AHL team: St. John’s IceCaps
NHL affiliate: Winnipeg Jets
Home rink: Mile One Centre, St. John’s
NHLers on 2012-13 roster: Alex Burmistrov, Paul Postma
2011-12 record: 43-25-5-3 (1st, Atlantic; lost in third round of playoffs to Norfolk Admirals)
2011-12 leading scorer: Spencer Machacek, 50 points
What you need to know: One main reason why the IceCaps had such a successful inaugural season was their balanced attack. Their leading scorer Spencer Machacek had a mere 50 points in 61 games last year, but the team dressed 16 players with at least 20 points. The IceCaps will need to duplicate this scoring depth in 2012-13.
The 2012-13 IceCaps feature a similar roster to last year’s, but one major addition to their squad (thanks to the ongoing dispute between the NHL and NHLPA) is Alex Burmistrov. The young Russian forward had a solid season with the Jets last year, and at just 20 years old he is one of the top prospects in the organization. He had 13 goals and 28 points last season in the NHL, and against AHL competition he should be one of the team’s top point-getters. Also, the time spent in the AHL will help him develop into a better player, which is good news for Jets fans.
Besides Burmistrov, the IceCaps have a core of young talent up front that includes like Patrice Cormier, Ivan Telegin and Eric O’Dell. Also, veterans like Brian Sutherby and Jason King will be relied upon for leadership, while players like Zach Redmond and Paul Postma, who were both AHL all-stars last year, should be solid producers on the blue line.
Between the pipes the IceCaps are in good shape as Edward Pasquale is back after registering a 23-12-1 record in 38 appearances last season. Pasquale will share the crease with Mark Dekanich, who is 67-40-12 in 128 career AHL appearances.
By no means are the IceCaps favourites to win the Calder Cup, but with a balanced scoring attack and steady goaltending, St. John’s is the type of team that can make a long playoff run for a second consecutive season.
Fun fact: The IceCaps used to be the Manitoba Moose, but when the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and became the new Jets, the Moose became an expendable franchise in the province.
Cheapest ticket: $16