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OHL trade deadline might have to move, since NHL’s start makes rosters a moving target

Scheifele is leaving Barrie to attend the Winnipeg Jets camp (OHL Images)

The end of the NHL lockout is good for the hockey industry, even though it throws a wrench into the major junior season.

Twenty-four hours after the work stoppage ended, it's not clear what the 'rules of engagement' are going to be between the big league and the Canadian Hockey League. The NHL-CHL player agreement which dictates that a player drafted from the CHL cannot be assigned to minor pro until his age-20 season expired last summer. Meantime, NHL teams which are hitting the ground running with a truncated training camp with no preseason games at regular-season prices — odd how the league can go without that cash grab, eh? — still want to audition teenagers who might be ready to jump to The Show.

The OHL trade deadline is set for 12 noon ET on Thursday. The uncertainty, along with the London Knights looking unstoppable, has led to limited trading. Minnesota Wild-drafted centre Tyler Graovac, who went from Ottawa to Belleville, is the only notable 19-year-old to move thus far. Simply put, it's even more chaotic than trying to get home to North America from Ufa (inside joke).

Update, 2:10 p.m. Jan. 7: Via the London Free Press' Ryan Pyette, the OHL does not know if it can push back the deadline, which is only three days away.

Several teenagers were pulled up from junior for the 48-game lockout season the NHL played in 1995. The shortened schedule will reduce the leeway to be experimental with lineups, but chances are a few junior-aged players will stick. Here's some guesswork as it pertains to the OHL.

Mark Scheifele, centre, Barrie Colts / Winnipeg Jets — The Jets were predictably vague about where Scheifele might fit on their roster. One has to expect he would, at bare minimum, get at least the nine-game opportunity to show whether he belongs at that level. That means the Eastern Conference-leading Colts might have to carry on like Scheifele is as good as gone.

Alex Galchenyuk, centre, Sarnia Sting / Montreal Canadiens — What is better for helping someone who is still developing his game, being the leader of the pack in Sarnia or a situational centre in Montreal? The Montreal media and Canadiens fans are surely itching to see Galchenyuk prove that the Habs got a No. 1 overall talent with the No. 3 pick. There is an argument that he would not be hurt by remaining with the Sting, where he is having a MVP season with 61 points in 33 games for a division-leading team.

The Sting are on a four-game win streak in Galchenyuk's absence, so there's their fallback.

Dougie Hamilton, defence, Niagara IceDogs / Boston Bruins — No player's situation has more sway over his junior team's approach to the trade deadline. Niagara is typically disinclined to dump veteran talent at the deadline, but it probably needs to this time. Hamilton, who did not have a great world junior championship for Team Canada, is headed to the Bruins training camp and could stay up there in a on-the-job training type of role. More 19-year-old defenceman seem to have stuck in the NHL than 19-year-old forwards of late, so there's another indicator in Hamilton's favour.

Boone Jenner, centre, Oshawa Generals / Columbus Blue Jackets — It seems the Blue Jackets will give Jenner a chance to audition for some kind of role-player job.

Ryan Strome, centre, Niagara IceDogs / New York Islanders — The Islanders are in wait-and-see mode (well, who isn't) regarding Strome and Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Griffin Reinhart, their two most recent first-round picks. Strome has lit it up offensively in the OHL, but that can hardly be taken to the bank when it comes to predicting whether he could make the NHL.

There's a host of other OHL players in the mix. One can only guess what their chances are, especially when NHL teams are still signing free agents. Ultimately, it might take until early February before junior lineups are settled.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to

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