It doesn’t look good.
Moving to the ECHL has its pros and cons for the hockey fan. A pro of the ECHL is that teams have a fair bit more autonomy and are not as beholden to NHL rosters. This is true for every franchise, including Norfolk, which is owned by an NHL team in the Edmonton Oilers. Teams trade at will, something that’s a bit of a rarity in the AHL.
Norfolk executed its first ECHL trade (at least as an Oilers affiliate). Bakersfield’s leading scorer from last year, Sebastien Sylvestre, was traded to Missouri for Kain Allicock and Alex Lepowski. At a glance, this trade makes absolutely no sense. Why would a team give up its leading scorer from a year ago, and a rookie at that? When this happens, I can think of a few reasons.
I’d imagine most or all of them have to do with either Sylvestre’s lack of willingness to sign in Norfolk, bigger plans to bring in names by top brass, or both. In return, the Ads got a rookie in Kain Allicock and Alex Lepkowski. They do not look promising, and this trade still makes no sense.
I’ll give Allicock a bit more rope here. He played in 21 games with Missouri last year, recording 1 goal in 21 games. Those aren’t particularly impressive numbers, I know. However, Allicock signed on in the ECHL after completing five years in the Canadian college ranks (a lot of those guys in the ECHL). Consider him an ATO with an extended look.
Lepkowski has an incredibly damning scouting report on EliteProspects. What stands out to me, more than anything, is that he went back to the OHL after an unsuccessful stint with the Rochester Americans in his first year as a pro. I can’t recall anything quite like that. Lepkowski was a 5th round draft choice of the Sabres in 2011. Selected after him? Nikita Nesterov and Frank Corrado on defense and Max Friberg and Ondrej Palat on the wing. Lepkowski hasn’t scored 10 points since his third year in junior.
Admirals fans must hope that this is the first of a series of moves, and that a good one is coming. On a day that saw the Oilers actually make a decent signing in Andrej Sekera, one hopes this is emblematic of the whole organization. Patience, I guess?