The Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Impact on the AHL

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This is former-Admiral Chris Mueller. He has been in the Stars organization this season and, as of last night, played in his first ever Stanley Cup playoff game. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

I noticed a very cool sight while binge watching the Stanley Cup playoffs last night. Chris Mueller, long-time member of the Milwaukee Admirals and Nashville Predators, was playing his first ever NHL playoff game last night as a member of the Dallas Stars. It was fantastic to see that for him.

Then I heard another name I’ve heard plenty during this season at the AHL level, Colton Sceviour. Both have played a decent amount of NHL time this season, true, but the majority of their 2013-14 campaigns have been spent at the AHL level with the league’s top team the Texas Stars.

It got me wondering just how thin certain AHL playoff teams might be if their parent clubs are competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. What players are competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs right now that spent some time at the AHL level this season.

Boston Bruins, NHL. Providence Bruins, AHL.

The Bruins are both in the playoffs so that’s just the sort of example I’m looking at. A man who has found himself out of the AHL and into the thick of the Stanley Cup playoffs is Justin Florek. He played sixty-nine games in the AHL this season and scored 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists). For those who watched the Bruins/Red Wings game on Sunday afternoon you’ll have seen him score a goal. He played four NHL games in the regular season and two games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He is the Providence Bruins sixth best scorer on the team.

Detroit Red Wings, NHL. Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL.

Can you believe that Gustav Nyquist actually played fifteen games in the AHL this season? Me either. That said, the Red Wings have had plenty of yo-yo action between the NHL and AHL this season. Just look at the following list to see who has made the trip back-and-forth and where they currently stand.

Riley Sheahan (NHL), Jordin Tootoo (AHL), Cory Emmerton (AHL), Tomas Jurco (NHL), Landon Ferraro (AHL), Petr Mrazek (AHL), Luke Glendening (NHL), Alexey Marchenko (AHL), Ryan Sproul (AHL), Adam Almquist (AHL), Teemu Pulkkinen (AHL), Mitch Callahan (AHL), and Xavier Ouellet (AHL).

The bulk of that list consists of their young pool of talent – many of whom won last season’s Calder Cup. Mostly, the AHL team isn’t stretched too thin.

Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL. Syracuse Crunch, AHL.

This one, and the next one for that matter, is easy to diagnose because HEY their AHL affiliate isn’t in the playoffs! There’s a few in that respect in the playoff list here – and the opposite end of that spectrum as well.

Players who were recalled just prior to the Lightning’s playoff run included Cedric PaquetteKristers Gudlevskis, and Andrej Sustr.

Montreal Canadiens, NHL. Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL.

As I said in the last one – the AHL affiliate is not in the playoffs. So, who did the Canadiens bring on up to the Stanley Cup playoffs from Hamilton? None. In fact the last player that was recalled by Montreal who seemed to stick was Michael Bournival on 3/23/14.

Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, AHL.

Similar to the Red Wings and Griffins – there has been plenty of activity up and down this season. As someone who is a Pens fan, sorry about that, I can tell you first hand that injuries sure come in abundance out of Pittsburgh – which lead to this sort of high traffic up, down, and around affair.

Current players that are in the Stanley Cup playoffs, who could well be competing in the Calder Cup playoffs if not for injury issues, are Chris ConnerBrian Gibbons, and Jayson Megna. Players that were added to the AHL roster recently include Simon Despres and Chuck Kobasew.

Columbus Blue Jackets, NHL. Springfield Falcons, AHL.

Both are in the playoffs and two players were recalled ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs: Wisconsin-native Jack Skille and former-Admiral Jeremy Smith. The last player to be reassigned to the from Columbus was Tim Erixon on 4/11/14.

New York Rangers, NHL. Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL.

The next few teams feature NHL sides who made the playoffs with AHL teams that didn’t. The Rangers recent recalls, ahead of the playoffs, include J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast.

Philadelphia Flyers, NHL. Adirondack Phantoms, AHL.

The only name I see in recent record being recalled by the Flyers is Chris VandeVelde. Yet, I do not see him actually listed on most website’s NHL roster. There wasn’t too much to pull from the Phantoms roster in the first place. So, for all I know, he was instantly told to enjoy his off-season.

Colorado Avalanche, NHL. Lake Erie Monsters, AHL.

When the Monsters’ AHL season ended the Avalanche raided them with recalls: Sami AittokallioKarl StolleryJoey HishonDuncan SiemensColin SmithCalvin Pickard, and Andrew Agozzino. With just how ridiculous their playoff series is getting with Minnesota, who knows, they might need all of them.

Minnesota Wild, NHL. Iowa Wild, AHL.

The only Minnesota recall in April that has really lasted was a move to reinforce the goaltending woes. John Curry was brought up on 4/2/14. No other members from Iowa have been recalled and maintained.

St. Louis Blues, NHL. Chicago Wolves, AHL.

Depending on how long the Blues last – this could be one of the more interesting watches as far as NHL/AHL depth is concerned. The Blues were pretty banged up heading into the playoffs and saw the likes of Ty Rattie getting a call up. For the most part things are stable. The Blues haven’t ransacked their AHL team or anything (dagnabbit) so both are in a decent place as far as their rosters go.

Chicago Blackhawks, NHL. Rockford IceHogs, AHL.

The IceHogs aren’t up to much these days. The Blackhawks certainly are so they decided to recall just about everyone when the AHL season ended.

