AHL Power Rankings: Week 18

1. Texas Stars (28-14-2-3)

Texas tops our AHL Power Rankings once again, also leading the West Division. They’ve last only five games at their home arena this season (19-5-0-1) and AHL leading scorer Travis Morin continues to dominate pretty much every team he plays. He has 65 points in only 41 games.

Travis Morin
Travis Morin (Texas Stars Hockey)

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th vs. Oklahoma City, 8th and 9th at Abbotsford

2. Grand Rapids Griffins (29-13-2-2)

Last year’s Calder Cup Championships sit second in our rankings and sit atop the Western Conference, with a one point lead over the Stars. Goalie Tom McCollum is 5th in the AHL with 18 wins in net for Detroit’s AHL affiliate this campaign.

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th vs. Lake Erie, 7th at Toronto and 8th at Rochester

3. Manchester Monarchs (30-13-2-5)

The Monarchs are the first Eastern Conference team to appear on this week’s Power Rankings, currently leading the Eastern Conference with a six point edge over Springfield. They’re 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games and enter this week on after a win last weekend in hopes of stringing more victories in succession.

-Upcoming Schedule: February 8th vs. Providence and 9th vs. Albany

4. Binghamton Senators (29-14-0-3)

The Senators are my favorite to win the East Division and they aren’t letting up one bit in the most talented division in the AHL. Forward Mike Hoffman recently won AHL player of the week and is second in league scoring with 55 points in 44 games.

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Upcoming Schedule: February 5th vs. Portland and 8th vs. Hamilton

5. Abbotsford Heat (28-14-3-1)

Calgary’s AHL affiliate sits 14 games over .500 and enters this week on a five game point streak (3-0-2-0). Recently recalled net minder Joni Ortio was second in the AHL with 19 wins on the season, only trailing Drew MacIntyre of Toronto who had 20 victories in goal.

Joni Ortio
Joni Ortio (Ross Bonander/THW)

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th, 5th vs. Charlotte, 8th and 9th vs. Texas

6. Chicago Wolves (25-16-2-2)

Chicago was a team I viewed as a Calder Cup contender and they fit that mold right now. They have a three game winning streak and trail the top seed in the Western Conference by just six standings points.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th vs. Utica, 7th at Iowa and 9th at Milwaukee

7. Springfield Falcons (28-12-1-4)

Once atop the entire American Hockey League, the Falcons have hit a snag of late. They haven’t won in their last five games (0-4-0-1) and have just three wins in their last six games. However they only trail the top seed by six points and have five games in hand. They still hold the best winning percentage in the AHL at .678.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th vs. Albany, 7th vs. Syracuse, 8th at Syracuse and 9th at Providence

8. Toronto Marlies (26-15-2-2)

Sitting third in the Western Conference, the Marlies continue to climb up the Western Conference standings. They’re led offensively by forward Spencer Abbott and defenseman T.J. Brennan who have combined for 93 points on the season.

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Upcoming Schedule: February 5th vs. San Antonio, 7th vs. Grand Rapids and 9th vs. Hamilton

9. Rochester Americans (22-15-3-3)

The Americans are the hottest team in the AHL and enter this week on a seven game winning streak. They have six players with 20 points or more on the season and have played well even with the promotion of Phil Varone to the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL.

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th vs. Syracuse, 7th vs. Hershey and 8th vs. Grand Rapids

10. St. John’s IceCaps (26-16-1-2)

Like the Americans listed one spot above, St. John’s is also enjoying streaky success lately. They’ve won six straight contests and have just two losses in their last ten games (8-2).

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th and 5th vs. Providence, 8th and 9th vs. Worcester

11. Norfolk Admirals (24-14-17)

The Admirals finished a three games in three nights stretch Sunday night in Hershey, where they fell 3-1 to the Bears, AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals. With John Gibson in goal for the foreseeable future, Norfolk should be in the running for a Calder Cup championship.

Upcoming Schedule: February 7th and 8th vs. Hartford

12. Hershey Bears (24-15-3-3)

Crunch forward Jon DiSalvatore
Crunch forward Jon DiSalvatore and Hershey defenseman Chay Genoway chase after the puck (Annie Erling Gofus/The Hockey Writers)

The Bears have yet to lose a home game since the New Year, collecting nine straight wins at Giant Center. They could add to their total this weekend with two important home contests. Their top line of Ryan Stoa, Nicolas Deschamps and Brandon Segal turned the season around when they were put together by first-year Hershey coach Mike Haviland.

Upcoming Schedule: February 7th at Rochester, 8th vs. Portland, 9th vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

13. Milwaukee Admirals (21-13-6-4)

The Admirals find themselves eight games over the .500 mark, even though they’ve been outscored this season. Having six scorers with 25 points or more has been crucial to their recent strong play.

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th vs. Hamilton, 7th vs. Utica and 9th vs. Chicago

14. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (26-16-1-3)

Hindered by multiple call ups to the Pittsburgh Penguins throughout this season, it’s amazing that the Penguins are where they are, fourth in the Eastern Conference. They enter this week on a two game winning streak and face their biggest rival Sunday night in Hershey.

