While the NHL seemingly remains determined to squeeze hockey into the summer months, the AHL is throwing in the towel.
The American Hockey League announced this morning that the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, including the playoffs, has been cancelled.
In a statement on its website, the league said:
After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions. The League’s operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season.
Interestingly, this note was buried at the end of the release as well:
The AHL’s standings – sorted by points percentage – and statistics as of March 12, 2020, are considered final and official, and will serve as the basis for determining league awards for the 2019-20 season.
It’s unclear if that means that they’ll name the top team the Calder Cup champion, or if they’ll just use it to determine a division winner, individual awards winners, etc.
The news is especially disappointing for the Providence Bruins, who were shaping up to be a juggernaut. The P-Bruins finished the season at 38-18-6; those 82 points were the best in the Eastern Conference and second best in the AHL (behind the Milwaukee Admirals, who had 90).
The P-Bruins were rolling at the break as well, posting a 12-0-1 record over their prior 13 games.
However, health, safety, and logistics take precedent, and the P-Bruins’ season is over.
It was a good year of development for several guys.
- Dan Vladar led the league (among qualified goalies) with a 1.79 GAA and a .938 save percentage. He also didn’t allow a single goal in a shootout all season. He should be a leading contender for the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the league’s best goalie, but the fact that he started just 25 games could hurt him.
- Jack Studnicka took a big leap forward this season as well, recording 49 points (23G, 26A) in 60 games. Those 23 goals led the team. It’s expected that Studnicka will push for a roster spot in the NHL next season, but if not, he has shown that he’s ready to grow at the AHL level.
- Zach Senyshyn had a disappointing season, though he was showing signs of life when the season ended. He recorded nearly half of his season’s total points in the P-Bruins’ last 10 games. Next year is a “make it or break it” season for him.