Already in the 15th week of the American Hockey League regular season, The Hockey Writers gives their weekly Power Rankings. See where your favorite team ranks below. Engage in the conversation by giving a comment below.
1. Texas Stars (23-10-2-3)
Although they enter this week 2nd in the Western Conference, the Texas Stars sit first in this edition of AHL Power Rankings. Thanks to their 15-2-0-1 record at home, the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate trails Grand Rapids by a lone two points for the conference lead. Forward Travis Morin continues to lead the league and the team with 50 points in 32 games, ten points ahead of the next highest scorer.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th vs. Rochester, 17th and 18th at Charlotte
2. Binghamton Senators (23-11-0-3)
Currently leading the East Division in the Eastern Conference, the Senators continue to string wins together and enter this week with an 8-2 record in their past ten games. Their fourth ranked power play (22.2%) and shorthanded unit (11 shorthanded goals) have been key factors to their success.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th at Adirondack, 17th vs. Bridgeport and 18th at Syracuse
3. Springfield Falcons (25-8-1-3)
The lone team yet to reach double digits in regulation losses, the Falcons have hit their biggest dry spell of the season. Springfield enters the week on a three game losing streak, but still lead the league in winning percentage (.730). They’re the best in the league on the penalty kill at 90.2%.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th at Portland and 18th vs. Providence
4. Manchester Monarchs (25-10-2-4)
The Monarchs continue to etch themselves as Calder Cup contenders, boosting their status with the return of goaltender Martin Jones. Forward Jordan Weal continues to shine for Manchester, collecting 31 points in 41 games, 16th in AHL scoring.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th and 18th at St. John’s
5. Grand Rapids Griffins (25-10-1-2)
Last season’s Calder Cup champions sit first in the Western Conference, but fifth in THW’s power rankings this week. They enter the week after a win last weekend and are 4-5-0-1 in their past ten contests, due to some key promotions to the Detroit Red Wings.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th vs. Chicago, 17th and 18th vs. Abbotsford
6. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (22-11-1-3)
Like Grand Rapids, the Baby Penguins have also been hit hard by injuries and call ups to the NHL, but haven’t wavered. Led by their height on their blue line, defenseman Brendan Mikkelson sits 9th in AHL scoring by defensemen, with 22 points in 36 games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th at Providence, 18th at Portland and 19th at Providence
7. Chicago Wolves (20-13-1-2)
After a dismal start to the 2013-14 AHL season, Chicago has won three straight games and have one regulation loss in the past ten games (8-1-1-0). Veteran forward Keith Aucoin has rebounded after not even getting in the lineup for a stretch of games, with 17 points in 26 games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th at Grand Rapids, 17th vs. Toronto and 18th vs. Rockford
8. Toronto Marlies (20-11-2-2)
The Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate sits third in the Western Conference, going 6-2-1-1 in their past ten games. T.J. Brennan leads all AHL defensemen with 33 points in 35 games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th at Iowa and 17th vs. Chicago
9. Norfolk Admirals (20-13-1-4)
In the highly contested East Division like Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Admirals are also entering Calder Cup contender status. The play of their goalies and third ranked penalty kill (88.3%) have been instrumental to their success.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th and 18th vs. Worcester, 19th at Charlotte
10. Abbotsford Heat (24-13-1-1)
Although only 8-7-1-0 against the North Division, the Heat have reaped from their record against teams from the Midwest and West Divisions, going 16-6-0-1. Their third ranked power play (23.1%) has been essential to their success up to this point.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th at Rockford, 17th and 18th at Grand Rapids
11. Milwaukee Admirals (18-11-5-1)
Another rising team in the Western Conference, the Admirals continue to shine, going 5-4-1-0 in their last ten games. They have only three regulation losses at home this season (11-3-2-0).
