With today's tentative labor agreement between the NHL and its players union, seems likely the Alaska Aces today will be without the three NHL forwards they have with them in California for a road trip-closing game at Ontario this afternoon.
The league-leading Aces have signed Alex Hudson, a forward from Corona, Calif., who was recently released by ECHL Bakersfield.
The tentative agreement in the NHL means forwards Joey Crabb, Brandon Dubinsky and Scott Gomez, all of Anchorage, are likely out of the lineup. Considering the Aces are traveling with 11 forwards and five defensemen, the absence of the NHLers and the addition of Hudson would give them nine forwards and five defensemen today vs. Ontario. The Reign likely will be without NHL forward Kyle Clifford, who played in their 2-1 shootout victory over Alaska on Saturday.
In all, an NHL agreement means the Aces will lose four players -- NHLer Nate Thompson of Anchorage is also on their roster.
The NHLers have been a boon to the Aces. Crabb, for instance, is their leading scorer, with 17-21--38 totals in 35 games. Dubinsky, who missed time with a broken hand, owns 9-7--16 totals in 17 games. Gomez and Thompson have been hobbled too, but good when they've been healthy. Thompson owns 7-14--21 totals in 24 games and Gomez 6-7--13 totals in 11 games.
Those 39 combined goals by the NHLers represent 31.7 percent of the Aces' goals this season, so a ton of offense likely just vanished.
The Aces' loss of NHLers could have them in search of forwards because they have several who remain injured -- Jordan Kremyr, Tommy Mele, Tim Hall. None of those three has been practicing lately, so they are not ready to jump back in the lineup.
The forwards that remain for the Aces will now get enhanced duties, which means more responsibilities (i.e. power-play time) and expectations from them.
Hudson, 25, earned 5-7--12 totals in 28 games for Bakersfield, the worst team in the league. Hudson played 15 games in the AHL last season as a rookie. He played college hockey at Nebraska-Omaha, where he earned 37-45--82 totals in 130 career games.