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Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle look at bright side of AHL reps

Oct 1, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

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rnheberlegetty Getty Images

Much like the last lockout, many up-and-coming players will receive unexpected reps at the AHL level.

Even with Nail Yakupov in the KHL, the Edmonton Oilers boast some of the biggest names who might enjoy the confidence boost of playing against lesser competition.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are among the players likely to dominate as short-term Oklahoma City Barons. They put a positive spin on the situation for The Canadian Press.

RNH discussed what parts of his game he wants to work on and how it might compare to what he learned while watching his team while he was injured last season.

“A big thing for me is I want to be a two-way centre,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “I take a lot of pride in my defense, and that’s something I’m definitely going to be focused on.”

“There were some positives from the injury. Watching the game from upstairs, I was able to see it from a different perspective, and I believe it will help me moving forward.”

Eberle also wants to improve his all-around game, yet he mentioned the interesting – if subjective – benefits that could come from playing for a successful AHL squad.

“I’m going to work on my defense and penalty kill,” Eberle said. “With the lockout, this is the next-best option here in North America. They made it to the conference final last season, and we want to continue that success. The winning attitude is great and something we want to take back with us to Edmonton. I’m going to enjoy this experience.”

It should be a treat for Barons fans, too.

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