SAN JOSE — As the Sharks veteran core ages, a new crop of talent is bubbling up through the pipeline, and the organization is hoping that a deep run by the Barracuda in this spring’s Calder Cup playoffs will help put the next generation on a “fast track” to the NHL.
The Columbus Blue Jackets improved by 32 points this season, landing a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, just one year after its AHL franchise, the Cleveland Monsters won the Calder Cup. The Tampa Bay Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 only three years after core players like Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn won the AHL’s top prize with the Norfolk Admirals.
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Now, after tearing through the Western Conference with a 43-16-9 record, the Barracuda will be looking to find similar success when they open their first round playoff series against the Stockton Heat at the SAP Center Friday (35-26-9).
“If we have a real deep run, it would do nothing but fast track these guys careers,” Barracuda head coach Roy Sommer said. “It teaches you how to win: how to get the puck out, how to block a shot, how to manage the puck with the game on the line.”
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Source:: The Mercury News