Chirps from Center Ice

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

Category Archives: The AHL

AHL Power Rankings: Week 24

It’s Monday, and the Week 24 AHL Power Rankings are here to hopefully paint the picture for you as we head towards the end of the regular season.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have the Atlantic Division on lockdown. They will most likely be the next AHL team to lock up a postseason berth.

The Toronto Marlies slipped to the Utica Comets Sunday and yield the top spot to Lehigh Valley. Discount the Marlies at your peril however, they will be a tough out.

Another week and Tucson remains in third after a good week and should be one of the first Western Conference teams to lock up a playoff spot.

Syracuse was the next team to punch a postseason ticket, and are fourth and within distance to maybe take over the top spot in the North.

Providence rounds out the top five this week after taking 4 of 6 points out of the week in preparation for their inevitable first round meeting with the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.

To check out six and beyond, hop through the jump if you didn’t link in direct.


Last Week: LV 3 @ HFD 4 (SO), PRO 0 @ LV 3, SPR 0 @ LV 3
Back to back shutouts of opponents. Lehigh Valley is firing on all cylinders right now and should be the next Eastern Conference team to punch a postseason ticket. But, are the Phantoms peaking too soon?


This Week: @ PRO 3/23, @ PRO 3/24
Record: 42-16-3-5


Last Week: LAV 1 @ TOR 4, LAV 0 @ TOR 4, TOR 3 @ BEL 1, UTI 3 @ TOR 1
Marlies slip up Sunday against Utica. Busy week this week starting with the Penguins on Tuesday.


This Week: vs. WBS 3/20, @ BEL 3/23, vs. BEL 3/24, vs. SPR 3/25
Record: 44-17-1-1


Last Week: TUC 3 @ BAK 3 (OT), TUC 3 @ STK 0, TUC 2 @ STK 1
Roadrunners keep setting the bar in the Pacific. Busy week coming up for the Roadrunners could cement them as a playoff team this week and likely number one seed in their division.


This Week: vs. SJ 3/20, vs. SJ 3/21, @ BAK 3/24, @ SJ 3/25
Record: 34-18-4-1


Last Week: SYR 6 @ BNG 2, SYR 3 @ SPR 2 (OT), LAV 2 @ SYR 5
Crunch seal up a playoff spot, likely heading into a playoff series with Rochester in the first round.


This Week: vs. BRI 3/23, vs. UTI 3/24
Record: 39-19-3-4


Last Week: RCH 3 @ PRO 5, PRO 0 @ LV 3, BRI 1 @ PRO 4
4 of 6 points this week to keep pace with their eventual first round opponent the Penguins.


This Week: vs. LV 3/23, vs. LV 3/24
Record: 38-21-3-2

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

Off Day Notes & Scores 3/16

With no Penguins game to write about tonight, I wanted to use this post to drop in and fill in the news of the day and get to some final scores. First the news of the day.

Wilkes-Barre was scheduled to practice today, but it turned into an optional practice. Players who participated in the games in Charlotte used the day off Friday to recover.

Meaning no hitting, but why would you this late on into a season.

Tyler had words from Clark Donatelli on Ethan Prow’s status…

Josiah Didier, the Charlotte player who hit Prow, was suspended one game. Charlotte hosts Binghamton Saturday and Sunday.

In my opinion Ethan Prow is the last player that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins could afford to lose. He is a vital piece to the team.

Tyler noted the rest of the walking wounded today…

My thought on Michael Leighton is that the Penguins are saving him for the playoff run, depending on what happens with Matt Murray in Pittsburgh. Assume Casey DeSmith comes down. Penguins would feel less confident riding Anthony Peters as their Round 1 starter I feel, with Peters’ lack of playoff experience and all. Leighton has been there. Of course if DeSmith is available, he would get the nod I feel over both Leighton and definitely Peters.

Around the Atlantic…

Thursday night, Bridgeport fell behind 4-0 to Rochester and won 6-4. Recall they did the same thing to Springfield this past Sunday.

The Sound Tigers were in Hershey tonight and lost 3-2. Penguins magic number should drop to 19.

