2020–21 AHL season

The 2020–21 AHL season was the 85th season of the American Hockey League. Due to the ongoing restrictions in the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the regular season was pushed back to February 5, 2021,[1] and the league championship Calder Cup was not awarded for the second consecutive season. The Hershey Bears won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for the best regular-season record, their eighth regular-season championship. This was the first season under Scott Howson as the league's president after David Andrews announced his retirement after 26 years in the position.

2020–21 AHL season
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationFebruary 5 – May 20, 2021
Regular season
Macgregor Kilpatrick TrophyHershey Bears
Season MVPT. J. Tynan (Colorado)
Top scorerAndrew Poturalski (San Diego)
AHL seasons

League changesEdit

After the previous season was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no certainty for the AHL's 2020–21 season due to continuing limitations on arena capacities and traveling during the pandemic.[2] The league had originally hoped to start play by December 4, 2020,[3] but was later pushed back to at least February 5, 2021.[1] Similar to the National Hockey League, the league was reportedly exploring the option of playing with an all-Canada division due to increased border travel restrictions between the United States and Canada.[4]

On January 4, 2021, the league announced its plans and divisional alignment for the shortened season. The four Canadian teams were placed in their own division with a season start date still pending provincial approval.[5] Three teams opted out of the season entirely: the Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals, and the Springfield Thunderbirds. Seven teams temporarily relocated to be closer to their parent teams or due to venue availability during the pandemic: the Belleville Senators to Ottawa;[6] the Binghamton Devils to Newark, New Jersey; the Laval Rocket to Montreal;[7] the Ontario Reign to El Segundo, California; the Providence Bruins to Marlborough, Massachusetts; the San Diego Gulls to Irvine, California; and the Stockton Heat to Calgary.[8] The San Jose Barracuda also opened their season with home games in Tucson before returning to San Jose.

The schedule for the American divisions was released on January 22; however, the Canadian teams had not yet received provincial clearance.[9] Stockton then moved from the Pacific to the Canadian Division on January 28 causing scheduling changes to the Pacific Division.[10] On February 1, the league announced a revised schedule and that the start of the season for the Canadian Division had been postponed.[11] The beginning of the Canadian schedule was released on February 9 with a February 12 start date, but the two Ontario teams still did not have approval to play at home.[12]

The league allowed each division the choice to hold a divisional postseason. On April 29, it was announced that only the Pacific Division had elected to hold a postseason tournament to name a division champion, with the other four divisions awarding their champions via regular season records. Consequently, the league would not award the Calder Cup for a second consecutive season.[13]

Team and NHL affiliation changesEdit

RelocationsEdit

HiatusEdit

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, three teams chose to not participate in the season.

Affiliation changesEdit

AHL team New affiliate Previous affiliate
Charlotte Checkers[a] Florida Panthers Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Wolves Carolina Hurricanes Vegas Golden Knights
Henderson Silver Knights[b] Vegas Golden Knights St. Louis Blues
Springfield Thunderbirds[a] St. Louis Blues Florida Panthers
AHL team Primary affiliate New secondary affiliate[c]
Chicago Wolves Carolina Hurricanes Nashville Predators[14]
Syracuse Crunch Tampa Bay Lightning Florida Panthers[15]
Utica Comets Vancouver Canucks St. Louis Blues[16]
  1. ^ a b Primary affiliation prior to team opting out of the season.
  2. ^ Affiliation change as the San Antonio Rampage
  3. ^ Due to three teams opting out of the season, temporary dual NHL affiliations were permitted

