NHL Prospects

AHL clubs benefit when NHL affiliate misses postseason

The Boston Bruins laid an egg in their regular season finale and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators.

It was a disappointing loss in Boston, but it provided a silver lining for Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate in Providence, where the Providence Bruins loaded up for the Calder Cup playoffs.

Frank Vatrano, Colin Miller, and Maxime Talbot all reported back to the AHL once the NHL season concluded. The additions should turn Providence into a dangerous team in the AHL’s postseason.

Vatrano had an eye-popping 33 goals in 33 games with Providence this season and leads the AHL in markers with two games remaining. The 22-year-old UMass-Amherst product will instantly re-join Providence’s top line and his ability to go to the danger areas gives the P-Bruins a bonafide scoring threat.

Miller and Talbot will help solidify Providence’s blue line.

Talbot is a long-time NHL veteran that has embraced a leadership role in Providence. Miller is just 23, but he won a Calder Cup last season with the Manchester Monarchs and provides a calming presence in his own end.

Providence isn’t the only AHL team to benefit from it’s NHL parent club missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

March 21, 2016: Toronto Maple Leafs Center William Nylander (39) skates with the puck during the third period against the Calgary Flames. (Photo by Kevin Sousa Icon Sportswire)

The Toronto Maple Leafs playoff hopes were sealed much earlier then Boston’s heartbreaking end, and a calvary of talent joined the Toronto Marlies this week.

William Nylander, Andrew Campbell, Frederik Gauthier, Garret Sparks, Sam Carrick, T.J. Brennan, and Tobias Lindberg all re-joined a Marlies team that won the AHL regular season title.

Mike Sislo, Pavel Zacha, Blake Pietila, and Damon Severson all joined the Albany Devils this. Sislo, Zacha, and Pietila have all spent much of the season in Albany while Severson made his AHL season debut this week after spending all season in the NHL.

However, the Devils were able to qualify Severson for the Calder Cup playoffs since he was assigned to Albany in a paper transaction on Feb. 29, the NHL trade deadline. Only players on the roster at 3 p.m. EST on Feb. 29 are eligible to play in the AHL after the NHL trade deadline.

Nearby in Utica, the Vancouver Canucks sent Andrey Pedan, Brendan Gaunce, and Mike Zalewski back to the Utica Comets. The group of young players all bring NHL experience after playing with Vancouver late in the season.

In the Western Conference the Lake Erie Monsters added a nice collection of players this week when Dean Kukan, Joonas Korpisalo, Justin Falk, Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Sonny Milano all headed back to Cleveland after spending time with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That could provide a much needed added boost in the tough Central Division bracket, where the other three teams lost players to NHL parent clubs that made the playoffs.

In the Pacific Division the Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls, and Texas Stars aren’t getting any favors from their NHL clubs — which all made the playoffs. But, the Charlotte Checkers are getting a boost in their late playoff push after the Carolina Hurricanes missed the postseason.

Ryan Murphy and Brendan Woods each re-joined the Checkers this week, while captain Derek Ryan will head back to the AHL once he’s cleared from an upper-body injury.

The AHL regular season ends Saturday, while best-of-five first-round series start in the middle of next week.

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