Third place Providence hosted Rochester and won 5-3. Bruins will inch closer to the Pens for second in the division, but Wilkes-Barre will have two games in hand.

Tomorrow’s opponent Hartford hosted division leader Lehigh Valley and beat the Phantoms in shootout 4-3. Lehigh Valley goes 10 up on the Penguins who have four games in hand.

Here’s where they stand heading into Saturday…

Lehigh Valley (.68 percentage points) — Penguins (.650) — Providence (.637) — Charlotte (.586) — Bridgeport (.556) — Springfield (.492) — Hartford (.484) — Hershey (.477)

Gameday setup for tomorrow’s matchup against Hartford will hit the blog Saturday at 3.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 23

Usually the first team to punch a playoff ticket in the American Hockey League’s regular season has had a pretty decent run up to the honor and has been a staple in the tip five of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings.

This year is no different, as the Toronto Marlies are the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs and are the number one team in the Week 23 version of this weeks Power Rankings.

They are followed closely by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who should be the next team to clinch.

The Tucson Roadrunners remain a staple at third in this weeks Rankings and should join the Phantoms and Marlies within the next few weeks.

Chicago has closed in on Manitoba within five points for the Central Division lead and are now within striking distance to a Moose team that was miles ahead of the competition a few months ago.

Wilkes-Barre / Scranton sweep the weekend to push into the top five.

Past the Penguins, pop past the jump to see the rest of the order if you didn’t link in here direct.


Last Week: PRO 3 @ TOR 4
First team to punch a ticket to the postseason. Back to the top of the AHL Power Rankings.


This Week: vs. LAV 3/12, vs. LAV 3/14, @ BEL 3/16, vs. UTI 3/18
Record: 41-16-1-1


Last Week: BRI 3 @ LV 2, LV 4 @ BRI 1, BNG 3 @ LV 5
First Atlantic Division team to 40 wins. Separating themselves as the front runner to win the Atlantic.


This Week: @ HFD 3/16, vs. PRO 3/17, vs. SPR 3/18
Record: 40-16-3-4


Last Week: TEX 1 @ TUC 2 (OT), TEX 4 @ TUC 3
No real threat from behind now for Tucson who have some breathing room for tops in the Pacific.


This Week: @ BAK 3/14, @ STK 3/16, @ STK 3/17
Record: 31-18-4-1


Last Week: CHI 5 @ SA 2, CHI 4 @ MIL 3, MTB 2 @ CHI 1, RFD 2 @ CHI 1 (OT)
Wolves slowly closing on Manitoba. Games in hand will not be an issue in this battle.


This Week: vs. RFD 3/17, vs. IA 3/18
Record: 33-19-7-2


Last Week: WBS 3 @ BNG 2 (OT), GR 1 @ WBS 2
Gritted out two nice wins this weekend. Still pursuing Lehigh Valley for tops in the Atlantic.


This Week: @ CHA 3/13, @ CHA 3/14, vs. HFD 3/17, vs. HER 3/18
Record: 35-17-4-2

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

AHL Power Rankings: Week 22

Welcome to Week 22 where things are still in flux around the American Hockey League.

Pretty much the top teams in all the divisions are safe bets for a playoff spot. Beyond all that, anything can happen it seems.

Lehigh Valley are separating themselves from the best of the rest of the Atlantic.

Toronto jumps back to the second spot and are number two this week as the first team to 40 wins in the AHL.

Tucson stays in third. With all the moving teams in these Rankings, seems like Tucson has been number three forever.

Chicago bumps up one as a serious contender for Manitoba’s top spot in the Central, something that seemed out of reach is now a possibility for the Wolves or anyone else who wants that spot.

Syracuse is keeping Toronto honest in the North, are fifth this week in the Rankings.

Click past the Crunch if you didn’t link in direct to see where your favorite team ended up this week.


Last Week: HER 6 @ LV 7, BNG 0 @ LV 4, LV 3 @ HER 2 (SO)
Lehigh Valley is hot. 17 wins in their last 22 games and starting to run away with the Atlantic Division lead.


