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2014 Calder Cup Finals kick off on Sunday

Jun 8, 2014, 7:39 PM EDT

Dallas Stars Headshots Getty Images

While the 2014 Stanley Cup Final approaches Game 3, the AHL’s 2014 Calder Cup Finals begin with Game 1 between the St. John’s IceCaps and the Texas Stars on Sunday. That opening contest airs on NHL Network starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.

There are some interesting prospects on both sides, with some possessing the potential to make future NHL impacts. The IceCaps are the Winnipeg Jets’ affiliate while the Stars are (pause for dramatic effect) the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate.*

Actually, one of the most NHL-relevant figures in this series is Stars head coach Willie Desjardins (pictured). “Whiteboard Willie” has been mentioned in quite a few head coach searches. The list of recent AHL head coaches who’ve been successful NHL bench bosses is considerable: Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper, Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau and former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma have all enjoyed near-immediate success after making the jump.

Still, there are prospects worth watching. Stars’ blueliner Jamie Oleksiak hopes to convert his Tyler Myers-like size to NHL success. Brett Ritchie, Radek Faksa and Cristopher Nilstorp could help the big-league Stars in the future. For the IceCaps, there’s goalie Michael Hutchinson, defenseman Zach Redmond and forward Eric O’Dell (among others).

Long story short, there are plenty of stories to watch in the AHL’s title round and it’s another way for hockey fans to get their fix with the number of meaningful games dwindling.

* – Didn’t see that coming, did you?

  1. luz56 - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    I wonder what the similarities are between Calder Cup Champs and Stanley Cup winners over the years? Can’t say as I see Winnipeg playing for a Stanley Cup anytime soon…..

    • scrouch - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Yeah, Calder Cup champs might not translate into NHL champs. It’s good for an organization but you still need high-end prospects getting the experience. If your player are going to top out at 3rd or 4th liners, they can still do well in the AHL playoffs but that won’t be good enough to bring success at the NHL level. But Winnipeg is starting to get some real depth in their system, much of which still hasn’t hit the AHL.

  2. pavelfitzgerald - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    When Atlanta moved to Winnipeg the cupboards were bare – there were zero prospects within the organization. Jets GM Chevy has done a great jon re-stocking & the majority of players on the Ice Caps are players they have drafted (as opposed to fringe NHL veterans like the Penguins affiliate).
    Hutchinson is the main guy to watchh for the Jets next year. O’ Dell is making a name for himself & could be with the big club next year on a full time basis. Other notables are Adam Lowry & Josh Morrissey getting some time in the pros. The Stars also have some great prospects & solid veterans (i.e. Derek Meech) & it should be a great series!

  3. nola5712 - Jun 8, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    woooooo! Great game! IceCaps never gave in, but The Stars were shooting better than I’ve seen them shoot in forever. I can’t say I’m confident they’ll have those opportunities again next game, and the IceCaps will probably have some breaks fall their way too. No injuries, and a great game! Here’s to another!

  4. gbatap - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Those are just a few of the names for the Stars. Dallas as an organization is extremely well off in the prospect department. Nieuwendyk might have left a lot to be desired when it came to day-to-day GM responsibilities but he stocked the shelves with top notch developmental talent.

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