Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday: AHL Rookie Playoff Performances

For the purpose of this ranking we're looking at just the young guys in the AHL playoffs, those players still considered by the league to be rookies. As you can imagine, there are a bunch of players worth consideration for placement here but these are the five that have stood out the most to me.

5. P.K. Subban (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Subban started the playoffs against Manitoba and appeared in all 6 games of that opening round series. Then when injuries struck at the NHL level, Subban was recalled by Montréal. The Bulldogs kept winning without him and reached the Western Conference finals when the Canadiens were eliminated by Philadelphia. Subban was sent back down to the farm to try and get the Bulldogs over the hump against Texas but, even with his goal in Game 7, Hamilton lost and is now done for the year. Subban had 10 points in 7 AHL playoff games this year.

4. Drayson Bowman (Albany River Rats)

The Albany River Rats swept aside the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in 4 straight games and Bowman collected two points in the series. The second round match up was expected to be much tougher and that proved to be the case as the River Rats ran into the defending champs from Hershey. The Bears polished off Albany in 4 straight but in the series Bowman, a 3rd round pick in 2007, produced 7 points in that short series.

3. Jonathan Blum (Milwaukee Admirals)

Another player who didn't get to see a lot of post season action was this former Vancouver Giants defenceman. Blum's Admirals squad lost in the first round but went the 7-game distance against the Chicago Wolves. Blum recorded 8 points, 7 of them assists, in the series and led the Admirals blueline in scoring. The California product made a pretty strong case all year for getting a long look in Nashville next September. (Photo: Chris Jerina AHL.com)

2. Alex Stalock (Worcester Sharks)

San Jose's AHL affiliate may have only made it to the second round of the playoffs but netminder Alex Stalock was a big reason for their post season success. The Sharks were taken out by the Manchester Monarchs but Stalock's playoff stats (2.28 GAA) and (.919 SV%) are proof that the keeper was on top of his game in that series as well as the opening round win over Lowell. Only once did a team score more than 4 goals against Stalock. (Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

1. Jamie Benn (Texas Stars)

No doubt about it, the Dallas Stars prospect has been the best rookie in the AHL playoffs this year. He leads the entire league in post season scoring with 24 points through 18 games. After spending all of the regular season in the NHL with Dallas, Benn joined the farm team after the big team was finished for the year. Benn has 8 multi-point games in the playoffs including a 5-point effort against Chicago. The former Kelowna Rocket has probably played more hockey than anyone over the last 2 years going back to his time in junior where he played until the end of May at the Memorial Cup and is now back in June with a chance at the Calder Cup as well. He's a guest on The Pipeline Show tonight, you can hear that interview HERE.

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