Upcoming Schedule: January 16th at San Antonio, 18th and 19th at Oklahoma City
12. Albany Devils (21-11-3-2)
Albany is one of the surprise teams this season, after missing out on the AHL postseason again last season. They’ve been led by goal Keith Kinkaid who is seventh in goals against average (2.18) and is 14-7-0-1 on the season.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th at Utica, 18th at Adirondack and 19th at Hershey
13. Hamilton Bulldogs (19-15-0-4)
Montreal’s AHL affiliate has been about as productive as their parent club, sitting seventh in the Western Conference. They have one lone game on their schedule this week as the look to continue their recent success. They’re 7-2-0-1 in their past ten games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 18th vs. Utica
14. Providence Bruins (20-13-1-5)
Providence is a team I especially like for the Calder Cup, even if they lose players to the Boston Bruins come the NHL playoffs. A goalie tandem of Malcolm Subban and Nicklas Svedberg in the postseason could be deadly.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 18th at Springfield and 19th vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
15. Adirondack Phantoms (19-14-0-2)
After some dismal years in the bottom of the Eastern Conference over the past two seasons, the Phantoms have hung around long enough this season to label themselves as a postseason contender. They’ve been paced by goalie Cal Heeter and young players including Nick Cousins and Petr Straka have stepped up.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th vs. Binghamton, 17th vs. Hartford and 18th vs. Albany
16. Rockford IceHogs (18-17-3-2)
Although struggling with only three wins in their last ten games, Chicago’s AHL affiliate enters this week on a two game winning streak. Defenseman Adam Clendening has been key, contributing 31 points in 40 games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th vs. Abbotsford and 18th at Chicago
17. St. John’s IceCaps (19-15-1-2)
The IceCaps continue to be led in goal by Eddie Pasquale and currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference for the time being. Rookie defensemen Brenden Kichton is third in AHL blue line scoring with 30 points in 37 games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th and 18th vs. Manchester
18. Hershey Bears (17-13-3-3)
First year Hershey Bears coach Mike Haviland has continue to teach his players his philosophy and his team has responded. Paced by their top forward line of Nicolas Deschamps, Ryan Stoa and Brandon Segal the Chocolate and White are knocking on the door of a playoff spot.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th at Syracuse, 18th vs. Bridgeport and 19th vs. Albany
19. Worcester Sharks (17-15-2-1)
The Sharks hover short of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, trailing the eighth seed by four points. They’ve won three straight and there’s a legitimate reason for optimism with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th and 18th at Norfolk
20. Syracuse Crunch (16-14-2-4)
After some tough stretch earlier this season, Syracuse enters this week on a five game point streak (3-0-1-1). Forward Cedric Paquette is 14th in rookie scoring with 24 points this season.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th vs. Hershey and 18th vs. Binghamton
21. Rochester Americans (15-14-3-3)
Rochester is on the outside looking in as they will complete half their season following their games this weekend. They enter this week after a win last weekend.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th at Texas, 17th at Oklahoma City and 18th at San Antonio
22. Lake Erie Monsters (17-16-0-3)
Like Rochester, Lake Erie sits outside of a playoff spot heading into this weekend. They’re struggling of late, having lost three straight games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th and 18th at Iowa
23. Charlotte Checkers (17-18-0-1)
After getting blown out by the Hershey Bears at home in a two game set earlier this week, Charlotte has made a big turnaround. They enter this week on a three game winning streak.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th and 18th vs. Texas
24. Portland Pirates (15-14-1-5)
The Pirates are one of the few teams to be above .500, but rank this low, as they sit 13th in the Eastern Conference. However, they’ve been outscored by 12 goals this season despite their record.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th vs. Springfield and 18th vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
25. Iowa Wild (15-16-2-2)
Defenseman Brian Connelly has been a bright spot for the Wild, ranking 16th in defensemen scoring with 19 points in 33 games. They’ve lost two straight games and have only 83 goals on the season.
Upcoming Schedule: January 15th vs. Toronto, 17th and 18th vs. Lake Erie
26. Oklahoma City Barons (14-19-1-5)
The Barons offense has been effective, but their defense is the reason they are five games under .500. They allow the second most goals per game, allowing 3.33 past their net minder each contest.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th vs. Rochester, 18th and 19th vs. Milwaukee
27. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (14-20-1-4)
Even after they strung some wins together with Ryan Strome, things have gone south quickly in Bridgeport. Even with 37 games remaining on their schedule, the Sound Tigers are figuratively eliminated from the postseason already.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th at Binghamton, 18th at Hershey and 19th vs. Hartford
28. San Antonio Rampage (14-20-1-3)
Although they sit 14th in the Western Conference, the Rampage enter this week on a three game point streak (2-0-1-0). San Antonio’s offense ranks 23rd in the league, averaging 2.58 goals per game.
Upcoming Schedule: January 16th vs. Milwaukee and 18th vs. Rochester
29. Utica Comets (11-19-2-3)
In a new location, Utica has struggled for most of the season and don’t have on regulation win in their past ten games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th vs. Albany and 18th at Hamilton
30. Hartford Wolf Pack (11-20-0-5)
The Rangers’ AHL affiliate is the worst team in the league by points percentage (.375) and don’t have a regulation win in their past six games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 17th at Adirondack and 19th at Bridgeport