AHL Power Rankings: Week Five

The AHL season is close to a month underway with some great teams rising to the top and a few struggling to even stay in the hunt. There have been a few standout rookies including New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome and New York Rangers prospect Danny Kristo. The Hockey Writers ranks all 30 AHL teams below.

1. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (8-1-0-1)

Off to the best start in the league, the Penguins picked up three points out of four in two games against their East Division rivals, the Hershey Bears, this past weekend. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is first in the league in offense, averaging 3.80 goals per game.

Upcoming Schedule: November 6th vs. Syracuse, 8th vs. Albany and 10th at Springfield

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2. Milwaukee Admirals (6-0-2-0)

The Admirals have had a pretty light schedule to this point, only playing eight games. They’re eighth in goals for (3.13) and second in goals against (2.13).

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th, 9th at Texas and 10th at San Antonio

3. Manchester Monarchs (8-1-1-2)

Young forwards Brandon Kozun (13 points), Jordan Weal (12) and Tanner Pearson (11) have been the offensive leaders for the Manchester who only have one regulation loss. Goaltender Martin Jones (8-1-2) has a 2.02 goals against average and .933 save percentage in the Monarchs’ net.

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

4. Norfolk Admirals (7-2-0-3)

Rookie net minder John Gibson (5-1-2) picked up his fifth win of the season in Norfolk’s shootout victory over Hershey Sunday night. He has a 1.61 goals against average and .951 save percentage through nine games. The Admirals are first in goals against, allowing 2.08 per contest.

Photo Credit: (John Wright/Norfolk Admirals)
Photo Credit: (John Wright/Norfolk Admirals)

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th and 9th vs. Syracuse

5. Grand Rapids Griffins (7-2-1-1)

Last year’s Calder Cup champions don’t seem to be slowing down at all. They’re 2nd in the league in goals per game, averaging 3.73 per matchup. Wingers Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Jurco have combined for 25 points.

Upcoming Schedule: November 6th vs. Rockford and 8th at Hamilton

6. Springfield Falcons (7-2-0-1)

Former New York Rangers prospect Tim Erixon leads Columbus’s AHL affiliate with nine points in six games. Springfield is fourth in goals against, allowing 2.30 goals per game.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th vs. Adirondack and 10th vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

7. Syracuse Crunch (6-3-1-0)

Rookie winger Nikita Kucherov leads the Crunch with 20 points in only ten games, including six power play goals. Vladislav Namestnikov has five goals and ten assists, including three power play tallies. Syracuse is second in the league on the power play, converting at a 27.8% rate.

Upcoming Schedule: November 6th at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and 8th, 9th at Norfolk

8. Abbotsford Heat (7-4-0-1)

Abbotsford’s late game success have been key to their impressive start, winning two games in overtime and two shootouts in five games. Corban Knight leads them with eleven points through twelve games.

Upcoming Schedule: November 5th, 6th vs. San Antonio and 9th, 10th vs. Toronto

9. Texas Stars (6-4-2-0)

Led by forward Travis Morin, who is tied for the AHL scoring lead with 20 points, the Stars are one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They’re 4-1 at home and face the Admirals this weekend, who are number two in this week’s power rankings.

Travis Morin (Ross Bonander / THW)
Travis Morin (Ross Bonander / THW)

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th and 9th vs. Milwaukee

10. Hartford Wolf Pack (7-3-0-2)

Rookie forward Danny Kristo has brought the offense after Rangers prospects’ Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller were called up to the New York Rangers. Kristo ranks eighth in AHL scoring with 13 points and places third in rookie scoring.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th vs. Providence and 10th at Providence

11. Rochester Americans (5-3-1-0)

The loss of goaltender David Leggio hasn’t waived the energy of the Americans. Phil Varone and Luke Adam lead their forwards with 12 and 11 points respectively.

Upcoming Schedule: November 6th vs. Hamilton, 8th vs. Binghamton and 9th at Binghamton

12. Hamilton Bulldogs (5-2-0-3)

Montreal’s AHL affiliate has played seven of their first ten games at home, posting a 4-1-0-2 record. Rookie right wing Sven Andrighetto has contributed seven points in ten games.

Upcoming Schedule: November 6th at Rochester, 8th vs. Hamilton and 10th vs. Utica

13. Binghamton Senators (6-4-0-0)

Currently fourth in the loaded East Division, the Senators enter this week on a one game win streak. Goaltender Nathan Lawson (5-1) is ninth in goals against average (2.22) and sixth in save percentage (.931).

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th at Rochester, 9th vs. Rochester and 10th at Hershey

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14. Toronto Marlies (5-3-1-0)

Defenseman T.J. Brennan is second in blue line scoring behind Aaron Johnson of Hartford with 12 points in nine games. The Marlies have a solid 4-2 record at home, but have played only three games away from their home rink.

Upcoming Schedule: November 5th at Utica and 9th, 10th at Abbotsford

15. Rockford IceHogs (7-5-1-0)

Rookie forwards Alex Broadhurst and Mark McNeill have eleven and ten points respectively to supplant top scorer Adam Clendening, a defenseman, who leads Rockford with 12 points. However, the IceHogs currently have a three game losing streak entering a road game on Friday.

