NHL lockout's end will take its toll on Phantoms, Titans

Stuart Franklin

The lockout is over, and both the Phantoms and Titans are going to feel the pain.

Coming soon to a minor league city near you: Mass exodus of hockey talent! That's the case in Glens Falls and Trenton this week as the NHL lockout has come to a close and players begin to filter back up the ladder in anticipation of training camps opening over the weekend.

And for both the Phantoms and Titans, that exodus is going to have a serious impact on the ice. Being at the bottom of the chain, Trenton will certainly have it the worst. Here's just a taste:

Hostetter's the only guy on that list to have played the full season with the Titans thus far, as the other three have spent time up and down throughout the system this season. Regardless, the Titans are in last place in the ECHL's Atlantic Division and losing this talent isn't going to help at all.

Of course, those guys are replacing the obvious callups from the AHL:

Schenn and Couturier are obviously staying in Philadelphia. Wellwood and Rinaldo are likely to stay as well and I'd expect McGinn to end up in Adirondack ultimately, even if he gets a nice long look in Flyers camp. But even if McGinn stays in the AHL, the Phantoms will lose 36 percent of their offense just with the call-ups of Schenn, Couturier, Rinaldo and Wellwood.

They're a really bad hockey team with two legitimate, budding NHL stars on their roster. Without them, they're God-awful.

Terry Murray has seemed insistent on bunching his offensive talent on the top two lines this season, eliminating any chance of having a third scoring line. That's despite the fact that a) his team hasn't been able to score any friggin goals all year and b) he's had a ton of talent to work with for the first half of the season. They were sending skill guys to Trenton earlier in the year because they couldn't find them ice time. On a team that's scored the third-fewest goals in the AHL. Just insanity.

Now, much of that talent is gone. It'll be nice to see guys like Harper, Johnston, Mangene, Jason Akeson and Marcel Noebels get more of an opportunity at the AHL level this season, but the Phantoms are not going to be a good hockey team for the rest of the year. And they're already in last place.

Not that fans in Adirondack have come to expect much more from them, anyway.

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