WINNIPEG — It will not be business as usual in the coming days for the St. John’s IceCaps.
The AHL team will open its training camp next Thursday in the Newfoundland and Labrador capital, then take its camp show on the road for three days into the central part of the province.
But unlike other years, including when they were in Winnipeg as the Manitoba Moose, the IceCaps are planning to hold a very small training camp this fall.
IceCaps GM Craig Heisinger said that the camp roster will be a maximum of 34 players. Some years, the Moose exceeded 50 skaters, as a normal course of action for the AHL team was to bring in a number of future or possible depth players to get a more solid evaluation of those players, most of whom were unlikely to be staying around to start the season.
Depth is an important element of any AHL team’s operation, given the never-ending state of recalls to NHL teams and injuries on both levels.
The small size of camp in St. John’s this fall is based on the reality that NHL tryouts and possibilities are not in the cards for any IceCaps players this fall.
The NHL is in lockout mode with no end in sight, at least today, for the dispute between the league and the NHL Players Association.
"We’ve been planning it this way based on what might happen (with a lockout)," Heisinger said. "We’re basically bringing our team and guys we’d consider our depth players. This year, there just won’t be guys just to have a look at, which we usually do."