For the first time in three years, the Rochester Americans will battle for the American Hockey League’s prestigious Calder Cup. The Americans are looking to capture their seventh Calder Cup in franchise history.
Rochester wrapped up their playoff berth following a 4-2 victory on Saturday night, against the Springfield Thunderbirds.
With their playoff berth clinched, Rochester sits in third in the North Division with a record of 31-20-10-6 and 78 points. They are currently staring down a potential first-round playoff matchup with the Syracuse Crunch.
This season has been filled with many surprises from the coaching staff and players alike. In his first season as head coach, Chris Taylor has coached many of the Americans up into having great seasons.
Despite missing 12 games with a high-ankle sprain, CJ Smith has been leading the way for the Rochester Americans. Smith has a career-high 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 54 games.
Another player having a career-best season is defenseman Zach Redmond. Acquired in the offseason in a trade that sent forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Montreal Canadiens, Redmond has proven his worth the Americans. In 59 games this season, Redmond has tallied 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists). All three of the aforementioned statistics are career-highs for Redmond.
Forward Sahir Gill is another player who has been a great veteran addition for this team. Signed in the offseason on a one-year AHL deal, Gill has responded with the best season of his AHL career. A healthy 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 66 games has provided much-needed secondary scoring throughout the season.
Trade deadline acquisition Daniel O’Regan has also been doing his part. In nine games with Rochester, O’Regan has tallied six points (five goals, one assist)
Top prospect Alexander Nylander has also continued to show more signs of progress. He has been heating up as of late (four goals, 11 assists in last 17 games) giving Rochester some hope heading towards the playoffs.
“Alex is getting in the dirty areas of the ice and playing the right way,” Chris Taylor told Amerks.com. “He is a very hard-working guy, who just turned 20 years old, he is improving every day. I think one of his best qualities is that he is such a coachable player and he always wants to be improve and get better.”
With the Buffalo Sabres season set to come to a close as well, reinforcements should also be headed back to Rochester. Linus Ullmark, Justin Bailey, Nicholas Baptiste, Casey Nelson and Brendan Guhle could return in time to join the Calder Cup run.
Despite winning only eight of their last 29 games, Rochester has nine games before the Calder Cup Playoffs begin to fine tune their game.