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»
Beside the play of top-line defensemen Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, it has been a relatively forgettable year for the Arizona Coyotes. The team is firmly out of a playoff position and well off-pace to match last season’s total of 89 points, which landed them ninth in the Western Conference. Arizona’s AHL team, the Portland Pirates, is middle-of-the-pack but holding on to a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
A year removed from finishing last in the AHL with just 61 points, the Portland Pirates, primary affiliate for the Arizona Coyotes, have shown respectable improvements this season. Through 35 games, the Pirates are 19-15-1, scoring 87 goals and allowing 82, having won their last four games.
When Jim Rutherford took over the general manager job for the Pittsburgh Penguins last June, he inherited an organization that was shallow at forward, from the NHL level all the way through the prospect rankings. Rutherford did not take long to address the problem, first picking four forwards in the 2014 NHL Draft, then augmenting the Penguins NHL roster with several talented veteran players.
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