Coaching changesEdit

Off–season
Team 2019–20 coach 2020–21 coach Notes
Charlotte Checkers Ryan Warsofsky Geordie Kinnear Warsofsky left the Checkers for the Chicago Wolves when the Carolina Hurricanes switched affiliations. Warsofsky had coached the Checkers for one season and 34–22–5–0 record after coming from the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays.[17] After the Checkers affiliated with the Florida Panthers, Kinnear was named the new head coach on September 28, 2020, after serving in the same position with the Panthers' previous affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. Kinnear had previously served as an assistant coach in Charlotte from 2010 to 2016.[18]
Chicago Wolves Rocky Thompson Ryan Warsofsky Thompson left the Wolves on July 18, 2020, after three seasons and a 113–71–18–11 record to join the San Jose Sharks coaching staff.[19] Warsofsky was brought to the Wolves by their new NHL affiliate, the Carolina Hurricanes in September 2020.
Henderson Silver Knights Drew Bannister Emanuel Viveiros Bannister stayed with the Blues' organization when the Rampage franchise was relocated by the Vegas Golden Knights to Henderson. Viveiros was named the Silver Knights' first head coach on August 31, 2020, after serving as the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs in the Western Hockey League with a 41–18–4–1 record.[20]
Ontario Reign Mike Stothers John Wroblewski On May 30, 2020, the Los Angeles Kings announced that they would not renew Stothers' contract as head coach of the Reign.[21] Wroblewski was hired on August 17, 2020.[22]
Rochester Americans Chris Taylor Seth Appert On June 16, 2020, the Buffalo Sabres fired the entire Americans' coaching staff including Taylor.[23] Appert was hired on August 14, 2020.[24]
San Jose Barracuda Jimmy Bonneau
Michael Chiasson
Roy Sommer Sommer was called up as an associate coach for the San Jose Sharks during the previous season after serving as the head coach of the Sharks' AHL affiliate since first being named to the position with the Kentucky Thoroughblades on May 28, 1998. Assistant coaches Bonneau and Chiasson were named as co-coaches of the Barracuda until the end of the season[25] when Sommer was sent back to the Barracuda.[26]
Springfield Thunderbirds Geordie Kinnear Drew Bannister Kinnear left the Thunderbirds after their affiliate, the Florida Panthers, changed their affiliation to the Charlotte Checkers. Kinnear had led the Thunderbirds since 2016 and a 128–126–26–9 record. Bannister was brought on as the new head coach from the San Antonio Rampage, the former St. Louis Blues' affiliate that was sold and relocated as the Henderson Silver Knights.
Tucson Roadrunners Jay Varady Steve Potvin Prior to the postponed start of the season, Roadrunners' head coach Jay Varady was brought up to the Arizona Coyotes' staff as an assistant coach[27] and Roadrunners' assistant coach Steve Potvin was promoted as the head coach.[28]
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Mike Vellucci J. D. Forrest On September 2, 2020, Vellucci was promoted to an assistant coach position with the Pittsburgh Penguins.[29] On September 11, Forrest was named head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the WBS Penguins since August 2016.[30]

Final StandingsEdit

 y–  indicates team clinched regular season division title

Final standings as of May 20, 2021[31]

