AHL Power Rankings: Week 1

The 2013-14 American Hockey League (AHL) regular season schedule began Friday night, with a few teams standing out. Numerous teams have yet to play a game to this point. The Hockey Writers begins weekly power rankings for the AHL that will continue through the entire regular season. Rankings are determined by record, season projections among other factors.

1. Grand Rapids Griffins

Weekly Record: 1-0-1

The defending Calder Cup champions began the new season with a bang, outscoring their opponents by an 11-5 mark. Right wing Gustav Nyquist leads the Griffins with four points through two games and five of Grand Rapids’ players have three or more points.

Wathier Mzarek

(Ross Bonander/THW)

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th at Hamilton Bulldogs

2. Toronto Marlies

Weekly Record: 2-0

Toronto picked up two early wins to begin the year, outscoring their opponents 9-4. Defenseman T.J. Brennan leads the club with six points in two games and Trevor Smith has three goals and two assists to lead all Toronto forwards. Goalie Drew MacIntyre has held a 1.95 goals against average and .922 save percentage over that span.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th vs. St. John’s IceCaps

3. Charlotte Checkers

Weekly Record: 2-0

Former Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra joined the Checkers and has registered four shots on goal through two games. Charlotte outscored their opponents 6-4 in their first week of action.

Upcoming Schedule: Don’t play till October 19th vs. Iowa Wild

4. St. John’s IceCaps

Weekly Record: 1-0-1

The IceCaps are averaging four goals per game to start the season and feature a dynamic offensive attack. Six skaters have more than two points and center Eric O’Dell leads the team with four goals.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th at Hamilton Bulldogs and October 12th at Toronto Marlies

5. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Weekly Record: 1-0

Wilkes-Barre Scranton opened their season with a 5-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. They scored two power play goals in their first game and forwards Chris Conner and Harry Zolniercyzk totaled two goals apiece.

Upcoming Schedule: October 13th at Syracuse Crunch

6. Chicago Wolves

Weekly Record: 1-1

Chicago features a fierce group of forwards led by AHL veterans including former Hershey Bear Keith Aucoin. Former Ottawa Senators prospect Corey Locke has two points through two games.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th and 13th vs. San Antonio Rampage

7. Syracuse Crunch

Weekly Record: 0-0-1

The Crunch scored three goals in their opener, but lost by a 4-3 score in overtime. Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Joey Mormina joined the team this offseason.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th vs. Rochester Americans and October 13th vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

8. Abbotsford Heat

Weekly Record: 1-1

The Heat have seven goals through two contests, but only picked up one victory. Winger Ben Hanowski has three points through two games, and all signs point to Abbotsford competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference this season.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th and 12th vs. Milwaukee Admirals

abbotsford

9. Binghamton Senators

Weekly Record: 1-0

Binghamton has been a tough team to play against the past few seasons and Eastern Conference clubs should be expecting no different this season. They’re off to a 1-0 start and feature Senators’ defensive prospect Cody Ceci on the blue line.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th and 12 at Norfolk Admirals

10. San Antonio Rampage

Weekly Record: 1-1

The Rampage have yielded only three goals defensively this year, giving them a win and a loss to start the 2013-14 campaign. Forward Jon Matsumoto leads the club with two goals, with one of them coming on the power play.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th and 13th at Chicago Wolves

11. Springfield Falcons

Weekly Record: 1-0

The Falcons should be in contention for a playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference and are led by AHL veterans Andrew Joudrey, Patrick McNeill and Ryan Craig.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th vs. Worcester Sharks and October 13th at Bridgeport Sound Tigers

12. Adirondack Phantoms

Weekly Record: 1-0

Brandon Manning rammed home a rebound Saturday night at Giant Center as the Phantoms defeated the Hershey Bears 4-3 in their home opener. Adirondack features young talented forward prospects including Nick Cousins, Michael Raffl, Tye McGinn and Brandon Alderson.

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th at Hartford Wolf Pack and October 12th vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

13. Norfolk Admirals

Weekly Record: 1-0-1

Norfolk picked up three points to begin the year and feature two talented netminders with Frederik Anderson and John Gibson in goal. Center Rickard Rakell has two goals to led the Admirals in scoring.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th and 12th vs. Binghamton Senators

14. Hershey Bears

Weekly Record: 0-0-1

Hershey battled back against Adirondack in Mike Haviland’s debut as the next Bears’ head coach, but fell 4-3 in overtime. They had 31 players on the roster entering opening night.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

15. Iowa Wild

Weekly Record: DNP

The Wild have yet to play this season and are affiliated with the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th and 13th vs. Oklahoma City Barons

16. Texas Stars

Weekly Record: 1-1

Travis Morin leads Texas in scoring with six points through two games and has scored three of the Stars seven goals.