Adam ClendeningAlex BroadhurstTerry BroadhurstBrad MillsBrandon MashinterBrian ConnellyDrew LeBlancGarret Ross, Mark McNeillMathieu BriseboisPhillip DanaultRyan HartmanKlas Dahlbeck, Mac CarruthJason LaBarbera, and Kent Simpson.

Hey, you never know when you need to change from a Stanley Cup contender to a line-brawl squad right?

Anaheim Ducks, NHL. Norfolk Admirals, AHL.

The Evil Admirals and Ducks are both in playoff mode right now and there were a few moves made at the end of the AHL season: Sami Vatanen (AHL), Mark Fistric (NHL),  John Gibson (AHL), and Emerson Etem (NHL).

Dallas Stars, NHL. Texas Stars, AHL.

The teams that started off my whole idea behind this story. I already mentioned Mueller and Sceviour. Truth is, that’s just about it in regards to who Dallas has pulled from the AHL squad ahead of the playoffs. Sceviour has been up for awhile now -but- think of how much more lethal the Texas Stars would be having him link back up with Travis Morin.

San Jose Sharks, NHL. Worcester Sharks, AHL.

San Jose, in. Worcestershire Sauce, out. That meant very Rockford levels of activity. The San Jose Sharks recalled all of the following players to the NHL at the conclusion of the AHL season.

Dylan DeMeloEriah HayesFreddie HamiltonMatt PelechMirco MuellerTaylor DohertyTravis OleksukTroy GrosenickHarri Sateri, and Matt Tennyson.

Los Angeles Kings, NHL. Manchester Monarchs, AHL.

Both are in the playoffs and, honestly, I feel it is the Monarchs who have a better chance to do playoff damage this season. Perhaps it is just such a reason as to why Andrew Campbell and Linden Vey had such short recalls late in the season.

The Other Guys

In terms of the opposite, there are a decent number of AHL teams that made the playoffs whose parent clubs did not make the playoffs. Yeah, that’s us. So who might be seeing added pieces join the Calder Cup playoffs who spent some time in the NHL this season?

Ottawa Senators, NHL. Binghamton Senators, AHL.

Towards the end of the season the Sens sent the Sens: Mark StoneJean-Gabriel Pageau, and Cody Ceci. It’s also worth noting that they have signed two ATO deals: Vincent Dunn and Chris Driedger.

Winnipeg Jets, NHL. St. John’s IceCaps, AHL.

A mass from Winnipeg was reassigned to St. John’s this month: Ben ChiarotCarl KlingbergEric O’DellMichael HutchinsonPatrice Cormier, and Zach Redmond. They have a combined fifty-six NHL games played this season.

New Jersey Devils, NHL. Albany Devils, AHL.

In April, Albany signed two ATO deals: Graham Black and Ben Johnson. Additionally they received reinforcements from New Jersey: Adam LarssonJon MerrillMike SisloTim Sestito, and Eric Gelinas,

Edmonton Oilers, NHL. Oklahoma City Barons, AHL.

 The Barons received a lot of their players back from the Oilers prior to the final AHL weekend: Oscar KlefbomRoman HorakSteve PinizzottoTyler PitlickWill Acton, and Anton Lander.

Buffalo Sabres, NHL. Rochester Americans, AHL.

The Amerks, as they call themselves very Russian-ly, may have had the most busy transaction feed in the AHL during April. They have seen the returns of Chad RuhwedelAndrey MakarovConnor KnappMark PysykNick Deslauriers, and Rasmus Ristolainen this month.

Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL. Toronto Marlies, AHL.

Did you just creep forward on your seat? Good, because this is the team that we’ll be playing against in the first round of the playoffs. The Maple Leafs reassigned Drew MacIntyrePeter HollandPetter GranbergTrevor Smith, and Jerry D’Amigo at season’s end.

Out of all the players that will make a massive dent – former-Admiral and Marlies number one netminder MacIntyre outta top the list. The Admirals haven’t had the opportunity to play against him this season. And that should make a big difference having him in net for Toronto.

Nashville Predators, NHL. Milwaukee Admirals, AHL.

Finally a team I don’t have to do a full investigation on! With the NHL season winding down the Admirals, that’s us, saw the return of Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok. The two combined for twenty-nine NHL games in Nashville this season.

Calgary Flames, NHL. Abbotsford Heat, AHL.

The Heat added three players on an ATO basis at season’s end: Coda GordonDoug Carr, and Eric Roy. They also added Ryan Culkin – who was recently signed by the Calgary Flames to a three-year entry level contract. In addition, the Flames sent them Ben HanowskiChad BillinsChris Breen, and Markus Granlund.

What teams are being impacted the most from one-another’s playoffs? Who is benefiting? Who is hurting? What is the single biggest addition that can make a serious difference?

4 thoughts on “The Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Impact on the AHL”

  1. Having just seen the Heat play, they put Granlund on a line with Reinhart and Emile Poirier and among them they picked up 11 points in two games. Corey Locke centers the second line. With Billins back and Ortio in net I think the Heat will knock the Griffins out.

  2. I recall seeing Darcy Kuemper playing for Iowa earlier this year. Was it just a conditioning assignment? Or am I thinking of last year?

  3. The Flyers recalled Jason Akeson before the last regular season game after he spent all year with the Phantoms,

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