Chirps from Center Ice

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

2018-19 AHL Previews – Atlantic Division

 

We conclude our Chirps from Center Ice 2018-19 AHL Previews with a look in familiar territory, the Atlantic Division. If you missed the division previews this week in the Pacific, Central and North, use the drop down menu at the top of the blog.

Every division prior to the Atlantic had a change of some kind. Not here. No additions, contractions or affiliation changes. Wilkes-Barre plays every team in this division multiple times with those games being played in Wilkes-Barre listed in bold.

Let’s finish up…

NHL Affiliation: New York Islanders

Record: 36-32-5-3 (80 points, 5th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Brent Thompson 

Arena: Webster Bank Arena

ECHL Affiliation: Worcester Railers

Offseason Moves: Chris Bourque, Matt Lorito, Jeremy Smith, Mike Sislo

The Case For: Big time signings by the Sound Tigers this offseason. Bridgeport will have a lot of firepower up front and are loaded coming out of the gate.

The Case Against: Bridgeport always finds a way to miss the playoffs. 

Social Media: @TheSoundTigers / /soundtigers / soundtigers

Broadcaster: Alan Fuehring

vs. WBS: 11/4, 12/8, 12/16, 12/19, 1/23, 2/2, 4/2, 4/13

NHL Affiliation: Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 46-26-1-3 (96 points, 3rd place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Lost in five games to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the Atlantic Division Finals.

Head Coach: Mike Vellucci

Arena: Bojangles’ Coliseum

ECHL Affiliation: Florida Everblades

Offseason Moves: Jamie Phillips, Zach Nastasiuk, Dan Renouf, Kyle Platzer

The Case For: Good veteran signings coming in for Charlotte. Checkers will be good again this year. 

The Case Against: So many more improved teams in the division. Will Charlotte be able to keep up?

Social Media: @CheckersHockey / /checkershockey / checkershockey

Broadcaster: Jason Shaya

vs. WBS: 11/16, 11/17, 1/11, 1/12

NHL Affiliation: New York Rangers

Record: 34-33-6-3 (77 points, 6th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Keith McCambridge

Arena: XL Center

ECHL Affiliation: Maine Mariners

Offseason Moves: Bobby Butler, Dustin Tokarski

The Case For: Seems like an already bad Hartford team from last year lost more than they gained this offseason, still though, anything can happen.

The Case Against: Improved Bridgeport and Springfield teams are going to batter the Wolf Pack, not even mentioning divisional foes like Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre / Scranton. Could be a long year in Hartford.

Social Media: @WolfPackAHL / /HartfordWolfPack / hartford_wolfpack

Broadcaster: Bob Crawford

vs. WBS: 11/2, 11/3, 11/10, 2/17, 3/6, 3/8

NHL Affiliation: Washington Capitals

Record: 30-37-4-5 (69 points, 8th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Spencer Carbery

Arena: Giant Center

ECHL Affiliation: South Carolina Stingrays

Offseason Moves: Jayson Megna, Logan Pyett, Mike Sgarbossa

The Case For: With a new head coach coming in this season, don’t expect the Bears to finish last this year.

The Case Against: All that said, with all the upgrades happening around the division and outside, don’t expect the Bears to be a playoff contending team.

Social Media: @TheHersheyBears / /TheHersheyBears / thehersheybears

Broadcaster: Zack Fisch

vs. WBS: 10/17, 10/26, 10/27, 11/24, 11/28, 12/9, 12/21, 12/28, 1/19, 2/13, 2/22, 3/19

NHL Affiliation: Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 47-19-5-5 (104 points, 1st place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Swept in four games by the Toronto Marlies in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Head Coach: Scott Gordon

Arena: PPL Center

ECHL Affiliation: Reading Royals

Offseason Moves: Zach Palmquist

The Case For: Not a lot of offseason noise for the Phantoms, but they are a young and up and coming team filled to the brim with prospects ready to take the next step. Expect Lehigh Valley to contend again this year.

The Case Against: It’s probably going to be tough to repeat as division champs and even harder to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals like the Phantoms did last year. Do they have it in them? Time will tell.

Social Media: @LVPhantoms / /LehighValleyPhantoms / lehighvalleyphantoms

Broadcaster: Bob Rotruck

vs. WBS: 10/19, 10/20, 12/15, 12/26, 12/29, 1/21, 3/6, 3/13, 3/22, 3/23, 4/6, 4/7

NHL Affiliation: Boston Bruins

Record: 45-26-3-2 (95 points, 4th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Lost in four games to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Head Coach: Jay Leach

Arena: Dunkin’ Donuts Center

ECHL Affiliation: Atlanta Gladiators

Offseason Moves: Austin Fyten, Mark McNeill, Cody Goloubef

The Case For: Providence is always constantly good.

The Case Against: Consistently good may not be enough when you have a Springfield team that looks great and a Bridgeport team that may score six goals a night or more. 

Social Media: @AHLBruins / /providencebruins / providencebruins

Broadcaster: Only AHL team without one.

vs. WBS: 11/9, 11/11, 11/25, 3/1, 3/16, 3/27

NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers

Record: 32-37-5-2 (71 points, 7th place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Did not qualify.

Head Coach: Geordie Kinnear

Arena: Mass Mutual Center 

ECHL Affiliation: None

Offseason Moves: Chris Driedger, Mike Hutchinson, Jacob MacDonald, Julian Melchiori, Matt Mangene, Harry Zolnierczyk, Paul Thompson

The Case For: You want a preseason favorite? Look no further than Springfield. Completely rebuilt and retooled at every division, the Thunderbirds should contend all season and compete for a division title.

The Case Against: It may be hard to look for one on paper, but as we have seen with countless other teams who’ve rebuild from the ground up with hopes of contending, the proof will be in the product.

Social Media: @thunderbirdsahl / /thunderbirdsahl / thunderbirdsahl

Broadcaster: Ryan Smith

vs. WBS: 10/6, 11/14, 11/23, 12/12, 3/24, 3/30

NHL Affiliation: Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 45-22-6-3 (99 points, 2nd place Atlantic Division)

Playoffs: Swept in three games by the Charlotte Checkers in the Atlantic Division Semifinals.

Head Coach: Clark Donatelli

Arena: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

ECHL Affiliation: Wheeling Nailers

Offseason Moves: John Muse, Will O’Neill, Stefan Elliot, Jimmy Hayes

The Case For: Top end offensive firepower with a strong defensive corps should have the Penguins in the mix all season long.

The Case Against: Youth and the lack of as high end prospect with Daniel Sprong likely graduated. That and the power play which has been a punch line to a joke in Northeastern PA could have the Penguins playing from behind every now and again.

Social Media: @WBSPenguins / /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins / wbspenguins

Broadcaster: Nick Hart

That does it for another year of AHL Previews. I hope you enjoyed reading them. If you have a team going tomorrow, good luck. The Gameday setup for the Penguins Saturday home opener against the Springfield Thunderbirds hits the blog Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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