Jeff Skinner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
and Adam Henrique are just a few of the young NHL sensations that could potentially give the 2012-13 American Hockey League season some added star power.
Dozens of young players around the NHL were sent to the American Hockey League during the past week as teams sent eligible players to the top-tier minor league before the NHL instituted a lockout upon the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which occurred Sunday.
Skinner is perhaps the most notable of the players that were sent down. The 2011 Calder Trophy winner as the League's rookie of the year has 51 goals in his first two seasons, including 20 last season despite being limited to just 64 games because of injuries.
The Carolina Hurricanes sent Skinner and rising defenseman Justin Faulk to the club's AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
Henrique took advantage of injuries in New Jersey to emerge as a top-line center with All-Stars Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk and a Calder Trophy finalist last season. He had 51 points in 74 games and added 13 points in 24 playoff games to help the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.
Last week, Henrique, along with forward Jacob Josefson and defenseman Adam Larsson, were among the players New Jersey sent to its AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils.
Nugent-Hopkins, the first pick of the 2011 Draft, tied for the League lead among rookie scorers with 52 points despite being limited to just 62 games. He was sent to the Oklahoma City Barons, which could be the most exciting team in the AHL.
Along with Nugent-Hopkins, Oklahoma City will have 30-goal scorer Jordan Eberle on the roster, along with highly-sought free-agent defenseman Justin Schultz.
Defenseman Slava Voynov and fourth-line forward Jordan Nolan, who played significant roles in helping the Los Angeles Kings win the franchise's first Stanley Cup in June, were among those assigned to the Manchester Monarchs.
The Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate, received a bounty of top prospects, among them forwards Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips and Mikael Granlund, defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella and goaltender Matt Hackett.
The Peoria Rivermen were sent the St. Louis Blues' top prospects, forwards Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals sent big parts of their respective playoff runs last spring to the AHL, with the Philadelphia sending forwards Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn to the Adirondack Phantom, and the Caps sending goalie Braden Holtby to the Hershey Bears.
Other recent first-round picks that have been sent to the AHL include Anaheim's Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri (Norfolk Admirals), Calgary's Sven Baertschi (Abbotsford Heat), Columbus' Ryan Johansen (Springfield Falcons), Detroit's Brendan Smith (Grand Rapids Griffins), Nashville's Ryan Ellis and Austin Watson (Milwaukee Admirals), Phoenix's Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Portland Pirates), Vancouver's Zack Kassian (Chicago Wolves), Boston's Jordan Caron (Providence Bruins), Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons and Cody Hodgson (Rochester Americans), the New York Islanders' Nino Niederreiter and Calvin de Haan (Bridgeport Sound Tigers), Pittsburgh's Simon Despres (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins), Tampa Bay's Brett Connolly and Vladislav Namestnikov (Syracuse Crunch), Toronto's Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri (Toronto Marlies), Winnipeg's Alexander Burmistrov (St. John's Ice Caps) and Montreal's Louis Leblanc and Jarrod Tinordi (Hamilton Bulldogs).
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor