2017 AHL Annual meeting – Rules, Regulations and 31st team

With the American Hockey League’s board of governor’s annual meeting concluded, the rules and regulations are set for the upcoming season.

The 2017-18 regular season will begin October 6 and run through until April 5.
Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls, San Jose Barracuda, Bakersfield Condors and Stockton Heat shall continue to play eight fewer games than the rest of league.

AHL 2017-18 Division Re-alignment http://wp.me/p2gDti-Kg

The top four teams in each division shall qualify for the playoffs, using points percentage due to the game differential.
It’s a shame this system has been kept despite the apparent unfairness as witnessed last season.

2016-17 Standings

As seen in the above graphic, Bridgeport Sound Tigers recorded more victories (44) than any team in the North, and a better points percentage but failed to qualify for the playoffs after finishing fifth in the extremely strong Atlantic Division.

  • The 2018 Calder Cup will feature a divisional playoff format rather than a 1-8 conference seeding system as was sounded out in some quarters.
    It certainly hurt those teams in the Atlantic Division last season, who pounded themselves to a pulp before Providence succumbed to Syracuse in the Eastern Conference Final.

 

  • Teams will continue to wear light jerseys at home until the Christmas break, and dark jerseys at home after the Christmas break.
    I still don’t understand the reasoning behind this ruling first applied last year.

The most interesting note to come out of the meeting is that ‘The AHL Board of Governors has made a commitment to an expansion applicant, which will see the AHL expand to 31 teams for the 2018-19 season.
This commitment assures that all 31 NHL clubs will have a full primary affiliation in the AHL for 2018-19 and beyond.’
‘The process of concluding related agreements is not yet complete; once those agreements are in place the NHL and AHL clubs involved will jointly announce them.’

Now we can only speculate as to where that 31st team will be based or whose NHL affiliate it shall be but I wrote about possible options below. Seattle and Kansas have been strongly linked with hosting a brand new team but nothing concrete has come to pass.

Eagles to become 31st AHL team?
http://wp.me/p2gDti-Ka

Las Vegas forge minor league partnership with Chicago
http://wp.me/p2gDti-K4

As an aside from the headlines from the AHL’s general meeting, the Grand Rapids Griffins and Detroit Red Wings announced a five-year extension of their affiliation agreement, ensuring their partnership in hockey will continue through at least the 2021-22 season.

Grand Rapids became just the third active AHL franchise to claim two cups within a span of five seasons (2013 and 2017).
The two teams are located just 157 miles apart, with the Griffins having provided 85 players – as well as current head coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler.

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