Wednesday, July 6, 2011

AHL moves teams and divisions around

Over the last couple of months a lot has changed. In the NHL the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and free agents are jumping to other teams. The same can be said for the AHL, as the Manitoba Moose move to St. John's. This new look as well as bigger fan base has resulted in the AHL moving divisions around and adding a couple.

Last season there was a total of four divisions and two conferences. This upcoming 2011-12 season fans will see six divisions in the two conferences.

The changes include downsizing the divisions from six to eight teams depending on the division down to five teams. Here is a breakdown of what the next season will look like compared to what it did this past season.

2010-2011                                                                                 2011-2012

Eastern Conference                                                             Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division                                                                    Atlantic Division
Portland Pirates                                                                     Portland Pirates
Manchester Monarchs                                                      Manchester Monarchs
Connecticut Whale                                                                    St. John's
Providence Bruins                                                               Providence Bruins
Springfield Falcons                                                             Worchester Sharks
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
East Division                                                                            East Division
Binghamton Senators                                                       Binghamton Senators
Charlotte Checkers                                            Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins                                            Hershey Bears
Hershey Bears                                                                     Norfolk Admirals
Norfolk Admirals                                                                 Syracuse Crunch
Albany Devils
Syracuse Crunch
Adirondack Phantoms                                                      Northeast Division

Western Conference                                                       Adirondack Phantoms
                                                                                           Albany Devils
North Division                                                            Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Hamilton Bulldogs                                                            Connecticut Whale
Manitoba Moose                                                            Springfield Falcons   
Lake Erie Monsters
Abbotsford Heat
Toronto Marlies                                                                   Western Conference
Grand Rapids Griffins     
Rochester Americans                                                                North Division
                                                                                              Hamilton Bulldogs
West Division                                                                        Lake Erie Monsters
Milwaukee Admirals                                                                Toronto Marlies
Houston Aeros                                                                     Grand Rapids Griffins
Peoria Rivermen                                                                    Rochester Americans
Texas Stars
Oklahoma City Barons
Chicago Wolves                                                                        West Division
San Antonio Rampage                                                              Houston Aeros
Rockford Icehogs                                                                        Texas Stars
                                                                                            Oklahoma City Barons
                                                                                            San Antonio Rampage
                                                                                                Abbotsford Heat

                                                                                               Midwest Division
                                                                                              Charlotte Checkers
                                                                                                Chicago Wolves
                                                                                              Milwaukee Admirals
                                                                                                 Peoria Rivermen
                                                                                                Rockford Icehogs

The playoffs will also change a little. It will still remain eight teams in the playoffs but now it will be the three division winners in each conference will get the top spots and then the other five spots will rank teams determined on who had more points than the other. The first round quarterfinals will change from a seven game series to a five game series. The other rounds will be a best of seven series and the match-ups will change based on who has the better seeds in the later rounds. So if the number one seed gets knocked out but the two seed wins then the two seed will play the eighth seed.

Later in the summer the league will announce its teams' schedules.

For more information on the AHL, Lake Erie Monsters, Tulsa Oilers and Colorado Avalanche stay tuned to this blog and follow me on Twitter @WillWodka2133.

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