With the NHL Olympic break upon us, the American Hockey League will be the main focus for pro hockey in the United States. The season is already halfway over with a few teams rising to the top. Take a look for your favorite team in this week’s AHL Power Rankings by The Hockey Writers.
1. Texas Stars (27-12-2-3)
Although they don’t have the best winning percentage (.670) in the Western Conference, the Stars top the Power Rankings this week. They’ve been dominant at their home arena, going 18-3-0-1.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th vs. San Antonio, February 1st vs. Toronto and 2nd vs. Oklahoma City
2. Springfield Falcons (28-10-1-4)
The Falcons have the lowest amount of regulation losses (10) in the league and sit second in the Eastern Conference standings. They have zero regulation wins in their last three games (0-2-0-1) and enter this week 4-5-0-1 in their last ten games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Worcester and February 1st at Bridgeport
3. Grand Rapids Griffins (28-12-2-2)
Detroit’s AHL affiliate continues to thrive in the Western Conference, ahead of Texas by one point. Forward Teemu Pulkkinen is 12th in AHL scoring with 37 points in 44 games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st vs. Chicago and February 1st at Milwaukee
4. Manchester Monarchs (28-12-2-5)
Sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference, L.A.’s AHL affiliate face tough matchups against the Senators and IceCaps this week. They enter this week on a three game point streak (2-0-0-1).
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st vs. Binghamton, February 1st vs. St. John’s and 2nd at Portland
5. Binghamton Senators (27-13-0-3)
Ottawa’s AHL affiliate continues to thrive regardless of player promotions to the NHL level. Forward Mike Hoffman has been steady for the Senators’ forwards, recording 30 assists in 41 games for third in AHL assists.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th vs. Worcester, 31st at Manchester and February 1st at Portland
6. Toronto Marlies (25-13-2-2)
Defenseman T. J. Brennan continues to produce on the Toronto blue line and leads all defensemen with 43 points in 42 games. The Marlies are 7-2-0-1 in their last ten games as they head south for three games this week away from their home rink.
Upcoming Schedule: January 30th at Oklahoma City, 31st at San Antonio and February 1st at Texas
7. Chicago Wolves (23-15-2-2)
After a really tough stretch to start the season, the Wolves sit fifth in the Western Conference. They enter this week on a two game winning streak and are 6-3-1-0 in their past ten games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th at Rochester, 31st at Grand Rapids and February 1st vs. Iowa
8. Abbotsford Heat (26-14-3-1)
Calgary’s AHL affiliate has two very winnable home games this week against the Bulldogs in hopes of pushing their point streak to four streak games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st and February 1st vs. Hamilton
9. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (25-14-1-3)
Although the fell to the rival Hershey Bears Sunday night, the Penguins still sit fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. They’re second ranked defense has been the key, allowing 2.45 goals per game.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th vs. Syracuse, 31st vs. Norfolk and February 1st vs. Rochester
10. Norfolk Admirals (22-13-1-7)
Anaheim’s AHL affiliate sits sixth in the Eastern Conference and enters this week on a six game point streak (3-0-0-3). They’re eighth ranked defense has been instrumental to their recent success, allowing 2.65 goals per game.
Upcoming Schedule: January 28th vs. Charlotte, 31st at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, February 1st at Syracuse and 2nd at Hershey
11. St. John’s IceCaps (24-16-1-2)
The IceCaps have the second longest winning streak in the Eastern Conference, winning four consecutive games as they enter this week. Both their offense and defense rank in the top ten of the AHL.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Portland and February 1st at Manchester
12. Hershey Bears (22-14-3-3)
The Hershey Bears are climbing quickly up the Eastern Conference standings and recently completed a six point, three win week finalized by a home win over the Penguins. They’ve won five straight overall and eight straight games at Giant Center. The Washington Capitals recalled forward Ryan Stoa from Hershey on Tuesday.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Adirondack, February 1st at Adirondack and 2nd vs. Norfolk
13. Rochester Americans (19-15-3-3)
Buffalo’s AHL affiliate is in a race for the postseason, unlike the parent club. They’ve won four straight as they have three big games this week.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th vs. Chicago, 31st vs. Rockford and February 1st at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
14. Albany Devils (23-14-3-3)
After a blazing start to the 2013-14 season, the Devils have cooled off considerably. They haven’t earned a regulation win in their past four games and are 4-5-0-1 in their past ten contests.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st vs. Bridgeport and February 1st at Hartford
15. Milwaukee Admirals (20-13-6-3)
The Admirals have played well for the majority of the season and are nearing the top of the Western Conference. Their success when trailing after the first period (7-5-1-1) has been an important part of their success.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Iowa and February 1st vs. Grand Rapids
16. Rockford IceHogs (20-20-4-2)
Although they only sit at .500 42 games into the season, Rockford finds itself at the seventh seed in the Western Conference. They’ve won two straight games and have two very winnable games this week, finishing with a matchup against the Comets on Saturday.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Rochester and February 1st at Utica
17. Worcester Sharks (20-17-3-1)
The Sharks are a dark horse candidate to surprise in the Calder Cup playoffs and are 7-1 in games decided after regulation. They’ve picked up four wins when trailing after two periods (4-13-1-0).