This Week: vs. BRI 3/9, @ BRI 3/10, vs. BNG 3/11
Record: 38-15-3-4


Last Week: SYR 4 @ TOR 3 (OT), RCH 4 @ TOR 1, TOR 4 @ BEL 1
After some recent slip ups, the Marlies are the first team to 40 wins this season. Every good team has some bumps. One game this week for the Marlies.


This Week: vs. PRO 3/10
Record: 40-16-1-1


Last Week: TUC 2 @ GR 3, TUC 5 @ CLE 1, TUC 2 @ CLE 3 (OT)
3 of 6 points this week for the Pacific Division leaders. Two at home this week against Texas.


This Week: vs. TEX 3/9, vs. TEX 3/10
Record: 30-17-4-1


Last Week: TEX 3 @ CHI 4 (SO), CHI 3 @ SA 0, CHI 4 @ TEX 1
Wolves slowly tightening the noose on the Moose for the top spot in the Central, something that was inconceivable a few months ago.


This Week: @ SA 3/6, @ MIL 3/9, vs. MTB 3/10, vs. RFD 3/11
Record: 31-18-6-2


Last Week: SYR 4 @ TOR 3 (OT), BNG 2 @ SYR 3, LAV 5 @ SYR 4 (OT)
Keep pace with Toronto. Two this week with third place Rochester.


This Week: vs. HER 3/9, vs. RCH 3/10, @ RCH 3/11
Record: 35-18-3-3

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

Greg McKegg Traded at the NHL Deadline 2/26

Probably not the biggest ripple effecting the parent team, but Penguins Jim Rutherford made a move on the NHL trade deadline that had a direct result on his AHL team in Wilkes-Barre.

The Penguins acquired Josh Jooris for Greg McKegg in essentially a swap of AHL eligible players on NHL contracts. Jooris will report to Wilkes-Barre and McKegg goes to Charlotte to be with the Checkers.

Nick Hart with the scouting report…

Jooris was with the Carolina Hurricanes and has played in 37 games for them. He has over 200 games of NHL experience. I’ll consider this an upgrade for Wilkes-Barre. McKegg started in the NHL and was waived down, then sort of just got lost in the shuffle. Jooris steps down from the NHL and hopefully brings the right attitude for the Penguins and contributes.

As of 4 pm Monday. it doesn’t look like there were any more trades made effecting the organization. I didn’t see anything on the AHL Transactions page about players being assigned to Wilkes-Barre for the purposes of being eligible to play in the AHL after today.

UPDATE: As I was getting ready to close up shop for the night, Pittsburgh assigned Tristan Jarry and Dominik Simon to Wilkes-Barre and recalled Casey DeSmith. Zach Aston-Reese was not part of the news. Aston-Reese is the only other player on the NHL Penguins roster to be eligible for assignment to the AHL. Unless he shows up on a paper move, he’s up for good. EDIT: Aston-Reese was papered down per the AHL Transactions page. Dominik Simon is a huge add for Wilkes-Barre and DeSmith is indeed eligible for re-assignment since he was on the AHL roster at the 3 p.m. deadline.

Other news of the day…

Word out of practice was that Murray took a shot off of the head from an Olli Maatta stick.

If any other moves are made, I will either update this post or add another. This is a long way of saying keep checking back.

AHL Power Rankings: Week 21


Scare you? No? Well, there is a team at the top of the Week 21 edition of the Chirps from Center Ice AHL Power Rankings that is dominating the Atlantic Division at the moment and they are the new number one team in Week 21.

Phantoms are followed by Grand Rapids, who are on a tear right now and Tucson who remain in third solidly at the top of the Pacific Division.

In fourth is the Texas Stars, who look like the only team at the moment that can contend with Tucson and Chicago, who are up this week after going 7-3 in their last ten.

Pop past the Wolves to see six on back. Enjoy!


Last Week: LV 6 @ UTI 4, LV 1 @ SYR 2, LV 2 @ BNG 1
8 points up on Wilkes-Barre for the top spot in the Atlantic. Phantoms are 8-1-0-1 in their last ten and pulling away from the other teams in the division.


