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What’s left for the Calgary Wranglers to play for in their final regular season weekend?

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Folks, here’s what we know: the Calgary Wranglers have two more games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season. After that, they’re playing a best-of-three series in the opening round of the 2024 Calder Cup playoffs.
With two games remaining on the docket – both against the Abbotsford Canucks – what’s left for the Wranglers to play for over their final regular season weekend?
Heading into the final week of the regular season, here’s how things look in the Pacific Division’s playoff picture:
  • Coachella Valley (Seattle) has first place locked up. They cannot be caught. They will get a bye into the next round of the AHL playoffs, where they’ll play the lowest-ranked advancing team from the best-of-three opening round.
  • Tucson (Arizona) has 87 points with three games left. (They’re in second place over Ontario on tiebreakers.)
  • Ontario (Los Angeles) has 87 points with three games left.
  • Abbotsford (Vancouver) has 83 points with two games left.
  • Colorado (Colorado) has 81 points with four games left.
  • Bakersfield (Edmonton) has 80 points with three games left.
  • The Wranglers have 78 points with two games left.
If the Wranglers beat Abbotsford twice in regulation, they can reach a maximum of 82 points. But even if they did that, if Colorado earns one point (of a possible eight) and Bakersfield earns two points (of a possible six points), it would be impossible for the Wranglers to move up in the standings.
In other words: it’s very likely the Wranglers will finish seventh in the Pacific Division and they’ll face the second place team in the best-of-three opening round. Even if the Wranglers won out, they’d likely still land in that spot.
However, while the weekend probably won’t have any standings impact, it could have an impact on the Wranglers’ overall team mojo. With the NHL’s Calgary Flames finishing up their regular season on Thursday, the expectation is that the three players that are eligible to be sent back to the Wranglers – goalie Dustin Wolf, defenceman Ilya Solovyov and forward Matt Coronato – will rejoin the team.
Since Coronato was called up by the Flames on Mar. 4, the Wranglers have gone 7-9-2. While that hardly qualifies as “heading into the playoffs on a high note,” they’ve done it primarily without Coronato (their most dangerous offensive player) and Wolf (one of the league’s top goaltenders). Take away any team’s two best players and see how they look. All things considered, the Wranglers have done a great job staying competitive over the past six weeks and integrating a lot of new faces to their group in the process.
Anyway, the Wranglers should be getting three players back for their final weekend. They probably can’t move up in the standings and who they play in the opening round of the playoffs is out of their control. But the final weekend is a great opportunity for them to build some momentum and swagger as they prepare for the post-season. They managed to make things work without Coronato and Wolf; it’ll be interesting to see how they look once they get them back.
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