Last week the NJ Devils announced another player would be heading to join the growing list of prospects heading overseas to gain additional ice time. While it remains if or when the official start of the 2020-’21 AHL season will actually take place, Dec. 4th is the target date.
Meanwhile, New Jersey has been busy with prospects keeping active while the uncertainty remains as a focal point for potential call-ups. Janne Kuokkanen will join the Oulun Karpat Oy of Liiga. The 22-year-old forward played in 4 games for the Binghamton Devils, recording 3 goals and 3 assists after his trade involving Fredrik Claesson and a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick in exchange for Sami Vatanen in Feb of 2020.
Kuokkanen joins Egor Sharangovich, Marion Studenic, Nick Merkley, and Fabian Zetterlund as those that are currently on loan. Perhaps there are more to be announced as Gilles Senn, Jeremy Groleau and, Mikhail Maltsev comes to mind in moving forward. Either way, it is a positive sign that the parent club shows interest in the future with the recent flourish of activity. So far, Sharangovich has a goal and an assist in six games for the Dinamo Minsk of the KHL while the other four participants’ seasons will begin sometime in October.
During this lull of activity for the BDevils due to the pandemic, things remain active up top as GM Tom Fitzgerald continues to focus on prospects in Binghamton and what the future holds for the organization. I’d much rather see progress like this with on-ice activities during the delay, no matter which location that might be. The more emphasis on this, the better it is for those players that continue to develop within the Devils’ Organization.
However, there is an uncertainty that should be discussed at some point.
The reality is that the upcoming season might be canceled, with the lack of attendance due to COVID-19. The AHL business side survives if there are fans in the stands and nothing else to rely on, as TV revenue is not an option.
Let’s hope for hockey in the AHL for the 2020-’21 campaign.