Skip to main content

AHL commissioner says Californian teams to play 68 games, rest of league plays 76

When the AHL expanded to the West Coast, there were reports the Californian teams would play a shortened schedule. AHL commissioner David Andrews confirmed Friday evening that the five new AHL clubs will play 68-game schedules next season, while the rest of the league will play 76 games.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

With the AHL’s expansion to the West Coast, one of the yet to be released details was what would happen with scheduling for the Californian clubs in the 2015-16 season. Friday evening, however, Commissioner David Andrews confirmed the five new Pacific Division teams would play a shortened schedule next season.

According to LAKingsInsider.com’s Jon Rosen, Andrews told him the AHL’s new clubs – which includes the Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls, Stockton Heat, Bakersfield Condors and San Jose Barracuda – will each play 68 games next season, eight fewer than the rest of the AHL. It is, however, unclear whether or not the same will go for the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars.

“Our entire league plays an unbalanced schedule,” Andrews told Rosen. “We play predominantly in our divisions, and we play within our conferences, so it won’t be really much less balanced or any less balanced than any of our other divisions.”

With the number of games out of the way, though, the AHL will have to come up with a method for deciding playoff seeding and how a shorter schedule for the California-based clubs will impact conference and divisional standings. That’s especially important should San Antonio and Texas still play a 76-game schedule.

One potential solution would be for the league to base playoff seeding around points percentage instead of solely off of points, which is the current method in both the AHL and NHL. While it’s not a perfect system, it could be one that helps level out what could be perceived as an already uneven playing field, given rest for the Californian teams heading into the post-season could help in playoff matchups.

The 68-game schedule could also be a temporary change, however. There have been rumblings about the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes moving their affiliates into the Western United States, which might allow for a newer, more balanced division to pop up as soon as the 2016-17 season. At this point, though, that’s purely speculation.

The full schedule and decision on how the seeding will work won’t be released until later this summer.

TOP HEADLINES

20220119SheldonKeefe
Play

Maple Leafs' Keefe Derides Team's 'Soft and Purposeless' Game Against Rangers

The Toronto Maple Leafs head coach called out his team's play after giving up two-goal lead in a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday Night.

USATSI_14159321

The War for the NHL's Metro Division is Here

At the beginning of the NHL’s current regular season, there was a good case to be made that the Metropolitan Division was going to be the most difficult of the four divisions. But right now, it looks like four teams will fight for the top spot moving forward.

NHL COVID-19
Play

NHL Announces Massive Schedule Update

The NHL has found new dates for the 98 games that were previously postponed from the past two months due to COVID-19.