How much will Tucson's AHL team impact Stockton's schedule?

Ryan Pike
May 21 2016 02:00PM

This past season, the American Hockey League saw a distinct shift in a westward direction with the establishment of the Pacific Division.

To create that division, five existing AHL clubs moved west:

  • The Adirondack Flames became the Stockton Heat
  • The Norfolk Admirals became the San Diego Gulls
  • The Worcester Sharks became the San Jose Barracuda
  • The Oklahoma City Barons became the Bakersfield Condors
  • The Manchester Monarchs became the Ontario Reign

In an effort to minimize travel and maximize development time, the five new California teams played 68 games - eight fewer than everyone else in the league. But with the announcement this week that the Arizona Coyotes will now have an affiliate in Tucson, Arizona that will join the Pacific Division next season, will the wacky Pacific Division schedule become more balanced?

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FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Brandon Bollig

Ryan Pike
May 20 2016 12:00PM

Brandon Bollig was acquired by the Calgary Flames at the 2014 NHL Draft. It was Brad Treliving's first transaction as general manager.

Bollig has just completed the second season of his current three-year deal that pays him $1.25 million against the salary cap. He played primarily on the fourth line. He was healthy scratched for roughly a third of the season. When he did play, he was okay.

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FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Dennis Wideman

Ryan Pike
May 19 2016 12:00PM

On June 27, 2012 – four days after the 2012 NHL Draft – Calgary Flames General Manager Jay Feaster took a big, big swing. After two seasons just a smidge outside of the playoffs, Feaster attempted to upgrade the club's power-play by acquiring pending unrestricted free agent Dennis Wideman and signing him to a five-year, $26.25 million contract.

Four seasons into the deal, the contract doesn't seem like a particularly great move in retrospect. Aside from a 2014-15 season that saw everything go right for him, Wideman has been a sheltered offensive defenseman who hasn't quite produced to the degree that was hoped.

The 2015-16 season wasn't everything going wrong for Wideman – the Don Henderson incident aside – it was simply a return to form, and a return to average puck luck.

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Flames First Round Targets 2016: Pierre-Luc Dubois

Ryan Pike
May 19 2016 08:00AM

Way, way back in 2013, the Calgary Flames selected Sean Monahan in the first round at sixth overall. At the time it wasn't considered the sexiest pick, but Monahan was the best player left of the top group and he's turned out to be the player the Flames needed at that spot.

In 2014, the Flames got their highest pick since moving to Calgary, completing their "Sham for Sam" season by selecting Sam Bennett at fourth overall. He was not the sexiest pick, but was the best player remaining of the top group and somehow fell to them despite being the top-ranked North American skater that season.

Combine the circumstances of Monahan and Bennett, and you might get Pierre-Luc Dubois, the latest player in our First Round Targets series.

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FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Jon Gillies

Ryan Pike
May 17 2016 12:00PM

Few Calgary Flames prospects have begun their professional careers with as much fanfare and anticipation as Jon Gillies did in 2015-16. Few faced such disappointment in their rookie season.

Coming to the Stockton Heat after a really, really great three-season run with the Providence College Friars, culminating with an NCAA championship victory, the hope was Gillies would be able to see a lot of pucks and adjust to the pro game.

He ended up playing just seven games due to a hip injury.

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