Atlantic Division GP W L OTL SOL Pts Pts% GF GA
y–Providence Bruins (BOS) 25 15 6 2 2 32 .680 78 60
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR) 24 14 9 1 0 29 .604 82 74
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI) 24 8 14 2 0 18 .375 59 81
Canadian Division GP W L OTL SOL Pts Pts% GF GA
y–Laval Rocket (MTL) 36 23 9 3 1 50 .694 113 87
Manitoba Moose (WPG) 36 18 13 3 2 41 .569 109 102
Belleville Senators (OTT) 35 18 16 1 0 37 .529 102 111
Toronto Marlies (TOR) 35 16 17 0 2 34 .486 111 119
Stockton Heat (CGY) 30 11 17 2 0 24 .400 79 95
North Division GP W L OTL SOL Pts Pts% GF GA
y–Hershey Bears (WSH) 33 24 7 2 0 50 .758 110 77
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (PHI) 32 18 7 4 2 43[a] .672 96 92
Syracuse Crunch (TBL/FLA) 32 19 10 3 0 41 .641 120 93
Utica Comets (VAN/STL) 28 16 11 0 1 33 .589 89 88
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT) 32 13 13 4 2 32 .500 92 107
Rochester Americans (BUF) 29 11 15 2 1 25 .431 89 116
Binghamton Devils (NJD) 35 7 20 5 2 22[a] .314 89 127
Central Division GP W L OTL SOL Pts Pts% GF GA
y–Chicago Wolves (CAR/NSH) 33 21 9 1 2 45 .682 132 94
Cleveland Monsters (CBJ) 29 16 10 1 2 35 .603 101 86
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET) 32 16 12 3 1 36 .563 96 97
Iowa Wild (MIN) 34 17 13 4 0 38 .559 107 113
Texas Stars (DAL) 38 17 18 3 0 37 .487 117 124
Rockford IceHogs (CHI) 32 12 19 1 0 25 .391 89 115
Pacific Division GP W L OTL SOL Pts Pts% GF GA
y–Henderson Silver Knights (VGK) 39 25 13 0 1 51 .654 125 102
Bakersfield Condors (EDM) 39 24 14 0 1 49 .628 129 104
San Diego Gulls (ANA) 44 26 17 1 0 53 .602 153 142
San Jose Barracuda (SJS) 36 15 15 4 2 36 .500 105 127
Colorado Eagles (COL) 34 15 15 3 1 34 .500 101 104
Ontario Reign (LAK) 40 17 19 4 0 38 .475 136 149
Tucson Roadrunners (ARI) 36 13 20 3 0 29 .403 103 126
  1. ^ a b The March 10 game between Lehigh Valley and Binghamton was suspended after one period with the teams tied 1–1 due a player testing positive for COVID-19. The game was declared a draw with each team earning one point.[32]

Statistical leadersEdit

Leading skatersEdit

The following players are sorted by points, then goals. Final as of May 20, 2021.[33]

GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus-minus; PIM = Penalty minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Andrew Poturalski San Diego Gulls 44 9 34 43 10
Cooper Marody Bakersfield Condors 39 21 15 36 18
Danny O'Regan Henderson Silver Knights 37 16 20 36 4
Riley Damiani Texas Stars 36 11 25 36 18
Tyler Benson Bakersfield Condors 36 10 26 36 30
Chase De Leo San Diego Gulls 37 15 20 35 18
T. J. Tynan Colorado Eagles 27 8 27 35 12
Riley Barber Grand Rapids Griffins 32 20 14 34 22
Adam Mascherin Texas Stars 37 18 16 34 14
Boris Katchouk Syracuse Crunch 29 11 23 34 18

Leading goaltendersEdit

The following goaltenders with a minimum 660 minutes played lead the league in goals against average. Final as of May 20, 2021.[34]

GP = Games played; TOI = Time on ice (in minutes); SA = Shots against; GA = Goals against; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average; SV% = Save percentage; W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime/shootout loss

Player Team GP TOI SA GA SO GAA SV% W L OT
Zachary Fucale Hershey Bears 11 665:36 294 20 1 1.80 .932 9 2 0
Logan Thompson Henderson Silver Knights 23 1349:37 768 44 2 1.96 .943 16 6 1
Cayden Primeau Laval Rocket 16 914:03 350 32 2 2.10 .909 11 4 0
Alex D'Orio Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 11 661:06 281 24 0 2.18 .915 6 3 1
Zane McIntyre Lehigh Valley Phantoms 19 1079:45 505 42 1 2.33 .917 11 3 3

PostseasonEdit

2021 Calder Cup playoffs
2020
2022

For the second consecutive season, there was no Calder Cup playoffs. The teams in the Pacific Division held a postseason tournament to name a division champion.[13] All seven Pacific teams participated, with the bottom four teams participating in a single-elimination play-in series to face the top seed in the division semifinal. The semifinals and finals were both best-of-three series.[35]

Pacific Division playoffEdit

Final results:[36]

Play-in Games
(May 18)
Play-in Final Game
(May 19)
Semifinals
(best-of-3)
Finals
(best-of-3)
            
1 Henderson Silver Knights 2
4 San Jose Barracuda 0
4 San Jose Barracuda 2
7 Tucson Roadrunners 1
4 San Jose Barracuda 5
5 Colorado Eagles 1
5 Colorado Eagles 5 (OT)
6 Ontario Reign 4
1 Henderson Silver Knights 1
2 Bakersfield Condors 2
2 Bakersfield Condors 2
3 San Diego Gulls 1

