I’m supposed to be preparing a presentation for my Thesis defense next week, but instead I got sucked into AHL hockey statistics.
I don’t even know if what I put together could be considered as legitimate statistics, but I’ve been curious (and impatient, I suppose) to see how the post-NHL lockout was going to affect the AHL. Some teams were more affected than others (Charlotte, for example, lost four forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender, all of whom played a major role in the Checkers success during the first half of the season). Oklahoma City lost their entire top line and top-scoring defensemen. Two former Barons are now serving as Alternate Captains for the Edmonton Oilers. Other teams were affected in a less significant way, and have not seen a significant change in their roster.
Most AHL teams have played between 8-10 games since NHL camps began a few weeks ago. I went through the schedule, and made a list of the western conference teams overall record, their record over the last ten post-lockout games, and the final ten games the teams played prior to the end of the lockout.
If there is interest, I’ll put together the stats for the Eastern conference team, but honestly since the Checkers only play Norfolk, I was less interested in how the east has been affected.
Obviously, a ten game sample is not hugely significant during a 76 game season, however I think it does show a glimpse of how teams were performing prior to the end of the lockout, and the beginning of what to expect now that AHL squads are re-establishing themselves with new players, and handling the loss of guys like Charlotte’s Zac Dalpe, Drayson Bowman, Bobby Sanguinetti, Dan Ellis and others.
Western Conference Team Records (and Norfolk, because Charlotte plays them frequently)
|Previous 10||Post-lockout 10||Season||Date last 10 began|
So… a few observations. Hamilton was terrible before, and continues to be. (And since they released Mike Commodore from his PTO, I feel certain they will stink even more! #Bitter). Oklahoma City’s record has begun to plummet, rather rapidly, but that’s not a surprise after losing Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Yann Danis, though as of today, Danis has cleared waivers and been returned to the Barons. The Checkers, surprisingly, have had a better month of January than they did prior to losing nearly all of their top-scoring forwards and defensemen to the Hurricanes.
The Texas Stars are on a tear, and share the top spot in the league with Binghamton. Charlotte is close behind them and sits third overall in the league.
Milwaukee has struggled this month, as have Grand Rapids and Toronto, at least compared with their December records.
So… what do you think all of this means? Can anything be gleaned from these recent AHL records? What do you think will be the key for the Checkers as the season continues?