of signings and contract extensions around the NHL, it appears that Kane will go into the lockout without a new deal and will take his chances on whatever new contract rules and provisions await on the other side.
Once the lockout begins later tonight, it will become official that NHL training camps, including here in Winnipeg, will not open next week.