AHL awardsEdit

Award Winner
Calder Cup Not awarded[13]
Les Cunningham Award T. J. Tynan, Colorado Eagles[37]
John B. Sollenberger Trophy Andrew Poturalski, San Diego Gulls[38]
Willie Marshall Award Cooper Marody, Bakersfield Condors[38]
Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award Riley Damiani, Texas Stars[39]
Eddie Shore Award Ryan Murphy, Henderson Silver Knights[40]
Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award Logan Thompson, Henderson Silver Knights[41]
Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award Pheonix Copley and Zachary Fucale, Hershey Bears[42]
Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award Spencer Carbery, Hershey Bears[43]
Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award Cal O'Reilly, Lehigh Valley Phantoms[44]
Yanick Dupre Memorial Award All 31 teams' athletic trainers[45]
Jack A. Butterfield Trophy Not awarded[13]
Richard F. Canning Trophy Not awarded[13]
Robert W. Clarke Trophy Not awarded[13]
Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy Hershey Bears[46]
Frank Mathers Trophy
(Canadian Division regular season champion)[13]
Laval Rocket[47]
Emile Francis Trophy
(Atlantic Division regular season champion)[13]
Providence Bruins
F. G. "Teddy" Oke Trophy
(North Division regular season champion)[13]
Hershey Bears
Sam Pollock Trophy
(Central Division regular season champion)[13]
Chicago Wolves
John D. Chick Trophy
(Pacific Division tournament champion)[13]
Bakersfield Condors
Norman R. "Bud" Poile Trophy Not awarded[13]
James C. Hendy Memorial Award Melissa Caruso, AHL[48]
Thomas Ebright Memorial Award Jon Gustafson, San Jose Barracuda[48]
James H. Ellery Memorial Awards Tony Brown, Cleveland Monsters
Ken McKenzie Award Zack Fisch, Hershey Bears[49]
Michael Condon Memorial Award Tim Mayer[48]
President's Awards

All-star teamsEdit

Instead of the traditional first and second all-star teams, the league named an all-star team for each division in addition to the annual all-rookie team.[50][51]