Upcoming Schedule: February 7th vs. Portland, 8th vs. Adirondack and 9th at Hershey

15. Charlotte Checkers (22-20-0-1)

After a dismal start to the 2013-14 season, the Checkers find themselves competing for a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs. They trail the eighth seed by only five points and are 8-2 in their last ten games.

Jared Staal
Jared Staal Photo Credit: ( Gregg Forwerck/Charlotte Checkers)

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th and 5th at Abbotsford, 7th and 9th vs. Oklahoma City

16. Worcester Sharks (22-18-3-1)

San Jose’s AHL affiliate is still in the playoff hunt and enter this week on a two game winning streak. Their 12-6-1-3 record in one goal games has been essential to their above average play this season.

Upcoming Schedule: February 8th and 9th at St. John’s

17. Albany Devils (24-14-3-4)

Once one the best teams in the AHL, the Devils have tapered off severely of late. They’re 4-4-0-2 in their last ten games and hold a playoff by just three standings points.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th at Springfield, 8th at Bridgeport and 9th at Manchester

18. Iowa Wild (19-16-5-3)

Iowa is another hot team that started out the year crawling, but find themselves in the playoff chase. They’re 4-2-3-1 in their past ten games and have a eight game point streak (4-0-3-1).

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th vs. Utica, 7th vs. Chicago and 8th at Rockford

19. Hamilton Bulldogs (20-20-0-4)

Montreal’s AHL affiliate sits at the .500 mark as the second half of the season gets in gear. They have yet to lose a game when leading after two periods, going 14-0-0-1.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th at Rockford, 5th at Milwaukee, 8th at Binghamton and 9th at Toronto

20. Providence Bruins (23-18-1-5)

While I think Providence can go far in the playoffs, they sit 20th in this week’s Power Rankings. They only have three wins in their last ten games.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th and 5th at St. John’s, 8th at Manchester and 9th vs. Springfield

21. Rockford IceHogs (21-21-4-2)

Rockford currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, only two points above the Iowa Wild. They get a big chance at three wins this week and enter after a win last weekend.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th vs. Hamilton, 8th vs. Iowa and 9th vs. Utica

22. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (19-23-1-4)

Brigdeport is probably one of the few teams I’d say are out of the playoff race. They trail a playoff spot by nine points and have been outscored 123-149 this season. A turnaround seems extremely improbable.

Upcoming Schedule: February 8th vs. Albany and 9th vs. Adirondack

23. San Antonio Rampage (17-21-3-4)

The Rampage have been awful this season, but enter this week on a five game point streak (2-0-2-1). A contest in Toronto against the Marlies is a good matchup to see how they fare against Calder Cup contenders.

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th at Toronto, 7th and 8th at Lake Erie

24. Adirondack Phantoms (22-20-0-2)

The Phantoms picked up a convincing 4-1 victory over the Hershey Bears Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia, with Tye McGinn picking up three points. The play Hartford on Tuesday, a team they have struggled to beat this season.

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th at Hartford, 8th at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and 9th at Bridgeport

25. Utica Comets (16-21-2-4)

Vancouver’s recently relocated AHL affiliate holds the second worst winning percentage of the entire AHL and enters this week on a two game losing streak. They face a very tough stretch of games this week, all coming on the road.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th at Chicago, 5th at Iowa, 7th at Milwaukee and 9th at Rockford

26. Oklahoma City Barons (18-22-1-5)

The Barons, AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, seem to play just like their parent club, sitting at the bottom of the standings with no upside. However, they enter this week on a two game win streak and head south to faceoff against the Stars.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th at Texas, 7th and 9th at Charlotte

27. Hartford Wolf Pack (16-23-0-5)

The Wolf Pack have played better of late with the assignment of J.T. Miller to their club, going 5-5 in their last ten contests. They’re 7-6-0-2 when they outshoot their opponent.

Upcoming Schedule: February 4th vs. Adirondack, 7th and 8th at Norfolk

28. Syracuse Crunch (17-20-2-5)

The Crunch once were competitive in the talented East Division, but are playing their worst brand of hockey this season right now. They haven’t won a regulation game in their past seven contests (0-6-0-1).

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th at Rochester, 7th at Springfield, 8th vs. Springfield

29. Lake Erie Monsters (19-21-0-4)

Like Syracuse, Laker Erie has been atrocious lately. They only have two wins in their past ten games and face an extremely difficult game Wednesday against Detroit’s AHL affiliate.

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th at Grand Rapids, 7th and 8th vs. San Antonio

30. Portland Pirates (16-19-2-7)

Although only three games under .500, Portland sits last on our Power Rankings this week, likely for the first time this season. They have three games against East Division teams this week. Any victory would be a huge upset for Phoenix’s AHL affiliate.

Upcoming Schedule: February 5th at Binghamton, 7th at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and 8th at Hershey

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