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th vs. Binghamton, 31st vs. Springfield and February 1st vs. Providence
18. Iowa Wild (19-16-3-3)
After a few tough stretches at the beginning of the season, Minnesota’s AHL affiliate has a six game point streak (4-0-1-1) and have gone 5-2-1-2 in their past ten games. They are tied for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st vs. Milwaukee and February 1st at Chicago
19. Providence Bruins (22-17-1-5)
After finishing as the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season, the Bruins are in an unfamiliar spot, outside of the playoff race. They’re 4-6 in their past ten games, but they have the players to turn it around quickly.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Hartford and February 1st at Worcester
20. Charlotte Checkers (21-19-0-1)
The Checkers were one of the worst teams in the AHL in the first two months of the 2013-14 season, but trail a playoff spot in the Western Conference by only a single point. They’ve won four straight and are 8-2 in their past ten games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 28th at Norfolk, 31st at Lake Erie and February 1st at Lake Erie
21. Adirondack Phantoms (21-18-0-2)
Times are tough at the moment for Philadelphia’s AHL affiliate after some big wins earlier this month. A big reason has been their inability to comeback in games, going 1-12 when trailing after two periods.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th at Hartford, 31st vs. Hershey and February 1st vs. Hershey
22. Hamilton Bulldogs (20-18-0-4)
Montreal’s AHL affiliate is still a few standings points out of the playoffs, like many other teams in the bottom third of these power rankings. A 14-0-0-1 record when leading after two periods highlights their ability to close out teams late in games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Abbotsford and February 1st at Abbotsford
23. Portland Pirates (16-16-2-7)
The Coyotes’ AHL affiliate has struggled of late and face a daunting task with matchups against the IceCaps, Senators and Monarchs set for this week. They have just two regulation wins in their past ten games.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st vs. St. John’s, February 1st vs. Binghamton and 2nd vs. Manchester
24. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (18-22-1-4)
Although at the bottom of this week’s power rankings, the Sound Tigers enter this week on a four game winning streak. There’s some hope for a run at the postseason and they trail the eighth seed by nine points.
Upcoming Schedule: January 31st at Albany and February 2nd vs. Springfield
25. San Antonio Rampage (16-21-2-4)
San Antonio is one of the worst teams statistically speaking and it all starts with their defense. They’ve given up 152 goals on the season, most in the league per game (3.45).
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th at Texas and 31st vs. Toronto
26. Oklahoma City Barons (16-22-1-5)
Upcoming Schedule: January 30th vs. Toronto and February 2nd at Texas
27. Syracuse Crunch (17-18-2-4)
Although just one game below .500, the Crunch sit in the bottom five of this week’s rankings. They’re on a four game winning streak and rank 24th and 22nd in offense and defense respectively.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 31st at Utica and February 1st vs. Norfolk
28. Lake Erie Monsters (17-20-0-4)
Lake Erie, like Syracuse, is struggling mightily, but to a higher extent. They have zero wins in their last eight games (0-7-0-1) and allow 3.27 goals per game, 26th in the American Hockey League.
Upcoming Schedule: January 28th at Utica, January 31st vs. Charlotte and February 1st vs. Charlotte
29. Utica Comets (15-20-2-3)
Like the club listed below, Utica is one of the worst teams in the league. They scored the second least amount of goals per game (2.45) and their defense isn’t much better (23rd, 3.10 goals against).
Upcoming Schedule: January 28th vs. Lake Erie, 31st vs. Syracuse and February 1st vs. Rockford
30. Hartford Wolf Pack (14-22-0-5)
J.T. Miller and Danny Kristo are the lone bright spots for the anemic Wolf Pack who rank 27th and 29th in offense and defense respectively. However, they enter this week after a win last weekend.
Upcoming Schedule: January 29th vs. Adirondack, 31st vs. Providence and February 1st vs. Albany