AHL alumni able to battle for Stanley Cup

SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts … The Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens are prepared for the Stanley Cup, and the record of finalists is stuffed with AHL All-Stars, Calder Cup winners and different American Hockey League graduates.

Tampa Bay’s entry into the finals – the second in a row and third in seven years – was sparked by AHL alumni as 19 of the 22 Lightning gamers dressing for a sport this postseason made it by means of the American Hockey League. 13 of those gamers developed within the Tampa Bay system and performed for his or her high accomplice, the Syracuse Crunch.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper coached the Tampa Bay AHL subsidiary for practically three years earlier than advancing to the NHL in 2013. Cooper received the AHL’s Louis AR Pieri Memorial Award for Excellent Coach in 2011-12, the yr he took the Norfolk Admirals to the Calder Cup championship with a workforce that included Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat.

Johnson and Palat returned to the Calder Cup ultimate with Syracuse in 2013, crowning a yr by which Johnson received the AHL MVP award and Palat led the AHL within the playoffs with 26 factors in 18 post-season video games. Present Lightning assistant Rob Zettler led this workforce to the championship collection after Cooper moved to Tampa Bay.

Syracuse additionally reached the ultimate in 2017, with a line-up that included Anthony Cirelli and Yanni Gourde, whose shorthand aim on Friday gave the Lightning a 1-0 win in Sport 7 towards the New York Islanders. Gourde performed 298 video games in elements of six seasons within the American Hockey League earlier than scoring 20 targets within the NHL.

Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Level, the 2 high scorers within the NHL this postseason, and Andrei Vasilevskiy began their skilled careers in Syracuse with a median of 1.99 targets conceded, 0.936 hit charges and 4 shutouts in 18 playoff begins. Kucherov opened the 2013/14 season with the crunch and picked up 24 factors in 17 video games earlier than graduating to Lightning; Level was 19 years previous when he made his debut with Syracuse on the finish of the 2014-15 season; and Vasilevskiy had a save proportion of 0.923 in 37 AHL video games within the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns. Erik Cernak, Ross Colton and Mathieu Joseph additionally began their approach into the NHL with the crunch.

4 Lightning gamers have been AHL All-Stars throughout their growth years, together with Johnson (2013), Gourde (2017), Barclay Goodrow (2016) and Curtis McElhinney (2007, 2013).

Different AHL Lightning alumni embrace Ryan McDonagh, Blake Coleman, David Savard and Patrick Maroon, who made 353 American Hockey League video games in his first 5 skilled seasons – together with two years in Syracuse once they have been affiliated with the Anaheim Geese.

The Montreal Canadiens – whose AHL daughter Laval Rocket received the Canadian Division title in 2020-21 – present 22 AHL graduates amongst their 24 playoff individuals, led by former Calder Cup playoffs MVP Carey Worth. Worth, who’s 12-5 this postseason with a GAA of two.02 and a financial savings proportion of 0.934, was 19 years previous when he withheld the Hamilton Bulldogs for the AHL championship in 2007.

Canadien striker Tomas Tatar additionally received the MVP awards within the Calder Cup early in his profession; his 16 targets and 21 factors helped the Grand Rapids Griffins to their first title in 2013. Josh Anderson additionally has a Calder Cup on his résumé and contributed 12 factors in 15 playoff video games for the Lake Erie Monsters in 2016.

Tyler Toffoli, Montreal’s high scorer this postseason, received the 2012-13 Dudley (Purple) Garrett Memorial Award for AHL Excellent Rookie by scoring 28 targets and 51 factors in 58 video games for the Manchester Monarchs. Toffoli additionally took half within the AHL All-Star Traditional that season, the place he was educated by present Habs assistant Luke Richardson and Jon Cooper of Lightning within the Jap Convention roster.

Toffoli is supported by Eric Staal (2005) and Jake Allen (2011, 2014) as former AHL All-Stars in Montreal’s roster, whereas Capt. Shea Weber (Milwaukee Admirals, 2006) and Ben Chiarot (St. John’s IceCaps, 2014) each reached the Calder Cup Finals throughout her time within the AHL.

Cole Caufield’s breakout efficiency for the Canadiens in these Stanley Cup playoffs comes after a memorable skilled debut with the Laval Rocket whereas visiting Toronto in April with two video games. Shortly after being introduced because the 2021 Hobey Baker Award winner on April 9, Caufield went out and scored two targets and one help in a 5-3 win after which adopted with one other aim – his second sport winner of the weekend – within the 4-3 victory the following afternoon.

Different AHL alumni with the Canadiens are Brendan Gallagher, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Corey Perry, Phillip Danault, Jeff Petry, Paul Byron, Joel Armia, Jake Evans, Brett Kulak, Jon Merrill, Erik Gustafsson, Joel Edmundson and Nick Suzuki, their first style {of professional} ice hockey was a sport with the Chicago Wolves in the course of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Behind the Canadiens bench, assistant coach Luke Richardson spent 4 seasons on the helm of the AHL’s Binghamton Senators (2012-16), and Alex Burrows made 107 appearances for the Manitoba Moose in his 16-year skilled profession and later served as an assistant with the Laval rocket from 2018 to 2020.

Each the Lightning and the Canadiens have been constructed by normal managers with AHL pedigrees. Julien BriseBois spent 9 seasons with Montreal earlier than transferring to Tampa Bay, the place he received a Calder Cup in 2007 whereas overseeing the Hamilton Bulldogs. BriseBois was GM of the AHL subsidiaries of Lightning in Norfolk and Syracuse from 2010 to 2019, reached three extra Calder Cup finals and captured the titles in 2012. Marc Bergevin performed 121 video games within the AHL and practically 1,200 within the NHL and received 1990 and 1991 consecutive Calder Cups with the Springfield Indians.

The 2021 Stanley Cup Ultimate begins tonight on the Amalie Enviornment in Tampa.

The AHL has been in operation since 1936 and serves as the highest growth league for all 31 Nationwide Hockey League groups. Virtually 90 % of at present’s NHL gamers are American Hockey League graduates, and greater than 100 honored members of the Hockey Corridor of Fame have spent a while within the AHL.

Tagged: Laval Rocket, Syracuse Crunch

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