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: Freddie Hamilton

Ari Yanover
May 21 2016 12:00PM

Freddie Hamilton is probably better known for being Dougie Hamilton's brother - and if we're honest with ourselves, that's probably a pretty big reason as to why the Flames acquired him in the first place.

But when all was said and done, F.Ham proved himself, at minimum, a capable AHL player. It's unclear if there's a brighter hockey future ahead for him - but at 24 years old, it's certainly not out of the question. Even if this is it, though, what he is isn't bad to have in regards to organizational depth.

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2016 IIHF World Championship Semifinals: Canada vs. USA

Ari Yanover
May 21 2016 10:00AM

When Team Canada and Team USA first met this tournament, it was their very first game of the preliminaries. Neither had their full roster yet, and neither knew just what was in store for them.

Still, Canada took the game by a dominating 5-1 score. Patrick Maroon may have opened the scoring just under five minutes into the game, but it didn't take even 30 seconds for Taylor Hall to respond. Following in his footsteps were Brendan Gallagher, Matt Duchene, Boone Jenner, and Brad Marchand, as Canada outshot the States 33-25 and Cam Talbot came away with a 96.00 SV%.

Today, they meet again: in the semifinals, and for the right to compete for gold tomorrow against Finland. Canada wants to defend it; the U.S. wants to improve on their bronze medal performance from last year. The puck drops at 11:15 a.m.

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Is Jesse Puljujarvi worth "blowing away" the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Christian Roatis
May 21 2016 08:00AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.53.11 AM

                                                                                  ***

Oh Elliotte, how you tease us. 

The screenshot above is from Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts column, and it’s one that undoubtedly perked up a lot of interest around these parts.

The Columbus Blue Jackets may consider trading down from the third overall spot. The spot affording whichever team there to select Finnish wunderkind Jesse Puljujarvi.

Let me in on this action. 

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2016 NHL draft eligible prospects to watch at the Memorial Cup

Ari Yanover
May 20 2016 02:00PM

The Memorial Cup kicks off tonight when the OHL champion London Knights take to the ice against the host Red Deer Rebels. Game 2 will be on Saturday, when the WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings play the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

It's the final bit of junior hockey on the season - and for some, the final chance to impress. Matthew Tkachuk headlines all draft-eligible players at the Memorial Cup this year, expected to go in roughly the fourth to sixth overall range. The Flames are right on the outside edge of that, so they might be picking him up - but there's a fairly good chance he goes to one of the enemy instead.

Tkachuk isn't the only player to watch, though. The Memorial Cup is a brief tournament with a limited player pool, but there are still a few more players to see in it that the Flames might just pick up in a month's time.

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