AHL Contenders: Breaking down the highest six hopefuls for the Calder Cup

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Milwaukee has been the category of the AHL all season, however the Calder Cup race stays tight. Here is a take a look at six groups with one of the best probability at AHL playoff glory.Karl Taylor and the Milwaukee Admirals|Minas Panagiotakis/Getty ImagesJust about every part has gone proper for the Milwaukee Admirals this season. A 22-5-Zero document from Oct. 25 by way of Jan. 1 despatched the Admirals to the highest of the league standings – with 82 factors, they sit firmly in first place heading into the stretch run.
The Admirals have made it previous the convention quarterfinal simply as soon as prior to now decade and have made the AHL ultimate simply twice since shifting over from the IHL in 2001, profitable a title in 2003-04. However whether or not it’s having two of the highest goaltenders within the league, two of one of the best point-per-game forwards in Daniel Carr and Yakov Trenin or a stout, veteran protection corps, the Admirals are nearly as good as ever and primed for a Calder Cup run.
Led by coach Karl Taylor – a number one candidate for an NHL promotion over the following few seasons, the Admirals have had only a few missteps alongside the way in which this season. With 19 video games to go, 50 wins aren’t out of the query for a crew with 37 already – in the event that they do, it could be the primary time in crew historical past the place the Admirals had 50 wins, however the sixth time hitting a minimum of 100 factors.
Milwaukee has been the crew to beat all season lengthy, however which golf equipment are the closest challengers? Right here’s a take a look at 5 different groups that might make a powerful case for the Calder Cup this season and dethrone the defending Charlotte Checkers:
Iowa Wild, 76 factors (NHL affiliate: Minnesota)When you have got the 2 high scorers within the league, you’re certain to be a severe championship contender. Sam Anas (63 factors) and Gerry Mayhew (61) prepared the ground, and Mayhew can be in even higher standing if it wasn’t for a stint with Minnesota. Brennan Menell has been one of many league’s finest defensemen, main a ‘D’ group that has strong depth. The Wild appear to search out offense from nearly in every single place and Kaapo Kahkonen is among the finest goalies within the league with a 24-6-2 document and 6 shutouts, so the Wild have a well-rounded group.
Belleville Senators, 75 factors (NHL affiliate: Ottawa)The Senators may, maybe, have probably the most thrilling group of younger prospects within the AHL proper now. Josh Norris, a 20-year-old that left the College of Michigan after two seasons, has been spectacular with 58 factors in 52 video games (together with 19 prior to now 12 video games) and if he doesn’t stick up within the NHL lengthy, he’s a real contender for the AHL high scorer’s award. Alex Formenton and Drake Batherson aren’t far behind and Rudolfs Balcers might be a pleasant addition as soon as he returns. Joey Daccord’s stats aren’t nice within the Belleville internet, however he can get the job performed.
Hershey Bears, 74 factors (NHL affiliate: Washington)It wouldn’t be an AHL common season with out the Bears proving as soon as once more why they’re one of many strongest franchises within the league. In reality, of the highest 5 groups within the league proper now, the Bears are the one ones with an NHL crew in spitting distance of the Stanley Cup, too. In contrast to the groups forward of them, although, the Bears are doing it with no single participant recording 40 factors – as a substitute, 12 have a minimum of 20, showcasing a crew constructed round depth. Daniel Sprong might be a pleasant addition to a bunch that has Philippe Maillet and Matt Moulson up entrance, and the online tandem of Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek offers the Bears an opportunity to win each single night time.
Hartford Wolf Pack, 71 factors (NHL affiliate: New York Rangers)Not having Igor Shesterkin out there attributable to harm whereas with the massive membership is a giant loss for the Wolf Pack, however the remainder of the crew has confirmed able to choosing up the slack. AHL veteran Jean-Francois Berube is within the fray and will spell Adam Huska with some key begins down the street. Julien Gauthier, acquired from Carolina final week in alternate for Joey Keane, is nearly as good as energy forwards come this season and might be a incredible addition to the membership as soon as he returns to the minors. Brett Howden, who has spent the season with New York, can be eligible for the post-season, in order that’s a giant pickup. AHL veterans Vinni Lettieri, Steven Fogarty and Boo Nieves make up the crew’s lead ahead group, however Rangers followers wish to see a bit extra out of Vitali Kravtsov, too.
Windfall Bruins, 70 factors (NHL affiliate: Boston)Having one good goalie is sweet. Having two? That’s a bonus. The Bruins have gotten good goaltending out of Max Lagace and Dan Vladar this season, one thing not all the highest contenders have. Jack Studnicka’s 42 factors is sweet for fourth amongst AHL rookies and first amongst Windfall forwards, so search for him to make a splash earlier than a possible NHL call-up subsequent season. AHL vets Paul Carey and Brendan Gaunce have been good as anticipated however the protection group of Alex Petrovic, Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen, amongst others, has been a blast to look at. With a 7-2-1 document over the previous 10 video games, solely the Wild have been higher down the stretch as of late.
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Tags: prospects, ahlConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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