Chirps from Center Ice

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

West Division Preview

Regular AHL

Welcome back to Day Two of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews. Today we close out the Western Conference with a look at the teams in the West Division. If you missed the North and Miwest Division previews from yesterday, you can click here for the North and here for the Midwest or at anytime utilize the drop down menu at the top of the blog.

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The West Division lost the Abbotsford Heat to incarnation of the Adirondack Flames and the North Division and gained the Iowa Wild, late of the Midwest Division last season. Wilkes-Barre does not play anybody in this division.

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NHL Affiliation: Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 37-36-1-2 (77 pts., 4th place West Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Jeff Daniels

Arena: Time Warner Cable Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Florida Everblades

Offseason Moves: Kyle Hagel, Alex Aleardi, Drew MacIntyre, Ben Holmstrom

The case for: If things fall the Checkers way, they can contend with the Stars for the division.

The case against: Past history has shown that things rarely fall the Checkers way.

Media Coverage: Charlotte Observer

Fan Blog: Chasing Checkers

Twitter: @CheckersHockey / Checkers In Game

Facebook: /charlottecheckers

Instagram: checkershockey

Broadcaster: Jason Shaya

vs. WBS: Do not play.

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NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild

Record: 27-36-7-6 (67 pts., 5th place Midwest Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Kurt Kleinendorst

Arena: Wells Fargo Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Alaska Aces

Offseason Moves: Brett Sutter, Jordan Schroeder, Joel Rechlicz

The case for: Any improvement this year is a step in the right direction.

The case against: The Wild stunk out the Western Conference last season. While I don’t expect Iowa to replicate that, they aren’t Calder Cup contenders in the least.

Media Coverage: The Des Moines Register

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

Twitter: @iawild / Iowa Wild Live

Facebook: /IAWild

Instagram: iowawild

Broadcaster: Joe O’Donnell

vs. WBS: Do not play.

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NHL Affiliation: Edmonton Oilers

Record: 36-29-2-9 (83 pts., 3rd place West Division)

Playoffs: 8 seed — Lost in three games to the Texas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Head Coach: Todd Nelson

Arena: Cox Convention Center

ECHL Affiliation: Bakersfield Condors

Offseason Moves: Jason Williams

The case for: I do think that you can pencil in the Barons as a playoff contender.

The case against: The Barons walk that line of contender / non-contender. A few bad games can tilt the needle the wrong way.

Media Coverage: NewsOK

Fan Blog: Tend the Farm

Twitter: @okcbarons / OKC Barons Gameday

Facebook: /OKCBarons

Instagram: okcbarons

Broadcaster: Jim Byers

vs. WBS: Do not play.

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NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers

Record: 30-37-3-6 (69 pts., 5th place West Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Tom Rowe

Arena: AT&T Center

ECHL Affiliation: Cincinnati Cyclones

Offseason Moves: Blake Parlett, Brett Olson

The case for: Well, will they or won’t they? Will the Rampage put it together and challenge the Stars for the division this season?

The case against: You read that and were like, “you’re joking, right?”

Media Coverage: Tony Uminski for MySA

Fan Blog: Runnin’ With the Herd

Twitter: @sarampageSA Rampage Live

Facebook: /sarampagehockey

Instagram: sarampage

Broadcaster: Dan Weiss

vs. WBS: Do not play.

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NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars

Record: 48-18-3-7 (106 pts., 1st place West Division)

Playoffs: 1 seed — Won Calder Cup. Defeated the St. John’s IceCaps in five games.

Head Coach: Derek Laxdal

Arena: Cedar Park Center

ECHL Affiliation: Idaho Steelheads

Offseason Moves: Greg Rallo

The case for: It’s tough to repeat as Calder Cup Champions, but the Stars should pick up where they left off last season and run roughshod over the competition this season.

The case against: It’s tough to repeat as Calder Cup Champions. The odds are already against the Stars.

Media Coverage: Stephen Meserve for 100 Degree Hockey

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

Twitter: @TexasStars

Facebook: /TexasStars

Instagram: txstarshockey

Broadcaster: Brien Rea

vs. WBS: Do not play.

Tomorrow we begin the process of examining more familiar opponents. The Atlantic Division is up next tomorrow at noon!

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