This Week: vs. HER 3/2, vs. BNG 3/3, @ HER 3/4
Record: 35-15-3-4


Last Week: CHI 5 @ GR 2, IA 1 @ GR 2, IA 2 @ GR 3 (SO)
8-1-0-1 for the Griffins who maybe, just maybe, be the team that can knock off Manitoba for the top spot in the Central.


This Week: vs. TUC 2/28, vs. WBS 3/2, vs. MIL 3/3
Record: 30-19-1-6


Last Week: BAK 3 @ TUC 2, SA 1 @ TUC 2 (OT), SA 1 @ TUC 0 (OT)
Gap could have gotten wider against the other teams in the Pacific. Maybe those points play into it later on, maybe not.


This Week: @ GR 2/28, @ CLE 3/2, @ CLE 3/4
Record: 29-16-3-1


Last Week: TEX 1 @ IA 2, MIL 1 @ TEX 3, MIL 2 @ TEX 5
Swept the Admirals at home this week. Probably the only contender for the top spot in the Pacific, something that the Roadrunners currently own.


This Week: @ CHI 2/27, @ RFD 2/28, vs. CHI 3/3, @ SA 3/4
Record: 29-19-5-2


Last Week: CHI 5 @ GR 2, CHI 0 @ MTB 2, CHI 5 @ MTB 2
Wolves are 7-3 in their last ten, bested only by a Grand Rapids side doing a lot better. Texas teams on the menu this week.


This Week: vs. TEX 2/27, @ SA 3/2, @ TEX 3/3
Record: 28-18-6-2

Click through here to see teams 6 through 30

Weekend Setup – Peters, Schedule Strength, Primer, More…

Figured I would drop in here and post about the week that was on Coal Street and set up the weekend.

Coal Street announced Wednesday what we speculated to for a while here, they have signed G Anthony Peters to an AHL contract through the 2018-19 season.

Certainly not unexpected, Peters played better on his second professional tryout contract (PTO) than he did on his first, he had a six game winning streak that included a shutout against Hershey.

Wilkes-Barre could not sign Peters to a third PTO, so the standard AHL contract is what he gets. Insuring his rights through next season is a no brainer as well. His ECHL club in Cincinnati retains his rights at that level.

Pittsburgh has two goalies in the pipeline, Filip Gustavsson and Alex D’Orio. One or both could filter here on ATO’s once their seasons are over. It may be different for Gustavsson since he’s playing over in Europe, I’m not totally sure. Good on Wilkes-Barre to sort of fill out one goalie spot for next season at the very least.

Updates from practice this week go as follows…

Tom summed it all up in one tweet…

Update from Thursday…

About them IceHogs. The Pens put together a nice primer on them you can read here. They are sixth place in the Central, which is probably the most competitive division top to bottom in the entire AHL. Rockford is 3-6-0-1 in their last ten. Roster consists of names that don’t really jump off the page. It’s a hard working team that is looking to come in and play an opponent they have never faced before. Pens can’t be slouches.

Pens hit the road to play a Syracuse team in fourth in the North that has kind of become the forgotten team in the division. It’s a four team race essentially, Syracuse is fourth but got a big boost this week when Tampa Bay reclaimed Gabriel Dumont off of waivers and assigned him to Syracuse.

Hershey visits Sunday. Bears have won three in a row and beat Toronto Monday. Hershey’s got a lot of ground to make up to push for a playoff spot but are on the right track.

Pittsburgh sent Teddy Blueger back to Wilkes-Barre Monday. Patric Hornqvist practiced Thursday in full and Tom Kuhnhackl will accompany the team on their road trip to Carolina and Florida this weekend, so Zach Aston-Reese may end up being reassigned for cap purposes. Stay tuned.

Out the door, the AHL Playoff Primer is out again for another year. Penguins magic number to clinch a playoff berth heading into the weekend is 40. Lehigh Valley’s magic number is 30, but they have five more games played than the Penguins right now and are in first place and are expected to have a lower number. Penguins have the third weakest strength of schedule, 6th (.542) out of 8 team division ahead of Charlotte (.540) and Lehigh Valley (.536) Getting to be that time of year again.

Back tomorrow for the 3 pm setup against Rockford as Wilkes-Barre begins another three in three weekend.