Calder Cup Predictions
Posted By: Aaron Sims
The Calder Cup playoffs resume tomorrow night as both series take to the ice.
Norfolk, the team that boasted a record 28-game winning streak will host St. John’s in the Eastern Conference Final while Oklahoma City hosts Toronto. These teams were the top-two seeds in their respective conferences.
There are several Milwaukee Admirals/Wisconsin ties with the remaining teams. Each team has at least one former Milwaukee player on it.
Norfolk is led by MVP Cory Conacher, a former Admiral who also was named the AHL’s Top Rookie this season. Conacher has six points in ten playoff games.
Another former Admiral, Brandon Segal, joined Norfolk late in the season after being acquired from the Blackhawks. He had 11 points in eight regular season games with Norfolk and has five points in the playoffs.
Norfolk’s head coach, Jon Cooper, was the head coach of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) from 2008-2010.
St. John’s has forward Marco Rosa. He scored 27 points in 31 regular season games for the IceCaps. Rosa appeared in 27 games for Milwaukee in 2005-06.
Former Admirals forward Triston Grant plays for Oklahoma City and Toronto boasts Milwaukee’s AHL career PIM leader, Kelsey Wilson. Former University of Wisconsin players Josh Engel and Jake Gardiner also play for the Marlies.
I’ve never seen either team in the Eastern Conference play. I won’t make any predictions there.
I’ve only seen the Western Conference finalists a combined six times (Marlies twice, Barons four times).
I was very impressed with the Marlies when we saw them. This team combines high draft picks (Colborne & Kadri to name a couple) with veteran playmakers (Zigomanis). Jerry D’Amigo is playing his best hockey and players like Philippe Dupuis and Ryan Hamilton are very smart veterans.
Marlies goalie Ben Scrivens is unheralded, probably because he’s 25 and played NCAA hockey. In the postseason he has a 1.61 GAA and a 94.4% save percentage.
Remember the issues Milwaukee had with Abbotsford’s power play? Well, Scrivens and his teammates allowed just eight goals in Toronto’s five-game series victory (4-1).
That leads me into why I like the Marlies in this series…penalty kill. The Marlies have killed 35 of 36 in the postseason and have one shorthanded goal. Toronto has killed 33 straight and didn’t allow an Abbotsford power play goal in 24 tries over the five games of that series. The Heat was 5/18 on the power play against Milwaukee (27.8%).
Eight NHL teams made a head coaching change at some point during the 2011-2012 season. Five of those changes led to a better record under the new guy.
Anaheim – Randy Carlyle 7-13-4 record, .375 winning percentage
Bruce Boudreau 27-23-8, .534
Carolina – Paul Maurice 8-13-4, .400
Kirk Muller 25-20-12, .544
Columbus – Scott Arniel 11-25-5, .329
Todd Richards 18-21-2, .463
Los Angeles – Terry Murray 13-12-4, .517 (John Stevens interim 2-2-0)
Darryl Sutter 25-13-11, .622
Montreal – Jacques Martin 13-12-7, .516
Randy Cunneyworth 18-23-9, .450
St. Louis – Davis Payne 6-7-0, .462
Ken Hitchcock 43-15-11, .703
Toronto – Ron Wilson 29-28-7, .508
Randy Carlyle 6-9-3, .417
Washington – Bruce Boudreau 12-9-1, .568
Dale Hunter 30-23-7, .558
One could argue that Carlyle didn’t really have a chance to do much in Toronto in such a limited number of games. Also, it would be hard to say Hunter did worse than Boudreau when the Capitals made a nice run in the playoffs.
Cunneyworth and Hunter will not be back in the same roles with their respective teams. Cunneyworth will be an assistant, once again, with Montreal while Hunter is heading back to London (OHL).
I wish I could tell you a bit about Admirals roster moves for next season. Nothing is happening right now. Nearly all of the players have gone home. That’s the closest thing to “moves” to this point. Some have told me that Europe may be an option next season. There’s still a lot of offseason to go, even to get to the July 1 free agency period. We have to be patient.