Top 15 Minor League Hockey Player of the Year Candidates

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Top 15 Minor League Hockey Player of the Year Candidates
Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

While the NHL season melts at a glacial but increasingly worrisome pace, leaned-on Edmonton Oilers youngster Taylor Hall has just signed an AHL deal with the Oklahoma City Barons. As early as Friday’s home date with the Houston Aeros, the Barons will suddenly have the two most recent No. 1 overall NHL draft picks with at least one NHL season on their transcript, the other being Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

As the specter of a 2004-05 reprise of the season-slaughtering NHL lockout goes, so goes the shape of the silver linings that come with it. Most, if not all, NHL fanbases are seeing some of their franchises' top young talent in the organization’s AHL garb, while still a few other established major leaguers are playing “Double A” in the ECHL.

Last time around, locked-out Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza garnered the AHL’s MVP award, while Scott Gomez did the same in the ECHL with his hometown Alaska Aces.

If there is to be a comparable occurrence in the top minor leagues in 2012-13, the primal candidates are as follows.

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