in the event of a true split, would oilers coaches comprise any of the coaching staff? to me, this is the biggest issue. i want our prospects developing under the tutelage of coaches that actually care about helping our players achieve their potential.
I'm not sweating the lack of AHL affiliate team. As much as I'd like to believe the Oiler development system has 20 or more legitimate prospects, history reminds me otherwise.
There are only a handful of legitmate NHL prospects who will ever emerge in any system. The most important development that will take place at this level will likely take place between their ears. All have reasonable skill and ability to get that far in hockey's food chain. Heart, character, perseverence, and ability to deal with adversity then become critical in separating oneself from the herd.
It's a tough, unforgiving business where very few make it to the NHL. To get there, you have to earn your shot and battle other individuals who seek the same. Last year hurt JDD specifically (the only player imo whose development suffered). While he could have folded under this 'unfair treatment', JDD has shown great resilence this year with a pretty good season. Pretty positive stuff imo for a position that requires big time mental strength to succeed.
I think a split team will be sufficient to instil competition and some 'tutoring' by Oiler management. Hockey life can be unfair but there is a small window of opportunity to prove your merit or stall out. Good prospects with ability and strong character will find a way to contribute.
A move of Stockton to the AHL doesn't make sense unless there are three-five other AHL teams ready to move to the West Coast at the same time -- putting your AHL affiliate into a situation where they're THAT isolated from even their own division foes is asking for the team to fail financially, even with the best attendance in the ECHL.
Now, if Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, Ontario (California), San Diego, and Las Vegas (or even four of the above six) all managed to land AHL franchises at the same time, it MIGHT work -- but when are you ever going to get that many ownership groups willing to pay $2 million+ to buy AHL teams AND get three to five owners willing to sell, knowing their teams would be relocated?
I'd think that if KC can't land the Penguins, that they'd have to look AHL as the next best alternative. No other team, besides the outside chance of maybe St. Louis, is going to be on the move, and expansion isn't going to happen in the near future (have MORE scheduling issues to talk about? I'm sure the NHL front office is excited bout that...).
Sure, they may want an NHL franchise, but beggers can't be choosers.
As for Melon Arena, It's so far from where we are, and old. If we can say, lease it for 2 years and than move into Windsor, that'd be an acceptable scenario (ha... at this point, any scenario is a good scenario). That is, if the Baby Pens get moved as well.