As we get ready for the the 2014-15 season, it may be time to get yourself reacquainted with your team’s minor league affiliates and what could be in store for your team should they need a call-up or two. I’ll go through them team by team in hopes that this enlightens some people to their affiliate teams. Today, the first East Coast entry with the Boston Bruins and their affiliates in Providence, Rhode Island and Charleston, South Carolina.
Affiliate Since: 1992-93
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 51 miles
Last Season: 40-25-2-9, 3rd in Atlantic Division, 7th in Eastern Conference
The youth movement lead the P-Bruins last year, with rookies Alexander Khokhlachev and Seth Griffith lead the team in points and were two of the four 20 or more goal scorers on the team. Craig Cunningham was another one, with Matt Fraser as the fourth– Fraser only playing in 44 games with the P-Bruins on the year.
On the blue line, the numbers are a bit deceiving; as plus/minus is an odd stat to deal with one way or another. That said, David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow were able to contribute well from the back-line with six goals a piece and Warsofsky putting up 26 assists to Morrow’s 23. Zach Trotman was able to garner more game time and went from two goals in 2012-13 to eight goals last season.
In his second season, Niklas Svedberg’s numbers dipped a big from his stellar rookie campaign, but the start did well enough to help the P-Bruins get into the second round of the playoffs. A bigger story of note was the play of Malcolm Subban, who held his own in his rookie year and had solid numbers (2.31 GAA, .920 Sv%) despite his record not showing that whole story (15-10-5).
Leading Scorers: Alexander Khokhlachev (21g, 36a), Seth Griffith (20g, 30a), Craig Cunningham (25g, 22a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: While Griffith is probably going to the big club due to lack of depth on Boston’s right side, the big question is whether or not Khokhlachev or Ryan Spooner will be getting a call-up during the season. There’s quite a lot of centerman talent for Boston, but a shift to the right side could give Khokhlachev or Spooner a chance they may not have gotten by staying at the center position.
Outlook: The big thing is now that it’s Malcolm Subban’s team, what will he be able to do with it?? There’s a bit of a logjam in Boston’s net, so he won’t be rushed and will have the time to prove himself. With Ryan Spooner and Cunningham most likely staying in Providence, they’ll be stark leaders on this team and both being in contract years would want to show off their skills to not only the Bruins, but the rest of the teams out there that may want their services.
SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS (Split with Washington Capitals)
Affiliate Since: 2012-13
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 968 miles
Last Season: 43-23-2-4, 1st in South Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference
The main thing for the Stingrays last season was shutting down the opposition. The Stingrays were tied for second when it came to least amount of goals given up last season (173). Veteran Jeff Jakaitis lead the way for the goalie platoon with 24 wins in 40 games with a 2.16 GAA and .924 Sv%, while journeyman Allen York was able to come in to gather eight wins in his 14 appearances with South Carolina. The anchor on the blue line was Luka Vidmar, who transitioned his game to more of a defensive role rather than a more offensive one, which saw his point production drop-off by 13 from the 2012-13 season. Also holding down the blue line was Dylan King, who came over mid-season from San Francisco folding mid-season.
Conversely, only two playoff teams (Utah and Las Vegas) scored less than the Stingrays in the regular season– which is alarming and the reason why the goaltending and defense was heavily relied on. Peter Boyd lead the team in points and kept his point-per-game pace since joining the Stingrays late in 2012-13 from Bakersfield, putting up 63 points in 63 games. Wayne Simpson netted 22 goals and 41 points in his first season, while Dale Mitchell added 22 points after also coming over to the Stingrays when San Francisco folded mid-season.
Leading Scorers: Peter Boyd (25g, 38a), Wayne Simpson (22g, 19a), Patrick Gaul (12g, 19a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: Jakaitis was traveling to Providence a lot and could do it again depending on what happens with Subban and Adam Morrison. Patrick Gaul could get some looks by some NHL teams to move up, while newcomer Cody Sylvester will probably get the same amount of looks.
Outlook: The most interesting thing to be determined is how the Stingrays will do with a dual affiliation between Boston and Washington. The amount of players that will be allotted to them will be determined by the end of both NHL and AHL camps. Of course, the goal will to probably keep the goals against as low as 2013-14, while trying to produce more offense with a more consistent line-up. Anything to take the sting away from their brief playoff appearance, which saw them getting swept by the Wheeling Nailers.