Atlantic DivisionEdit

Canadian DivisionEdit

Central DivisionEdit

North DivisionEdit

Pacific DivisionEdit

All-RookieEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "2020-21 start date moved back to Feb. 5". American Hockey League. October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "American Hockey League plans alternatives to Dec. 4 season start date". ESPN. October 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "AHL moves 2020-21 start date to Dec. 4". American Hockey League. July 30, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "Inside the pandemic-season plans for the AHL, ECHL and SPHL". ESPN. October 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "3 American Hockey League teams opt out of season, 28 to play". Associated Press. January 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "Belleville Senators Announce Temporary Relocation For Home Games for 2020-21 Season". Belleville Senators. February 23, 2021.
  7. ^ "Rocket to play in Montreal in 2020-21". AHL. January 6, 2021.
  8. ^ "28 teams to participate in 2020-21 AHL season". AHL. January 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "American Hockey League Announces 2020-21 Schedule". OurSports Central. January 22, 2021.
  10. ^ "Heat to Play in Calgary for 2020-21 Season". Stockton Heat. January 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "Revised Pacific Division schedule released". AHL. February 1, 2021.
  12. ^ "February schedule set for Canadian Division clubs". AHL. February 9, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "American Hockey League Announces Plans for 2021 Playoffs, Sets Calendar for 2021-22". OurSports Central. April 29, 2021.
  14. ^ "Wolves take on Predators as second affiliate for 2020-21". AHL. January 7, 2021.
  15. ^ "TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING PARTNER WITH FLORIDA PANTHERS TO OFFER USE OF AHL AFFILIATE SYRACUSE CRUNCH". Syracuse Crunch. January 6, 2021.
  16. ^ "Thunderbirds opt out of 2020-21 AHL season". nhl.com/blues. January 4, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "Ryan Warsofksy". Chicago Wolves. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  18. ^ "GEORDIE KINNEAR RETURNS TO CHARLOTTE AS HEAD COACH". Charlotte Checkers. September 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "Rocky Thompson leaves Chicago Wolves, reportedly to join Sharks coaching staff". SB Nation. July 18, 2020.
  20. ^ "Henderson Silver Knights Announce Hiring Of Head Coach Manny Viveiros". NHL.com. August 31, 2020.
  21. ^ "KINGS WILL NOT RENEW CONTRACT OF REIGN HEAD COACH MIKE STOTHERS". LA Kings Insider. May 30, 2020.
  22. ^ "John Wroblewski to Become Head Coach of the Ontario Reign". nhl.com/kings. August 17, 2020.
  23. ^ "Entire Amerks Coaching Staff Fired". Spectrum News. June 16, 2020.
  24. ^ "SETH APPERT NAMED AMERKS HEAD COACH". Rochester Americans. August 14, 2020. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "Sommer gets call to join Sharks". AHL.com. December 11, 2019.
  26. ^ "San Jose Sharks Announce Organizational Coaching Staff". San Jose Sharks. September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  27. ^ "Coyotes Add Jay Varady to Coaching Staff for 2020-21 Season". OurSports Central. January 14, 2021.
  28. ^ "Coyotes Name Steve Potvin as Roadrunners Head Coach". OurSports Central. January 22, 2021.
  29. ^ "Penguins name Todd Reirden, Mike Vellucci as assistant coaches". WPXI News. September 2, 2020.
  30. ^ "Forrest Named Head Coach, Karmanos named GM of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton". Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  31. ^ "AHL Standings". AHL. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  32. ^ "Game Preview – Phantoms at Devils – Game #22". Lehigh Valley Phantoms. April 26, 2021.
  33. ^ "American Hockey League Skater Stats 2020-21 Regular Season TheAHL.com". American Hockey League.
  34. ^ "American Hockey League Goalie Stats 2020-21 Regular Season TheAHL.com". American Hockey League.
  35. ^ "American Hockey League Announces Details for Pacific Division Playoffs". OurSports Central. May 7, 2021.
  36. ^ "2021 Playoffs". AHL. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  37. ^ "Eagles' Tynan voted AHL MVP". American Hockey League. June 4, 2021.
  38. ^ a b "San Diego's Poturalski, Bakersfield's Marody Win AHL Scoring Awards for 2020-21". OurSports Central. May 20, 2021.
  39. ^ "Stars' Damiani wins Garrett Award". TheAHL.com. June 3, 2021.
  40. ^ "Henderson's Ryan Murphy Wins Eddie Shore Award". OurSports Central. June 2, 2021.
  41. ^ "Silver Knights' Thompson wins Bastien Award". TheAHL.com. June 1, 2021.
  42. ^ "Hershey's Copley, Fucale Win AHL's Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award". OurSports Central. May 18, 2021.
  43. ^ "Spencer Carbery Wins Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL's Outstanding Coach". OurSports Central. May 28, 2021.
  44. ^ "Lehigh Valley's Cal O'Reilly Wins Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award". OurSports Central. May 27, 2021.
  45. ^ "AHL recognizes athletic trainers with Dupré Award". TheAHL.com. June 14, 2021.
  46. ^ "Bears clinch Kilpatrick Trophy as regular-season champions". AHL. May 15, 2021.
  47. ^ "Rocket vs. Marlies recap & highlights: Laval clinches the division title in an overtime loss". SB Nation. May 5, 2021.
  48. ^ a b c "American Hockey League Announces Winners of 2020-21 Excellence Awards". OurSports Central. August 9, 2021.
  49. ^ "Hershey's Zack Fisch Named 2020-21 Recipient of Ken McKenzie Award". OurSports Central. June 24, 2021.
  50. ^ "2020-21 American Hockey League All-Star Teams Named". OurSports Central. May 26, 2021.
  51. ^ "2020-21 American Hockey League All-Rookie Team Named". OurSports Central. May 25, 2021.

External linksEdit

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