Rockford Ice Hogs (Ross Bonander / THW)
Rockford Ice Hogs (Ross Bonander / THW)

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th at Grand Rapids and 8th, 9th vs. Iowa

16. Iowa Wild (5-4-0-0)

Having only played in nine games, Iowa sits fourth in the Midwest Division. Goalie Darcy Kuemper (3-3) has a 2.89 goals against average and .915 save percentage through six games in the Wild net.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th and 9th at Rockford

17. Charlotte Checkers (5-4-0-1)

Sitting third in the West Division, the Checkers have one of the top road records in the AHL at 5-2-0-1. They’ve only played two home games (0-2), but get to face the Wolves (3-2-0-1 road record) at their home rink twice this week.

Upcoming Schedule: November 7th and 9th vs. Chicago

18. Adirondack Phantoms (5-4-0-2)

Philadelphia’s AHL affiliate is led by young forwards Petr Straka, Nick Cousins and Jason Akeson. The trio has combined for 22 points through eleven games. They enter this week on a four game winning streak.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th at Springfield, 9th at Albany and 10th at Bridgeport

19. St. John’s IceCaps (5-6-1-0)

Workhorse net minder Eddie Pasquale (5-5) places 18th in goals against average (2.42) and tenth in save percentage (.925). Center Eric O’Dell leads St. John’s with eleven points in twelve games.

Edward Pasquale #40 Takes Out Opposing Goalie {A Sundays Drive - Flickr}
Edward Pasquale #40 Takes Out Opposing Goalie {A Sundays Drive – Flickr}

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th and 9th vs. Manchester

20. Chicago Wolves (4-6-0-1)

The Wolves have underachieved this season and their power play has been a disappointment as well, converting at a 12.3% rate, 26th in the league. They’ve been outscored by eight goals in the third period.

Upcoming Schedule: November 7th and 9th at Charlotte

21. Albany Devils (5-5-0-1)

New Jersey’s AHL affiliate is led by goalie Keith Kinkaid (2-1-1) who has helped Albany place eighth in goals against average at 2.64. Kinkaid is fourth in goals against average (1.97).

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and 9th vs. Adirondack

22. Providence Bruins (4-4-0-2)

The Bruins’ goalies and defense has underachieved, allowing 3.70 goals per game, 28th in the league. They’re averaging 35 shots against per contest. Forward Nick Johnson leads Providence with nine points in ten games.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th at Hartford, 9th at Worcester and 10th at Providence

23. Oklahoma City Barons (5-6-0-1)

The Barons haven’t found any substantial offensive game, sitting last in the league in goals per game (2.25). Edmonton forward prospect Linus Omark had a four goal game already this year and leads Oklahoma City with 12 points, averaging a point per matchup.

Upcoming Schedule: November 9th at San Antonio

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24. San Antonio Rampage (4-5-0-0)

Rookie forward Vincent Trocheck leads all Rampage skaters with 11 points in nine games. San Antonio ranks 14th on the penalty kill (83.0%) and 28th on the power play (11.4%).

Upcoming Schedule: November 5th, 6th at Abbotsford and 9th vs. Oklahoma City

25. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-5-1-0)

Rookie forward Ryan Strome is one of the few bright spots for the Sound Tigers, recording 14 points in nine games, second for all rookies in the AHL. Strome leads all rookies with six power play assists. The Sound Tigers currently have a two game winning streak. Goalie Anders Nilsson (3-3) has struggled mightily, posting a 3.65 goals against average and .879 save percentage.

Strome Islanders
Ryan Strome will pay his dues in the AHL for now, and fans should expect the forward to be called up when he is deemed 100% ready for NHL action. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Upcoming Schedule: November 9th at Hershey and 10th vs. Adirondack

26. Lake Erie Monsters (4-5-0-0)

Colorado’s AHL affiliate is playing nothing like their parent club, currently 14th in the Western Conference. They’ve played six home games to three road games. Bryan Lerg and Mark Olver have nine and eight points respectively.

Upcoming Schedule: November 7th and 8th vs. Utica

27. Worcester Sharks (3-4-0-0)

The Sharks rank second in penalty minutes, averaging 26.57 PIM per game. However Worcester is 11th on the penalty kill, performing at a 83.3% rate.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th at Portland, 9th vs. Providence and 10th vs. Portland

28. Hershey Bears (2-4-2-1)

Hershey’s offensive struggles from last season have continued, as they rank 25th in shots per game, averaging 27.67 per contest. They’re 21st in goals for (2.56) and 23rd in goals against (3.22).

Upcoming Schedule: November 9th vs. Bridgeport and 10th vs. Binghamton

29. Portland Pirates (2-5-0-1)

Portland ranks 25th in both the power play and penalty kill. The only players on their active roster to have more than four points are Chris Brown, Brandon Gormley and Daine Todd. All have five points apiece on the season.

Upcoming Schedule: November 8th vs. Worcester and 10th at Worcester

30. Utica Comets (0-6-1-1)

The only team yet to win a regulation game can’t seem to find any momentum. They rank 29th in goals for (2.25) and 30th in goals against (3.88). The Comets are 0-5 when trailing after two periods.

Upcoming Schedule: November 5th vs. Toronto, 7th and 8th at Lake Erie, 10th at Hamilton

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