The end of the National Hockey League lockout brings with it uncertainty in the American Hockey League.
How many players will go up? Will they have to clear waivers? What opportunities might it create?
The problem is that, as of Tuesday, nobody knows. The NHL and its players still have to ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to make it official. Only then can we know the rules. As for where players will land, we won't know that until training camp is underway.
That said, the mood around Rochester Amerks practice was upbeat.
“This might have been the best practice we had all year,” head coach Ron Rolston said.
The Amerks are set to play the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday night. Rolston said he expected everyone to be in the lineup. That will not end up coming to fruition, however.
Darcy Regier told Hockey Hotline host Kevin Slyvester on WGR that the team would begin pulling players from Rochester but he did not know when. Regier clarified during the Sabres' press conference that Marcus Foligno, Cody Hodgson and possibly TJ Brennan would be moved up to Buffalo.
With everything up in the air, players are forced to sit and wait. T.J. Brennan, who could end up on the Sabres' roster or on another team or in Rochester long term, said that having a game to focus on is helping him keep his mind off the uncertainty.
“It's easier for me because I get to go out and play hockey,” Brennan said. “If I'm just sitting around thinking about things then it would be a little harder and a little more stressful.”
Marcus Foligno is on more stable ground. He's more or less assured a spot after scoring 13 points in 14 NHL games last season and igniting fans' interest because of his chemistry with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford.
“Hopefully whenever it does come and if I'm in Buffalo, it will come quick,” Foligno said. “Hopefully we can get that chemistry back with those two guys. It was fun playing with them last year.”
As for the rest of the Amerks, things will undoubtedly be shaken up in terms of roles and roster. Rolston couldn't yet say which players they'll be calling up to replace Foligno and Cody Hodgson.
Rolston did say, however, that it is unlikely that first-round draft pick Zemgus Girgensons will be moved to center unless they lose more players to Buffalo as the season goes on. A little bit of a surprising development because Girgensons was drafted as a center.
Maybe it's telling, maybe not, but the name “Luke Adam” was not uttered once during the time with Rolston. It will be interesting to see if he's brought to camp or not.
Captain Kevin Porter, who is the ultimate professional, seemed unfazed by all the commotion. His goal, he said, is to keep everyone focused on Wednesday night's game.
Good luck with that.
Follow Matthew Coller on Twitter @matthewwgr