In this episode, Alex takes a look at how the American Hockey League and the Syracuse Crunch have shaped the Lightning. There’s a reason 24 players currently on the Lightning’s roster have at least some AHL experience in their pasts. The league offers players a bridge between juniors/college and professional hockey, unique challenges that create growth as both a player and a professional, and, when needed, the opportunity to get a career back on track. All 24 players Alex looks at experienced the AHL through at least one of those situations.
She starts off by discussing the few players who had AHL time under their belts before this season but were not with Syracuse, including Blake Coleman and Curtis McElhinney. She also discusses the curious case of forward Patrick Maroon. She then discusses players who played for Syracuse for a small amount of time since the start of the affiliation in 2012, including superstars Andrei Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov. Next, she spends some time looking at the players currently on the Lightning’s roster who had an impact on Syracuse’s own bids for championships, like Tyler Johnson, Mitchell Stephens, Ben Thomas, Yanni Gourde, and Daniel Walcott. She finishes off with the newer crop of players who are making an impact (or appear poised to in the near future): Erik Cernak, Ross Colton, Cal Foote, Alex Barre-Boulet, and more.