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Panthers Prospect Report: 03.31.10

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

PROSPECT ON FIRE
CLAY WILSON

Intangibles
Position: D             Shoots: Left
Height:   6-0            Weight: 195
Born: 4/5/83 in Sturgeon Lake, MI
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent on July 2, 2009.
The Skinny
Defenseman Clay Wilson takes home this week's honor of “Prospect On Fire” for the second time this season (12.23.09).

The soon to be 26-year old blueliner is coming off a plus-eight on-ice performance last week in which he posted two goals and four assists in four games.

He is first on the team and ninth in the league with 46 assists, in addition to leading his club with 185 shots on goal.

He enters this week with 19 points (4+15) in his last 15 games. He also has a team-best 24 assists on the power-play this season, good enough for second in the AHL in that category. Wilson continues to be Rochester’s top scoring defenseman with 60 points (14+46) and presently leads all league blue liners in scoring.

Stats
Team GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Rochester 72 14 46 60 56 +19

AMERKS.COM
(40-31-3, 6th in AHL Western Conference)

THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS
Wednesay March 31st at Grand Rapids (7:00pm)
Friday April 2nd vs Hershey (7:05pm)
  Saturday April 3rd at Hamilton (7:00pm)

WEEKLY NOTES: Two weeks is all that remains on schedule for the 2009-10 American Hockey League season, and with just a handful of games left to be played, the race to the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs will be in full throttle. Six teams have now crossed the finish line and locked up berths into the postseason, joining the Hershey Bears and Hamilton Bulldogs as the first two teams to be guaranteed postseason play. The Rochester Americans, who were denied their bid for playoff contention last night, enter the week in sole possession of second place in the North Division, four points ahead of the Abbotsford Heat. After claiming five out of a possible eight points this past weekend, one that saw Rochester earn its 40th win of the season, the Amerks must now turn their attention to a crucial must-win weekend against some of the league’s toughest teams. This week, the Amerks hit the road for divisional matchups in Grand Rapids and Hamilton, with a lone home tilt against archrival Hershey sprinkled in between.    

TWO IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Rochester needs two points to clinch a berth in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs, earned either with a win this week or with the help of a Toronto loss. The Amerks are bidding for a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season after a two-year absence from postseason play.

TAYLOR TIES GARWASIUK:
One week removed from becoming just the 80th player in the 74-year history of the AHL to hit the 500-point plateau, veteran forward Chris Taylor tied Ron Garwasiuk for 13th on the all-time goals list with his first-period goal last night against Toronto, the 130th of his career as an Amerk.

MARCH ROAD WARRIORS: After taking a 3-0-0-0 sweep on the road to kickoff the month of March, the Amerks have posted a 6-2-0-0 record since then in their eight road contests this month away from the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena. During that stretch, Rochester captured a season-high four straight on the road from March 5th to March 13th, the longest streak since winning three from January 15th to January 30th    (at Hamilton, Syracuse and Toronto).

JOHNSON NEARS 70-POINT BENCHMARK: Amerks forward Jamie Johnson is four points away from becoming the first player since the 2004-05 campaign to reach the 70-point benchmark. He has just six games left to accomplish the feat, which was last achieved by Taylor in 2004-05.

AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (40-31-2-1, 83 points) enters the week after earning their first shootout loss of the season, following a 4-3 setback to the Toronto Marlies last night at The Blue Cross Arena. With a win over the Marlies on Sunday, the Amerks would have clinched a spot in the playoffs, since Lake Erie lost in regulation to the San Antonio Rampage. Despite the loss, the Amerks are 2-1-0-1 in their last four games, picking up points in three of those four, with just six games to go in the regular season. 

Johnson, who shows 15 points (5+10) in his last 21 games, continues to be Rochester’s top point-getter with a team-high 66 points (24+42) and is only one of two skaters to play in all 74 games. Playing at under a point-per-game pace, Johnson is tied for 12th in the AHL in overall point production, while his 42 assists are also 13th best in the league.     

Jeff Taffe, who has four points (1+ 3) in his last two games, established a new career-high with his team-leading 26th goal of the season last night against Toronto, surpassing his totals from a year ago. He presently ranks tied for 13th in the league in goals scored and is second among Rochester’s active roster with seven power-play goals. 

Rookie goaltender Alexander Salak, who has started nine of the last 15 games between the pipes for Rochester, boasts a 28-14-0 record with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 46 games. His 28 wins presently rank him fourth among league netminders. His counterpart, third-year goaltender Tyler Plante, whose started back-to-back games, currently shows a 9-11-1 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in just 23 games of service.

Veteran forward Mike York, who leads the team with eight power-play markers, has collected 19 points (8+11) in 17 games since returning to the lineup on February 19th. He also captured his 100th AHL point over the weekend against Toronto. Amerks captain Rory Fitzpatrick is three points from 200 as a pro, while 2010 AHL All-Star forward Graham Mink is just one goal shy from 200 pro goals.


FLORIDAEVERBLADES.COM
(37-24-9, 6th in ECHL American Conference)
THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS
Friday April 2nd vs Charlotte (7:30pm)
Saturday April 2nd vs Charlotte (7:30pm) 

WEEKLY NOTES: The Florida Everblades clinched a Kelly Cup Playoff berth the past week with their win on Thursday night in Charlotte, 4-3. The ‘Blades dropped a decision to Charlotte on Tuesday night, 6-2. The two games would be the final two games in ‘Blades history played in Charlotte. The Checkers are becoming the Everblades primary affiliate next season as they move to the American Hockey League and will be the triple-A affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.
 
The Everblades finish up their 12th regular season in Southwest Florida this upcoming weekend on April 2 and 3 versus division-leading Charlotte.
                                                                                    




STATISTICS




Information from the amerks.com and floridaeverblades.com used to create this report.
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