The NHL lockout has left hockey fans with fewer options, but the 2012-13 AHL season is set to open over the weekendand the Houston Aeros begin play on Saturday against the Charlotte Checkers. The Aeros are the affiliate for the Minnesota Wild, and that means that several Wild prospects will be in action. Niklas Backstrom and Jared Spurgeon headline Houston's squad from a local perspective, but there are plenty of NHL-caliber prospects that populate the league as a whole.
The Aeros start the season on Oct. 13 against Charlotte, and they continue with their first road game of the season against the San Antonio on Sunday.
The AHL is developmental pipeline for NHL squads, and some pro talent will be making its way onto the ice in AHL action over the next few months while the NHL lockout continues. Here's a look at the 2012-13 AHL schedule and a list of NHL affiliates for each team.