Next year in the E has already started
One of the benefits of the ECHL is that most teams are their venue’s primary tenants. As such, the ECHL formally released the 2016-17 regular season schedule yesterday afternoon. The league will be one team short next year as the Owensboro (nee Evansville) Icemen are suspended for work on their arena. Worcester’s expansion entry, the Railers, begin play in 2017-18. As of right now, there does not look to be a good deal of divisional realignment.
Norfolk will open the season on October 14th against the Kalamazoo Wings. The Ads traveled to K-zoo last year, but the Wings did not come to Norfolk. Scope will also see the Toledo Walleye come to town for the first time. Two Western Conference opponents are on Norfolk’s schedule: Idaho and Fort Wayne. Idaho will play a three-game set against the Ads in November, and Norfolk will make a trip to Indiana in March. The Ads’ most common opponent are the division rival Reading Royals. Eleven games will be contested between the two, with six in Norfolk. Somewhat surprising is Wheeling only appearing once on the schedule. One of the Admirals’ longest rivals, Norfolk will travel to West Virginia once. Much of the schedule is packed with games against the East and South divisions, as expected. Orlando will not be making an appearance at Scope, however. Norfolk will see every Eastern team except Brampton this year.
I can not tell you how many games the Admirals are going to win because they technically have no one on the roster for next year. Coincidentally, the roster became smaller within the Edmonton Oilers organization.
Goalie Niklas Lundstrom, who played one game for the Admirals, signed with IF Björklöven in the Allsvenskan, the Swedish second division. Lundstrom was acquired in a deal with St. Louis this season. He may have been an ECHL netminder next year, with Eetu Laurikainen and college free agent Nick Ellis taking the reigns in the AHL. Lundstrom is scheduled to be an RFA this summer, but don’t expect the Oilers to retain him.