We have reached the conclusion of the Fifth Annual Chirps from Center Ice AHL Previews in all too familiar territory, the East Division. If you missed any of the other division previews in this fine League, please use the scroll down menu at the top of the blog.
The only change in the division is the Syracuse Crunch out and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in. Since the Penguins reside in this division, they obviously play all the teams listed multiple times. Home games are featured in bold.
Here we go…
NHL Affiliation: Ottawa Senators
Record: 44-24-3-5 (96 pts., 1st place East Division)
Playoffs: 3 seed — Lost in four games to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Head Coach: Luke Richardson
Arena: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena
ECHL Affiliation: Evansville IceMen
Offseason Moves: Carter Camper, Aaron Johnson
The case for: Division Champs bolster an already solid lineup with excellent additions in Camper and Johnson.
The case against: This Binghamton team streaked like no tomorrow last season, good for bad, bad for good. That recipe may spell disaster this season.
Media Coverage: Matt Weinstein and Matt Verderame for the Press & Sun-Bulletin
Fan Blog: None — or I haven’t found it yet.
Broadcaster: Grady Whittenburg
vs. WBS: 10/26, @ 11/8, @ 12/20, @ 12/26, 1/2, 2/11, 3/21, @ 3/27
NHL Affiliation: Washington Capitals
Record: 39-27-5-5 (88 pts., 4th place East Division)
Playoffs: Did not qualify.
Head Coach: Troy Mann
Arena: Giant Center
ECHL Affiliation: South Carolina Stingrays
Offseason Moves: Tim Spencer, Philippe Cornet, Jon Landry, Mike Moore, Chris Conner, Tim Kennedy
The case for: New leadership under a familiar name in Troy Mann have Bears fans hopes for a return to glory sooner rather than later.
The case against: A lot of teams caught and passed the 11 time Champs. Can they recover?
Media Coverage: Tim Leone for PennLive
Fan Blog: Sweetest Hockey on Earth
Broadcaster: Scott Stuccio
vs. WBS: @ 10/25, 11/7, @ 11/16, @ 11/26, 12/6, @ 12/7, 12/14, 12/31, @ 1/3, @ 2/7, 3/11, 3/14
NHL Affiliation: Philadelphia Phantoms
Record: 30-38-2-6 (68 pts., 4th place Northeast Division, playing as the Adirondack Phantoms)
Playoffs: Did not qualify.
Head Coach: Terry Murray
Arena: PPL Center
ECHL Affiliation: Reading Royals
Offseason Moves: Connor Knapp, Darroll Powe, Austin Fyten, Brett Hextall, Andrew Gordon, Blair Jones, Zack Stortini
The case for: The Phantoms may boast the most star studded lineup in the East Division, with names like Powe and Gordon. The new kid on the block may be able to contend in what’s called the toughest division in the AHL.
The case against: Goaltending. Probably the weakest in the division, if not the Conference. Inexperience in goal could doom this team early and often.
Media Coverage: Gary Blockus for The Morning Call
Fan Blog: The Horn and Bell
Broadcaster: Bob Rotruck
vs. WBS: 10/11, @ 10/29, 11/14, 12/5, @ 12/13, 1/31, 2/14, @ 3/22, @ 3/28, 4/4, @ 4/8, @ 4/19
NHL Affiliation: Anaheim Ducks
Record: 40-26-3-7 (90 pts., 3rd place East Division)
Playoffs: 8 seed — Lost in six games to the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Head Coach: Jarrod Skalde
Arena: Scope Arena
ECHL Affiliation: Utah Grizzlies
Offseason Moves: Jason LaBarbera, Steve MacIntyre, Nathan McIver, Brad Winchester
The case for: Might be the toughest team in the division, if not the conference.
The case against: What exactly did Norfolk do this offseason other than adding an aging goaltender in LaBarbera and Steve MacIntyre, who may only dress for less than half of their games?
Media Coverage: Virginian Pilot
Fan Blog: Admirals Aftermath / Beneath the Scope
Twitter: @NorfolkAdmirals / Ads Game Updates
Broadcaster: Pete Michaud
vs. WBS: @ 10/31, @ 11/1, 12/28, 1/6, 1/9, @ 1/23, @ 1/24, 4/18
NHL Affiliation: Pittsburgh Penguins
Record: 42-26-3-5 (92 pts., 2nd place East Division)
Playoffs: 6 seed — Lost in six games to the St. John’s IceCaps in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Head Coach: John Hynes
Arena: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
ECHL Affiliation: Wheeling Nailers
Offseason Moves: Taylor Chorney
The case for: The core that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals returns. While not as an impressive offseason as in prior years, I see no reason why this team cannot compete for a division title.
The case against: Youth and inexperience. A lot of second year guys and rookies may be relied upon to carry the offensive load this season.
Media Coverage: Jonathan Bombulie for The Citizens’ Voice and Tom Venesky for The Times Leader
Fan Blog: I do not know of another that does it better than I.
Twitter: @WBSPenguins / WBS Game Day
Broadcaster: Mike O’Brien
Thanks for reading my previews. I hope you enjoyed read thing them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you have a team going tonight in the AHL’s Opening Night, Good Luck and Happy New Year. The Penguins open their 16th Season tomorrow at 7:05 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at home. The Gameday Setup for this returns to the blog Saturday at 3 p.m.!