Upcoming Schedule: Do not play until October 15th at Oklahoma City Barons

17. Providence Bruins

Weekly Record: 1-1

Providence finished first in the Eastern Conference last season, but fell to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the playoffs. They’re led by several young forward prospects including Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th vs. Manchester Monarchs and October 12th at Portland Pirates

Providence Bruins (Goaliej54/flickr)

Providence Bruins (Goaliej54/flickr)

18. Hartford Wolf Pack

Weekly Record: 1-0-0-1

The recently relocated Wolf Pack, formerly the Connecticut Whale, picked up their first win of the season on Sunday, defeating the Albany Devils 4-3. Young forward J.T. Miller netted two goals and an assist for Hartford following his demotion from the New York Rangers.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th vs. Adirondack Phantoms and October 12th at Adirondack

19. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Weekly Record: 1-1

Bridgeport’s a fringe playoff team with an unreliable defense. They’ve allowed eight goals through two games. Islanders’ prospect Ryan Strome has three points in two games and could be headed to Long Island in the near future.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th vs. Manchester Monarchs and October 13th vs. Springfield Falcons

20. Milwaukee Admirals

Weekly Record: DNP

The Admirals have yet to play a game this year and are unlikely to make the postseason. Forward Taylor Beck recorded 41 points in 50 games last season and is the top goal scorer to return to Milwaukee for this year.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th and 12th at Abbotsford Heat

21. Manchester Monarchs

Weekly Record: 0-0-0-1

Manchester is led by young forwards Linden Very, Tyler Toffoli and Jordan Weal. The big question is can the Monarchs defend enough to reach the playoffs?

Upcoming Schedule: October 9th at Portland Pirates, October 11th at Providence Bruins and October 12th at Bridgeport Sound Tigers

22. Utica Comets

Weekly Record: DNP

The Utica Comets were shutout by the Hershey Bears 6-0 in the preseason and have yet to play a regular season game. They’re affiliated with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

Hershey Bears Center Matt Watkins assists Josh Brittain in scoring on September 27, 2013. (Ann Erling Gofus/The Hockey Writers)

Hershey Bears Center Matt Watkins assists Josh Brittain in scoring on September 27, 2013. (Ann Erling Gofus/The Hockey Writers)

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th at Rochester Americans and October 12th at Albany Devils

23. Rockford IceHogs

Weekly Record: 1-1

Rockford is expected to be towards the bottom of the AHL’s league standings this year. They’ve allowed six goals through two contests, but have one win to show for.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th and 12th at Lake Erie Monsters

24. Lake Erie Monsters

Weekly Record: 1-2

Lake Erie leads the league in games played with three, but is averaging four goals in their net per game. Colorado Avalanche defensive prospect Stefan Elliot is a player to watch and already has four points from the Monsters’ blue line thus far.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th and 12 vs. Rockford IceHogs

25. Worcester Sharks

Weekly Record: DNP

The Sharks feature numerous returning players this season but will finish near the cellar in the Western Conference.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th at Springfield Falcons

26. Hamilton Bulldogs

Weekly Record: DNP

The Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, begin their season Friday at home. Forward Gabriel Dumont led them in scoring last year with 31 points, but they’re expected to finish at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th vs. St. John’s IceCaps and October 12th vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

27. Portland Pirates

Weekly Record: DNP

Portland finished sixth in the Eastern Conference last season, but a return to the playoffs might be too much to ask for. Andy Miele registered 53 points in 70 games for the Pirates last year.

Portland Pirates logo

Upcoming Schedule: October 9th vs. Manchester Monarchs and October 12th vs. Providence Bruins

28. Albany Devils

Weekly Record: 0-1

Albany dropped its season opener on Sunday, losing to the Hartford Wolf Pack by a 4-3 score. Devils prospect Reid Boucher looks to have a breakout season in hopes of reaching the NHL.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th vs. Utica Comets

29. Oklahoma City Barons

Weekly Record: 0-2

Oklahoma is a veteran squad and won’t have NHL talent like they did last year during the lockout. Ben Eager joined the team in hopes of earning an NHL contract at some point this year.

Upcoming Schedule: October 12th and 13th at Iowa Wild

30. Rochester Americans

Weekly Record: 0-1

Rochester lost elite AHL goalie David Leggio to Hershey this offseason and it will crush them severely. They added forward Jamie Tardif from Providence this summer.

Upcoming Schedule: October 11th vs. Utica Comets and October 12th at Syracuse Crunch

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.

Matthew Speck

Matthew Speck

Matthew Speck covers the Washington Capitals organization for The Hockey Writers. He's credentialed for Washington's AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, and covers most home games. Matthew also covers high school sports for the Lebanon Daily News. You can email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.
Matthew Speck

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