Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

North Division Preview

Welcome back to Day Two of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews. If you missed yesterday, you missed the South Division and North Division. You can find both on the drop down menu above, anywhere you go on the blog.

The North Division loses the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Midwest Division and gains the Abbotsford Heat from the now defunct West Division (the new South Division)

The Penguins play the Rochester Americans and Toronto Marlies twice each, with each Penguins home game listed in bold.

Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames)

Last Year: 42-26-3-5 (92 pts., 2nd place West Division)

Playoffs: 4 seed – lost in five games to the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: Troy Ward

Arena: Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre

ECHL Affiliation: Utah Grizzlies

Offseason Moves: Ben Street, Barry Brust

Lockout Additions: Paul Byron, T.J. Brodie, Lance Bouma

The case for: Looks like a strong lineup that can contend in the North Division. Returning leading scorer Ben Walter has a nice cast of characters around him to help fill up Heat opponents nets.

The case against: It appears to me that the Heat lack a true shut down defenseman. How many starts is Leland Irving slated for this season?

Media coverage: Abbotsford News – Dan Kinvig (twitter / blog)

Fan Blog: None – or else I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @abbotsfordheat

Facebook: /AbbotsfordHeat

Broadcaster: Ryan Pinder (twitter) and Vanni De Bartolo (twitter)

vs. WBS: Do not play.

Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens)

Last Year: 34-35-2-5 (75 pts., 5th place North Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Sylvain Lefebvre

Arena: Copps Coliseum

ECHL Affiliation: Wheeling Nailers

Offseason Moves: Cedrick Desjardins, Kyle Hagel, Zack Stortini

Lockout Additions: Louis Leblanc, Blake Geoffrion, Aaron Palushaj

The case for: Bulldogs looks like a young team with high expectations. The sky is the limit for them in the Steel City.

The case against: Their defense is also young and this looks like the weak link of the team, which in hockey is never any good.

Media coverage: The Hamilton Spectator

Fan Blog: None – or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @BulldogsAHL

Facebook: /hamiltonbulldogs

Broadcaster: Derek Wills (twitter)

vs. WBS: Do not play.

Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche)

Last Year: 37-29-3-7 (84 pts., 3rd place North Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Dean Chynoweth

Arena: Quicken Loans Arena

CHL Affiliation: Denver Cutthroats*

Offseason Moves: Bryan Lerg, Geoff Walker, Bill Thomas, Sean Sullivan

Lockout Additions: Haven’t seen any.

The case for: Offseason additions this season for Lake Erie in Lerg, Thomas and Walker are plusses as they help tremendously in the offensive department.

The case against: Looks like defense and maybe goaltending, same with all the other “have not” teams.

Media coverage: The Plain Dealer

Fan Blog: None – or I haven’t found it yet.

Twitter: @monstershockey

Facebook: /lakeeriemonsters

Broadcaster: Doug Plagens (twitter)

vs. WBS: Do not play.

* – the Denver Cutthroats are a Central Hockey League team. Lake Erie does not have an ECHL affiliate.

Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Last Year: 44-24-5-3 (96 pts., 1st place North Division)

Playoffs: 2 seed – swept by the Norfolk Admirals in the Calder Cup Finals.

Head Coach: Dallas Eakins

Arena: Ricoh Coliseum

ECHL Affiliation: None

Offseason Moves: Dylan Yeo, Keith Aucoin

Lockout Additions: Nazem Kadri

The case for: Marlies bring back much of last years Western Conference Championship squad and add future AHL Hall of Famer Keith Aucoin. Look for the Marlies to pick up where they left off last season and be at the top of the North Division all season long.

The case against: Whether or not this team can run with the Oklahoma City’s, Chicago’s and Milwaukee’s of the conference.

Media coverage: Kyle Cicerella – at large journalist – (twitter / blog)

Fan Blog: MarliesHQ

Twitter: @TorontoMarlies

Facebook: /TorontoMarlies

Broadcaster: Jon Abbott (twitter)

vs. WBS: 11/24, @ 1/26

Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres)

Last Year: 36-26-10-4 (86 pts., 2nd place North Division)

Playoffs: 7 seed – swept in three games by the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: Ron Rolston

Arena: Blue Cross Arena

ECHL Affiliation: None

Offseason Moves: Nick Tarnasky, Mark Mancari

Lockout Additions: Cody Hodgson, Luke Adam

The case for: Rochester certainly benefits from the lockout lasting as long as it possibly can with the additions of Adam and Hodgson.

The case against: The lockout ending. The talent drop off at the end of the labor strife will really hurt this Rochester team.

Media coverage: Democrat and Chronicle – Kevin Oklobzija (twitter / blog)

Fan Blog: Amerks Sin Bin (twitter / blog)

Twitter: @AmerksHockey

Facebook: /RochesterAmericans

Broadcaster: Don Stevens (twitter)

vs. WBS: 10/26, @ 1/25

The Previews head East tomorrow as the Atlantic Division rolls here Wednesday.

2 responses to “North Division Preview

  1. Kimberly Peacock October 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Toronto added Mike Kostka too… this is funny because of the controversial game 3 goal that Kostka scored to win for the Admirals against the baby Leafs.