If, as expected, the owners lock out the players on September 15th, some NHL players will find themselves still playing. While some will find temporary work in Europe, others will be assigned to the AHL To further develop.
Essentially, players that do not need to pass through waivers could be assigned to the American Hockey League, the same way the likes of Jason Spezza, Antoinette Vermette, Chris Neil and Anton Volchenkov did during the lost season of 2004-05. Spezza ended up winning the scoring race and league MVP honours that season and it paved the way for his transition to NHL stardom.
This time around, expect the likes of Jared Cowen, Mika Zibanejad and Jacob Silfverberg could all be assigned some extra duty in the minors. For the two Swedes, it could be a blessing in disguise as they would get a proper introduction to the North American style of game. A short stint in the minors can really impact a player (hello Erik Karlsson!) and the two months or so that could be lost to Labour unrest could actually speed up the development of two of the team’s top prospects.
Again, this option exists for the Senators and other teams, but it is up to each club if they choose to exercise those options. I think having your top prospects playing hockey throughout the season is of paramount importance during their formative years.