Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are mortal locks to be skating in the NHL this coming season, but the McDavids and Eichels of the hockey world are rarities.
More often than not, the path to the NHL generally leads through the minor leagues or, if a player has the good fortune of being drafted to the Detroit Red Wings, their career path almost definitely sees some seasoning time in the AHL.
Thanks to the salary cap era, player development is at its peak and the competition level in the AHL is quite possibly the best it has ever been. As such, the talent level of the players has more than a handful ready for NHL rosters if they can impress in training camp. They’ll get their chance at a full-time big league job because they’ve proven they’re ready to make the jump or, in some cases, thanks to necessity.
Whatever the case may be, here are 10 players who spent more than half a season in the AHL in 2014-15 that could be spending the upcoming season in the big league: Read more
In late-May, it was reported that the Ottawa Senators had tabled an offer to free agent bench boss Luke Richardson in hopes that he would come back for at least one more season to coach the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.
That became a reality Tuesday, as the Senators announced the club and Richardson have come to terms on a new, one-year deal that will bring him back to Binghamton for the 2015-16 campaign.
“We’re very excited to have Luke back behind the bench next season,” said Binghamton Senators general manager Randy Lee in a release. “As we witnessed with last week’s development camp, the growth and development of the young players in our organization is one of our highest priorities. Luke has shown a tremendous ability to push our players to be better and, even more importantly, to be fully prepared when they get the call to the National Hockey League.” Read more
The Czech Republic came into the 2015 world juniors with high expectations thanks to its deepest lineup in years. But glory wasn’t to be had.
The Czechs struggled throughout their stay in Toronto, and everything ended with a dispirited quarterfinal loss to a much more game underdog squad from Slovakia. One player who didn’t disappoint, however, was David Pastrnak, the Boston Bruins first-rounder who had been playing in the AHL.
Had his team gone further at the world juniors, Pastrnak would have garnered more consideration for the tourney’s all-star team because of his combination of talent and drive. But even in the midst of the event, he knew his time in the AHL had been valuable so far. “It’s definitely different hockey,” he said. “I try to do my best, but sometimes it doesn’t go well and you feel bad. I have to get better with everything. I’m not satisfied right now.” Read more
The magnitude and volume of trades during draft weekend and the first few days of free agency has been impressive. Big names such as Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie and Milan Lucic were all given new addresses and in all three cases, prospects were part of the return.
In fact, many teams acquired future NHL hopefuls recently, so let’s take a look at some of the more prominent kids involved in this summer’s trade crop.
In the move from the ECHL to the AHL, the Bakersfield Condors kept their name, but after a slight alteration to the logo comes a brand new set of threads for next season and the Condors nailed it.
As with many AHL clubs, the Condors jerseys for the 2015-16 season will reflect their parent club’s jerseys, as Bakersfield will be wearing jerseys resembling those of the Edmonton Oilers. Much like Edmonton’s jerseys, the blue, white and orange combination pops, but where the Condors’ new sweater really stands out is on the shoulders. Read more
The 2015 draft has largely focused on North America, what with twin terrors Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel dominating headlines, with Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifin and Mitch Marner not far behind.
But there were some excellent prospects plying their trades on the other side of the Atlantic this season and they’re ready to let their skills do the talking.
The eventual adoption of 3-on-3 overtime for the NHL is a step forward, not to mention a crowning achievement for one of the sharpest minds in the game today. Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland has been advocating for this for five years and finally got his wish when the GMs recommended that the league go to 3-on-3 overtime, effective next season.
The rule change still has to be ratified by the NHL’s board of governors, but once something passes the muster of the GMs, that’s considered a rubber stamp.
“I’m happy,” Holland said. “I think 3-on-3 overtime is going to be very exciting for our fans.”
For years, the Detroit Red Wings had based much of their success on their ability to find late-round gems, almost always from Russia or Sweden. But that paradigm is shifting. The Wings’ top prospects are Canadians and Americans, and two of them – Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin – were first-round picks. That’s not to say the Wings have lost their magic in the late rounds. Finland’s Teemu Pulkkinen was drafted 111th overall in 2010 and defenseman Alexey Marchenko was taken 205th overall in 2011. Center Axel Holmstrom is now considered a steal, going in the 196th spot in 2014.