In the absence of NHL hockey for at least the near-term, one league that may benefit greatly is the American Hockey League. The AHL typically struggles to find footing among hockey fans once the NHL and CHL seasons are underway. This season may provide a good opportunity to show the high level of hockey that is played in the AHL, now that it can be moved out from the shadow of its high-profile older sibling.
Specifically, fans of the Montreal Canadiens can look forward to a health crop of young players who are set to graduate from the junior and college ranks into the American Hockey League. While the Bull Dogs struggled last season ranking last in the North division, accumulating only 75 points, this season’s crop will be bolstered by an infusion of talented young players. Among the highly touted rookies this season will be: Michael Bournival, Brendan Gallagher, Patrick Holland, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Greg Pateryn, and Morgan Ellis.
Those rookies will join more experienced players like Louis Leblanc, Blake Geoffrion, Ian Schultz, and Brendan Nash. While Habs fans may have to wait some months to see their NHL club take the ice, the vast majority of the promising young prospects in the system will play against professionals on schedule. I for one will be taking advantage of the scouting opportunities to watch the Bull Dogs this season.