I can't help but look back to an incident involving a Kelowna Rockets 20 year-old when viewing the situation currently facing Colin Long.
Cam Paddock was drafted as an 18 year-old by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2002 after being overlooked in his draft year. The same goes for Long, who was also drafted at 18. Paddock would impress the Penguins organization so much in the fall of 2003 (as a then 20 year-old) that they signed him to a pro contract in early October and sent him down to their American Hockey League team. After a few exhibition games and one regular season games with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Paddock was sent back to the Rockets where he played the remainder of the season and a birth in the 2004 Memorial Cup. Paddock would miss the Rockets first 9 regular season games before returning October 15/03 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Here was a 20 year-old player, signed and sent down by the NHL team to its AHL affiliate, yet still ended up playing his overage season in Kelowna.
You have to wonder if Colin Long is on a similar path? It just goes to show you that it can happen. It's rare, but it does happen.