(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)
The St. John’s IceCaps are getting a different look thanks to a brand new affiliation with the Montreal Canadiens, and along with the change in affiliate could come a return to the post-season after a disappointing 2014-15 campaign.
In their third season in St. John’s in 2013-14, the IceCaps came three wins away from the franchise’s first Calder Cup, but in 2014-15, the team fell off hard. In a tough Eastern Conference, the IceCaps, then affiliated with the Winnipeg Jets, fell off hard and missed the playoffs by a dozen points. And a team that was offensively gifted in 2013-14 fell apart as they scored more than 70 fewer goals in 2014-15 than they had the year prior.
In 2014-15, the Hamilton Bulldogs, who will become this season’s IceCaps, missed the post-season by six points. That said, they packed significantly more offensive punch and are getting a number of fresh, young faces who could score in droves. Having the young players come in and score will be important, too, as five of their top-10 scorers from 2014-15 are gone. T.J. Hensick, Nick Sorkin, Eric Tangradi, Drayson Bowman and Davis Drewiske have all moved on, but in their place come young players such as Nikita Scherbak, Michael McCarron, Tim Bozon, Jeremy Gregoire and Brett Lernout.
The IceCaps will be one of the youngest teams in the league and it could be boom or bust in 2015-16. Read more
Trading card companies have made plenty of errors on hockey cards in the past. Sometimes, they might misspell a player’s name, print an incorrect stat or even use a photo of a teammate by mistake. But this gaffe from 40 years ago may trump them all. In the hockey card sets issued by Topps and O-Pee-Chee during the 1974-75 season, Montreal Canadiens center Jacques Lemaire is erroneously pictured as a member of the Buffalo Sabres — a team he never played for. A close-up photo had been doctored, with Sabres colors painted over Lemaire’s Canadiens jersey. According to the Hockey Hall of Fame website, it was speculated that Lemaire was going to be dealt to the Sabres, so the card companies responded in kind, albeit a bit prematurely. Read more
One of the most successful players in league history, Henri Richard, is battling Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report.
Le Journal De Quebec reported Friday evening that Richard, 79, was absent from the 22nd Hector “Toe” Blake Alzheimer Celebrity Golf Tournament, a tournament that was created in support of the Alzheimer Society of Montreal. Blake, the legendary Canadiens coach who won eight Stanley Cup patrolling the Habs’ bench, passed away in 1995 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
Richard’s condition is said to have worsened lately, according to Le Journal’s Pierre Durocher. Read more
After a week off for vacation, the mailbag returns in full force. The volume of questions is beginning to get fatter and that’s awesome, so keep them coming by hitting me up on Twitter with the hashtag #thnfutures. If your question isn’t answered this week, check back next time. Let’s get to it!
It would be disingenuous to say Daniel Briere came out of nowhere. After all, he was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes back in 1996, the same year he scored 163 points for Drummondville of the Quebec League.
But since he was waived by those same Coyotes seven years later, after failing to make a permanent impression on the club, it is remarkable to think how quickly he became one of the most dangerous players in the NHL shortly thereafter.
Status: Former NHL center for Anaheim, Phoenix and Montreal from 1995-1999.
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 195 pounds
DOB: Dec. 28, 1972 In: Havre St.-Pierre, Que. Read more
While there’s no award given for finishing as the best Canadian team in the NHL, it’s always a point of pride for the seven clubs north of the border.
In 2014-15, the Montreal Canadiens were practically carried by the incredible play of Carey Price, finishing atop the Atlantic Division and just three points back of capturing the Presidents’ Trophy. In addition to leading the charge in the Atlantic, though, the Canadiens also ended the campaign as the best Canadian club in the league — and, it just so happened, as the Canadian team with the best shot at capturing Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993.
Montreal has made some interesting additions to the lineup this off-season by acquiring struggling sniper Alexander Semin, grinder Zack Kassian and defenseman Mark Barberio. The trade deadline additions of Brian Flynn, Devante Smith-Pelly, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn will also get a full season in Montreal this time around. But in 2015-16, does Montreal finish atop the heap of Canadian teams again or does another club unseat them as the country’s best club? Read more
Championships can be won and lost between the pipes, and every season it seems a new goaltender emerges to take a top job or push a longtime starter for the No. 1 role.
It has been more than a decade since the Pittsburgh Penguins made Marc-Andre Fleury the first overall pick, but that doesn’t mean late-round selections and goaltenders taken outside of the draft’s opening round haven’t developed into blue chip prospects and the goaltending futures for their respective clubs. In Vancouver, there might be a 1A and 1B developing before either actually ends up as an NHL starter.
There are several goaltenders who could be taking the reins for their clubs in the next several seasons. Here are the five best goaltending prospects in the world, as ranked by our 2015 Future Watch edition: Read more