Building chemistry and rebuilding with momentum. If you’re the New Jersey Devils organization, what transpired in Albany this season is exactly what you want. The American Hockey League Albany Devils forged together a historic regular season.
Albany set franchise records with victories (46), points (102), fewest goals against (167) and wins at home (27). The 46 wins are tied (1994-95 and 1998-99) for second most in Albany AHL history. Their 102 points, recorded in 76 games, rank fourth all-time in Albany AHL history. Within those 27 home victories, Albany tied the 1995-96 squad with a run of eleven consecutive home wins.
From an individual standpoint, hardware was handed out and more records fell. Head Coach Rick Kowalsky earned the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award, as AHL Coach of the Year. Forward Mike Sislo and goalie Yann Danis were selected as AHL All-Stars. Sislo was also named a named to the 2015-16 AHL Second All-Star Team, potting a league best 14 power play tallies. Sislo also set the A-Devils career franchise mark with 92 goals. Danis set an Albany AHL single season record by registering eight shutouts. Danis also set an A-Devils regular season record with 28 victories.
On the A-Devils current roster, 14 players also skated with New Jersey this season.
The A-Devils enter the first round in their Calder Cup playoff matchup against the Utica Comets, having won three straight contests, finishing the April portion of the schedule with a ledger of 6-3-0-0. Judging by their season finale, both on the scoreboard and by virtue of how they stood up for one another, the club looks set up for a competitive postseason run.
Before we move forward, a look at how the A-Devils got to this point.
Balanced attack –
Along with the since traded Corey Tropp, Albany boasted seven players (Sislo, Jim O’Brien, Reid Boucher, Matt Lorito, Paul Thompson, Brian O’Neill and Blake Pietila) with double-digit goals. Sislo’s 27 paced the club.
— Albany Devils (@AlbanyDevils) April 16, 2016
Keeping the puck out –
As mentioned above, the Devils set a single season franchise mark by yielding only 167 goals. A combination of speed, heavy defense and stellar netminding was crucial all season. Between Danis (eight), Scott Wedgewood (two) and Ken Appleby (one), Albany posted 12 shutouts and concluded the campaign with 131 minutes and 51 seconds of scoreless play. Most steady on the blueline, Vojteh Mozik was a plus-28, Seth Helgeson a plus-15, Dan Kelly a plus-eight.
Special teams –
Much like their parent club in New Jersey, the A-Devils were superb on special teams. Albany ranked third in the league on the penalty kill (87.2%). On the power play, the Devils ranked eighth (18.3%) and only allowed a league low one short-handed goal.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.