Photo: Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman and New York Rangers prospect Conor Allen is the top offensive defender for the Wolf Pack, posting 33 points in 63 games (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
The Manchester Monarchs and Hershey Bears have already clinched berths in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs and the Northeast Division-leading Syracuse Crunch is closing in on clinching a spot as well. But the fourth through eighth place teams in the AHL‘s Eastern Conference are separated by three points, with the Springfield Falcons four points out of the playoffs heading into the final three weeks of the season. Read more»
Photo: Louis Domingue used an impressive 2013-14 season to solidify himself as the starter for the AHL’s Portland Pirates in 2014-15. (courtesy of John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)
The Arizona Coyotes have actively addressed the composition of their prospect pool since the 2013-14 trade deadline. A year ago, there was a logjam of talented defensemen throughout their pipeline. At the deadline, general manager Dave Maloney traded David Rundblad to the Chicago Blackhawks. At the 2014 NHL Draft, the Coyotes grabbed seven forwards while only selecting two defensemen, both in the late rounds.
Photo: Rimouski Oceanic defenseman and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Samuel Morin saw action with the Flyers during the 2013 preseason after having been drafted by the club 11th overall at the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Although recent graduates of the QMJHL include defensemen like Simon Despres and David Savard, as well as up-and-coming prospects like Xavier Ouellet and Nathan Beaulieu, the league does not have a reputation as being a breeding ground for defenders.
Photo: Henrik Samuelsson is the leading scorer of one of the WHL’s most potent lines, combining with Curtis Lazar and Mitchell Moroz to the lead the attack for the Edmonton Oil Kings (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Teams define themselves by U.S. Thanksgiving, according to conventional wisdom. This rule of thumb could apply to players, as well. By late November, there are no more predictions or expectations. Prospects are what their performance says they are.
Photo: Rookie pro Lucas Lessio broke camp with the Coyotes but was assigned to AHL Portland after three NHL games (courtesy of Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Phoenix Coyotes may have the most unbalanced prospect pool in the league. On defense, they have more legitimate players than places to put them. At forward, they may be forced to convert their young centers to address the scarcity of talent on both wings.