Photo: Portland Pirates forward and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Tobias Rieder is tied for third in rookie goal-scoring with 23 so far in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
It is getting down to the last dozen or so games in the 2013-14 season and still many things are left undecided in the AHL's Eastern Conference, with at least 10 teams still vying for a chance at the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers is the Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month for February after posting a 9-0 record and 0.94 goals against average with Rimouski Oceanic. (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Rimouski Océanic goaltender and Dallas Stars prospect Philippe Desrosiers is the Hockey's Future February Prospect of the Month. A second round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Desrosiers went 9-0, allowed only eight goals, and established a new QMJHL record with three consecutive shutouts.
Photo: New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome has appeared in 19 NHL games so far in 2013-14, posting two goals and five assists in those outings (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
When the New York Islanders re-assigned rookie forward Ryan Strome to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport before the NHL went on a two-week break for the Olympics, the message to Strome was pretty simple, at least how Strome relayed what he was told to the inquiring media in Philadelphia after the Sound Tigers win over the Adirondack Phantoms.
Photo: Rockford IceHogs forward and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Jeremy Morin has spent most of the season with the AHL’s IceHogs, but has appeared in 15 games for the Blackhawks in the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Chris Austin/Icon SMI)
While the top nine teams in the East have separated themselves from the pack, the AHL's Western Conference is still wide open heading down the stretch.
Photo: Binghamton Senators forward and Ottawa Senators prospect Mike Hoffman has turned in a strong season in the AHL after having his 2012-13 campaign shortened by an injury (courtesy of Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
With the NHL on a two-week Olympic hiatus, several top prospects were sent down to their respective AHL teams, with several teams in the Eastern Conference receiving reinforcements.
For some clubs, the quick spike in depth provided almost instant results. For others, the "better on paper" lineup caused a downgrade in the team's on-ice performance.