Prospect Ramblings: The AHL Playoff Picture and Beauty First Goals

Hayden Soboleski

2017-03-12

Looking at the state of the AHL scoring and playoff races in this Sunday Ramblings…

 

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AHL teams are around the 60-game mark, meaning battles for playoff spots will be heating up as teams work towards the 76-game final mark (other than the Pacific Division, who will only be playing 68). Lets see how the divisional standings look this morning:

AHL playoffs start separated by division, with 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 from every group (no wildcard spots like the NHL). 

 

In the Atlantic: The Penguins (PIT) would need to have a diasterous finish to miss the post-season, while Springfield and Hartford are essentially out of the running. The Bears (WAS), Tigers (NYI), and Bruins (BOS) will have a crazy finish as only two of the three will earn spots.

 

In the North: Rochester (BUF) ad Binghamton (OTT) won't be making a push and understandably moved players in trades to contenders. Anyone could come out on top in this division, which would end up being a playoff bracket bonus for someone in this weaker division. Utica (VAN), Toronto (TOR) and St. John's (MTL) are fighting for the number 3 and 4 spots.

 

In the Central: Much more separation here, as Grand Rapids (DET) and Chicago (STL) are 6-point- up on the third-pace Admirals (NSH), who are 8-points-up on the current fourth-place Wild (MIN). The reigning champion Monsters (CLB) could make a push for that final spot, as could the Checkers (CAR).

 

In the Pacific: San Jose (SJS) and San Diego (ANH) are looking like locks in the top-two, while Ontario (LAK) is also in good shape. After that – 4 teams within 4 points of each other. San Antonio (COL) is as out-of-it as their NHL affiliate, but the development teams of DAL, ARI, CAL, and EDM are all still in the running for what should a nail-biting finish to the season.

 

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Let's take a look at the scoring race as the season winds down. I wanted to show the top-ten, but the four-way tie for 10th makes it a longer list:

 

The points-per-game race is a close one, but the overall leader looks to be Kenny Agostino (STL)  of the Chicago Wolves. This is his third season in the AHL, and while he's always been a producer, this is his first time near the top. 

 

Chris Terry (MTL) is an AHL veteran – now in his 7th season and third organization. He looked to have secured an NHL spot in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons in Carolina, but has only seen limited time with the Habs this year. Perhaps the trade of Andrighetto at the deadline signals that Terry has earned a shot at a spot next season.

 

Most of the list is made of up AHL mainstays who may see NHL call-up time or even earn a full-time spot if their lucky, but there is one outstanding exception – Daniel O'Regan of San Jose. The rookie is nearly at a point-per-game pace and will crack the 20-goal mark soon. He has 113 SOG in 50 GP, and any scout will tel you that a huge sign of a smooth transition to the pro leagues is the ability to give yourself chances. This former 5th-round-pick is looking like a steal for the Sharks and we can't wait to see what he comes up with as an encore next year.

 

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It's been a great week for rookies scoring their first-ever NHL goals, so let's jump into recognizing these outstanding youngsters:

 

Adrian Kempe makes moves through traffic and finishes with one heckuva release:

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Believe it or not, Adrian Kempe had zero career NHL goals before this gem. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WSHvsLAK?src=hash">#WSHvsLAK</a> <a href="https://t.co/nKvtpPnG1o">pic.twitter.com/nKvtpPnG1o</a></p>&mdash; NHL (@NHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL/status/840805350316089344">March 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 

Valentin Zykov gets to the dirty area, stays strong on his feet, and pops in a rebound:

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">See it again: Valentin Zykov nets his first career goal in his <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL">@NHL</a> debut with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canes?src=hash">#Canes</a>. ? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Redvolution?src=hash">#Redvolution</a> <a href="https://t.co/X6lmwiy4Fi">pic.twitter.com/X6lmwiy4Fi</a></p>&mdash; Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLCanes/status/840201356006715392">March 10, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 

Josh Ho-Sang blasts a one-timer top-shelf through bodies:

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Josh Ho-Sang’s first NHL goal is a beauty <a href="https://t.co/VBuJQM5m8X">pic.twitter.com/VBuJQM5m8X</a></p>&mdash; Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) <a href="https://twitter.com/PeteBlackburn/status/839305055975124993">March 8, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 

Yanni Gourde does it right –  fighting of defenders to score a shorthanded beauty for his first:

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If you're going to score your first goal, make it a great one! Hats off to Yanni Gourde for this beauty! <a href="https://t.co/h4DX1Yt7Hp">pic.twitter.com/h4DX1Yt7Hp</a></p>&mdash; NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLDaily365/status/840751181773299715">March 12, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 

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For enthusiasts of the annual Minnesota State Al Hockey Hair unveiling, wait no longer. Game On! Minnesota released their yearly wrap-up of the best haircuts in the state. Let it flow gentlemen.

{youtube}2704OHdFVew{/youtube}

 

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As always, thank you for reading and best of luck in the fantasy hockey playoffs!

Hayden Soboleski

@soboleskih

 

 

 

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