For NHL teams looking to get their prospects back on the ice in a competitive situation, the ECHL may soon be an option. The minor league announced Tuesday that training camps will open on Nov. 27 for all the teams that are starting their season on Dec. 11. The ECHL has split their league into two groups, with 13 teams beginning on Dec. 11 and the rest waiting until Jan. 15. The training camps for the latter group will open on Jan. 1.
The teams that will begin things later this month are Allen Americans, Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Indy Fuel, Jacksonville Icemen, Kansas City Mavericks, Orlando Solar Bears, Rapid City Rush, South Carolina Stingrays, Tulsa Oilers, Utah Grizzlies, Wheeling Nailers and Wichita Thunder. They will play a 72-game season.
Still, there is some discussion on which prospects would actually be eligible to play. Michael Russo of The Athletic tweets that the NHL was discussing a change that would make only players on entry-level contracts eligible to play in the low minors. For many organizations though, getting any of their young players into a game situation will be imperative for their development.