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AHL

Challenges shaping youthful core in Springfield

Panthers AHL affiliate undergoing on-the-fly makeover

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

The American Hockey League tested Florida Panthers prospects early.

A 2-11-1-0 start for Springfield included six consecutive losses to start the season. That kind of early-season turbulence would test any team at any level, especially a young group of prospects trying to find their way in the AHL.

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AHL

Lightning have AHL pipeline primed

Syracuse affiliate plays important part in Tampa Bay success

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

A commitment to player development at the American Hockey League level has paid off handsomely for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy along with forwards Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, J.T. Brown, Alex Killorn, and Cedric Paquette all honed their trade with Syracuse. Each is a part of one of the most productive AHL pipelines this decade.

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Short Shifts

Ahead of AHL outdoor classic, Hershey Bears play football on skates

Team gets to know the field that will be under the ice for January 20 game

NHL.com @NHL

Wait a second. Those aren't cleats.

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AHL

Bridgeport establishing pipeline to Islanders

Top-end talent, leadership among characteristics of successful formula

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

The New York Islanders roster is a testament to the commitment to development at the American Hockey League level.

Defensemen Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech, and Ryan Pulock are graduates from Bridgeport. Forwards Casey Cizikas, Joshua Ho-Sang, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Alan Quine have also gone through Bridgeport.

Coach Brent Thompson, in his fifth AHL season with the Islanders organization, is charged of shaping the prospects into NHL-ready players.

Bridgeport, in a loaded AHL Atlantic Division is 11-7-1-0 and has won five of its past six games going into a busy December schedule.

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AHL

Strong starts bringing prospects into focus

Martel, Roy opening eyes with goal-scoring prowess

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

Most of the first month of the season in the American Hockey League is an experiment.

Anywhere from a third to a half of an AHL roster can turn over in a typical offseason. Combine that change with the inexperience of many of the players as well as the undefined roles they will fill and a fair bit of uncertainty becomes the norm.

Early conclusions about a team or player after the first month of the season must be made with caution.

However, while no NHL management team is willing to write off a player early in the season, a prospect can grab attention while the season is still young, pushing past other prospects in the organization with a strong start.

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AHL

Hershey finding its way after rough start

AHL affiliate of Capitals overcoming injuries, promotions in quest to maintain winning ways

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

Plans rarely work out as drawn up in the American Hockey League.

Troy Mann, coach of the Hershey Bears, can attest to that after going through an most unexpected October, a four -week stretch that placed his best-laid plans in shambles.

Offseason turnover for the parent Washington Capitals led to the graduation to NHL work for forwards Jakub Vrana and Nathan Walker along with defensemen Christian Djoos and Aaron Ness. So, an uphill battle was to be expected.

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AHL

Bruins glad to have AHL affiliate close to home

Proximity of minor league team helping Boston cope with injuries

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

The Boston Bruins have long been well ahead of the curve in the American Hockey League.

All but a handful of NHL teams have jockeyed in recent seasons to station their AHL affiliates as close to home as possible. With every team looking for an edge here or an advantage there, geographically proximate affiliates ease player movement, allow NHL management easy access to watch prospects play live and make 1-on-1 instructional time much more feasible.

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AHL

Hartford remakes roster to accelerate development

Rangers affiliate embraces youth to develop more NHL talent

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

A new season has brought a new climate for New York Rangers prospects finding their way with Hartford of the American Hockey League.

"The whole culture here is different," said Hartford defenseman Ryan Graves, who is in his third season with the team.

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AHL

For AHL teams, No. 3 often means No. 1 when it comes to goaltending

Nell, Campbell, Copley among those with versatile skill set to succeed in role

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

Change and challenge are constants for the No. 3 goalie in any NHL organization.

Often, he is the No. 1 goaltender for the affiliate in the American Hockey League, sometimes also serving as a mentor to the other goalies on The AHL roster.

As the go-to option for an NHL recall when an injury or illness strikes one of the goaltenders at the NHL level, the No. 3 goalie always must be prepared. Once recalled, he is one injury, a busy run of games, or an equipment problem from NHL duty.

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AHL

AHL Notebook: Subban's change of fortune inspires others

McCarron, Erne among minor-league vets chasing full-time NHL opportunity

by Patrick Williams / NHL.com Correspondent

You just never know in the American Hockey League.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban is the most recent example that opportunity can arrive at any time for a player.

Going into training camp this fall, Subban, 23, faced a career crossroads as a prospect for the Boston Bruins. He had shown promise in the AHL and had a .917 save percentage to go with his 2.41 goals-against average last season with Providence.

However, the clock is always ticking for a prospect, and he was going into his fifth AHL season and facing a battle with Zane McIntyre for playing time in Providence. McIntyre had the best save percentage (.930) last season in the AHL and ranked second in GAA (2.03).

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