AHL Report for December

by Kyle Stewart on December 11, 2019

Nashville’s 2015 2 nd rounder Yakov Trenin scores his first-NHL goal in his second call-up game for the Predators (Photo courtesy of nhl.com)

 

Highlights & Updates from November’s AHL Report 


Joey Keane, D (Hartford)
Since the November AHL Report, Keane has only continued to flourish in his first
professional hockey season. Despite the Wolf Pack going through a rough stretch over the past
ten games with a record of 4-3-2-1 (now that’s some nice symmetry…), Keane has continued to
pile up the points with seven assists in his last ten games, including a current four-game point
streak. He sits 4th in defencemen scoring behind San Antonio’s Derrick Pouliot, Iowa’s Brennan
Menell, and Syracuse’s Cameron Gaunce.

 

Brogan Rafferty, D (Utica)
Rafferty has been on fire since the publishing of our November issue. In the eight games
since then, Rafferty has posted seven points and has been used in plenty of crucial situations for
Coach Trent Cull’s Utica Comets. The absence of Olli Juolevi (injury; hip) further allowed
Rafferty to take on greater offensive responsibilities.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.phantomshockey.com/

 

Morgan Frost, C (Leigh Valley)
The last AHL Report might have been the end of Frost’s AHL tenure. He ended up
being called up to the Philadelphia Flyers the same day and has not looked out of place. Playing
more of a mixed offensive role for the Flyers, Frost has recorded four points in 10 games to start
off his NHL career.

 

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News and Notes from Around the AHL

 

Bakersfield Condors

Evan Bouchard, D

As one of the Oilers top defensive prospects, there has been a lot of eyes and attention
placed on Bouchard’s development this season. While some expected him to be in Edmonton
given their lack of star power on the blue line, Bouchard has remained a staple for the Condors.
Offensively, Bouchard has acquitted himself well with 14 points in 22 games. His success with
the London Knights in terms of running a power play and being a regular contributor has
certainly continued, however so have many of the same concerns over Bouchard’s defensive
game. Granted, Bakersfield really is not a very strong team this year and likely won’t make the
playoffs, Bouchard still needs to figure out the fine balance between being a defenceman who
can contribute on the rush and the man advantage, while not being a liability in his own end.

 

Belleville Senators

Drake Batherson, RW

 

Photo courtesy of https://bellevillesens.com/

 

One of the hottest scorers since our last report, the Ottawa Senators’ prospect has been
dominant for Belleville, resulting in Batherson currently leading all AHL scorers in points.
Including four multipoint games, Batherson has posted 14 points in his last seven games. With
the Senators seemingly falling back to Earth and losing six out of their last seven as of December
9th, one would have to think a Batherson recall won’t be too far away. That being said, his stint in
the AHL has certainly helped him regain the confidence he will need to pair with his above
average speed, hands, and hockey sense to become a difference-maker for Ottawa.

 

Grand Rapids Griffins

Moritz Seider, D

On a poor Griffins squad, Seider has been a bright spot. Certainly not without growing
pains of adjusting to the AHL after playing last season in Germany’s DEL, Seider has impressed
with his decision making and ability to break out the puck. He’s a strong skater for a man his size
and still projects very promisingly for the future of the Red Wings backend. Expect Seider to
join and lead Germany’s World Juniors squad and have a big tournament. As Seider goes,
Germany will go as well – it’s likely he has a big showing personally and that will translate into
a more confident game upon his return to Grand Rapids.

 

Milwaukee Admirals

Yakov Trenin, C

Held pointless only four times all season, the 6’3, 215lbs Russian pivot has made steady
improvements in his game since being drafted in the 2 nd round of the 2015 Entry Draft by
Nashville. Currently in his fourth AHL season with the Admirals, with 26 points in 19 games (14
goals, 12 assists) Trenin sits sixth in league scoring and is surely only a handful of games away
from eclipsing his past career-high of 33 points. Second only to Utica’s Reid Boucher in points
per game for players who have played a majority of the AHL season, Trenin’s always been a
highly-skilled offensive forward with top-notch playmaking acumen. It appears Trenin may have
finally learned what is necessary to succeed in the professional game with regards to effort,
conditioning, and taking care of his own zone. At the very least, the Predators have seemed to
have taken note, recalling Trenin on December 6th for a second stint. Currently still with the big
club, Trenin has played in two games for the Predators averaging just over 10 minutes of time on
ice and recently recorded his first NHL goal December 7th in a 6-4 win over the New Jersey
Devils.

 

Providence Bruins

Jack Studnicka, C

 

Photo courtesy of https://www.providencejournal.com/

 

Boston’s second-round selection (#53) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has had a productive
start to his AHL career, including a couple of games with the parent club. Appearing to possess
both an NHL skillset and maturity, Studnicka has been given the opportunity to develop as a
natural center in the AHL (as opposed to debuting as a winger in a limited role in Boston). With
good speed to go along with a solid frame, Studnicka uses his physical attributes well in
conjunction with great vision and awareness in the offensive zone. Recently coming off of a six-game goal-scoring streak, Studnicka is relied on contributor for Providence and looks to play
an integral role should he remain in the AHL for the remainder of the season.

 

San Jose Barracuda

Joachim Blichfeld, RW

Drafted by the Sharks in 2016 with the second to last pick in the whole draft, Danish
winger Blichfeld has developed into an offensive driver for the Barracuda, moving up the league
leaders’ short-list with 17 points in 19 games. Coming off a hot streak of 10 points in seven
games, putting up big numbers is nothing new for Blichfeld after he obliterated WHL defenses
last year as the league’s leading scorer (points and goals) and as the league’s Player of the Year
trophy winner. A shoot-first player, Blichfeld isn’t shy of the dirty areas close to the net, often
feasting off rebounds and tips to bury second chances. Over the last few years, while Blichfeld
has always had the offensive skill and hockey IQ to thrive, he’s seen a real improvement in his
skating, particularly his first few steps, as well as his defensive details. Coming from the seventh
round, there is no question that Blichfeld represents a legitimate prospect with NHL potential for
the Sharks moving forward.

 

Texas Stars

Jason Robertson, LW

After leading the OHL in points with 117 (48 goals, 69 assists) in 2018-19, Robertson has
had a slower adjustment to professional hockey in Texas. While not necessarily a “classic”
example of a high scoring junior player who doesn’t possess the skating level to be a dominant
pro, Robertson does still have his limitations in this department as well. Still projected to become
more of a two-way, all-around forward with above-average hands and offensive tools, Robertson
has started to figure out the AHL in a positive way. Recently the AHL’s reigning player of the
week, Robertson has been on a tear with 10 points in his seven games, including six goals. With
NHL skill and size, if Robertson can continue to develop his skating (especially early
acceleration and jump) and manage the defensive responsibilities at this level, there is a chance a
call-up could come sooner than later if the injury bug hits Dallas on the wings.

 

 

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Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this month’s edition of the AHL
Report! Have any questions or requests? Shoot me a follow and/or a DM on Twitter at
@Kyle_AHLReport!


Kyle Stewart is the author of Dobber Prospects ‘AHL Report’. Born and raised in
Vancouver, B.C., in addition to prospect scouting, Kyle has a Masters’ in sport psychology and
works with athletes of all levels as a Mental Performance Consultant in Ottawa, Ontario.