Alex Ackerman welcomes friend to Field Pass Hockey Patrick Williams back to the podcast. The two discuss the longer playoff run the AHL is currently experiencing and what the future might bring for the league and its teams in terms of scheduling. They dissect the upcoming 72-game season for the league. It will be the first season every team in the league will play the same number of games since 2015. Alex and Patrick give credit to the league and its owners for getting that deal done.
They then take a look at the Crunch’s first round exit against Laval. Patrick ponders what went wrong with the Crunch’s game, pinpointing the lackluster performances of Alex Barre-Boulet and Charles Hudon. He also wonders about the health of goalie Max Lagace. Ultimately Patrick leans towards Syracuse just running out of gas after an intense season marked by injury, COVID-caused pauses and a tight slate of games in the final half of the season. They then can’t resist playing a little bit of the “What If” game with the 2022 Calder Cup playoffs and the 2017 Calder Cup finals.
The two then move onto the recent signing of team captain Gabriel Dumont and what it meant for the forward to sign an AHL-only pact with the organization. Patrick breaks down the kind of thinking that goes into a player making the decision to move from an NHL-focused or NHL-contracted career to an AHL-only focus. To end the episode, Alex and Patrick take a peek at next season for the Crunch. They briefly discuss head coach Ben Groulx’s situation and how strange it is that he’s still with Syracuse, with Patrick predicting Groulx’s departure this summer. They end with discussing the team’s potential roster for 2022-23, focusing specifically on the unrestricted free agents and the goaltending.