AHL Report – October 2018

Brayden Olafson

2018-10-08

 

Welcome back, everyone!

It’s the first Monday of the month and that means it’s time for some AHL talk. If you caught any of the features last year, you might recognize several of the young names who are making impressions early on this NHL season – we’ll talk about some of them later on.

 

The AHL is possibly the most important development league in the world as far as NHL teams are concerned. Some franchises, in fact, like Nashville and Detroit almost never promote one of their players to their major league club prior to them first cutting their teeth in the AHL. The league often acts as a stepping stone where skilled prospects hone their game to an NHL respectable level, or at times, a purgatory where ripened prospects wait for an appropriate role to become available in the NHL.

So, to kick it off, let’s get in to some of the players you’ll want to keep an eye on this year…

 

High Profile Prospect “Vets”

The term veteran is being applied very loosely here… Typically, the journeymen type veterans who’ve played upwards of four seasons in the league are on a downward trajectory as far as NHL potential goes. The following players are guys who’ve already spent a season or more making an impact in the league and are extremely close to making an NHL impact. They’re either being held back by their club’s roster limitations, cap implications or some details they’re working including responsible two-way play. In any case, they already have the potential to become fantasy relevant NHL players and you should keep an eye on them in the short-term.

 

Josh Ho-Sang | Bridgeport Sound Tigers |22 years old

The carousel-of-doom continues for Ho-Sang under the Islanders revamped management core. He’s come close to proving that he is capable of producing middle-of-the-lineup type offense at the NHL level, but has yet to truly cover his other bases in the AHL. Obviously the Isle’s feel he has more to give and will benefit from the demotion. Not to worry though, surely Matt Martin and Ross Johnston will fill the offensive void in his absence (sarcasm is difficult to imply in writing… but if you didn’t catch that, they will not fill the void). Expect him to be near the top of the team’s recall list.

 

Mason Appleton | Manitoba Moose | 22 years old

Returning to the Moose after his rookie-of-the-year AHL campaign just a year ago, Appleton was forced out of the Winnipeg Jets roster by sheer depth. While another stint in the minors certainly isn’t a surprise for the 22-year-old, Appleton would likely already slot in on a few other NHL rosters. His opportunity for success in the AHL this year is immense – far different from what kind of success he would see in a depth role with the Jets. With the organization’s already potent offense, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Appleton dangled as a high-value trade chip come February.

 

Sami Niku | Manitoba Moose | 21 years old (22 on October 10th)

Sami Niku, in many ways, should already be a Winnipeg Jet. Last year’s Eddie Shore Award winner has a supreme offensive skill set, and has a more well-rounded game than several of the Jet’s depth defenders. It’s been argued that for Niku to make the Jet’s opening night roster, he’d have had to blow away the competition in camp, and that it wasn’t good enough for him to simply, be better. Regardless of the nature of his demotion, fantasy owners, and Niku himself need only look back twelve months to the book of Kyle Connor, to see reason for optimism.

 

Andrew Mangiapane | Stockton Heat | 22 years old

Two years removed from eclipsing the 100-point plateau with the Barrie Colts, Mangiapane continues to sustain his offense with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. In 39 games with the Flames affiliate, the 5-10 sophomore tallied a more-than-respectable 46 points including 21 goals. His chance to break into the NHL came l