2011-12 Hint #3: The Opponents

Today a majority of AHL teams released their list of opponents for next season. Since Albany has not officially released theirs (as of 4 PM anyway), I took it upon myself to do some detective work and find out from other teams whether they play them or not. And here’s what I came up with, broken down by division:

Northeast:

Adirondack-10 (5 H, 5 A)
Bridgeport-6 (3 H, 3 A)
Connecticut-4 (2 H, 2 A)
Springfield-4 (2 H, 2 A)

East:

Binghamton-8 (4 H, 4 A)
Hershey-4 (2 H, 2 A)
Norfolk-8 (4 H, 4 A)
Syracuse-10 (5 H, 5 A)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton-4 (2 H, 2 A)

Atlantic:

Manchester-2 (1 H, 1 A)
Providence-4 (2 H, 2 A)
Worcester-4 (2 H, 2 A)

North:

Rochester-4 (2 H, 2 A)
Hamilton-4 (2 H, 2 A)

My take: Well, I guess there was no avoiding double digit games with Adirondack. But I am questioning why there are so many games outside the division. Albany plays their divisional opponents a total of 24 times, but play East Division opponents a total of 34 times. I find it interesting that they play Norfolk 8 times, which is a much longer trip, but only play the Pennsylvania teams 4 times each and that’s a closer trip. And 10 times with Syracuse? That’s another one I find interesting. But hey, that’s 5 potential trips to Tim Hortons! Okay getting off topic…

You may notice a new opponent…the Hamilton Bulldogs. This is the first Canadian team the Devils/Rats have played since the 07-08 season when they played 2 games against Toronto. They step in for Charlotte, who doesn’t see anyone in the East at all other than Hershey and Norfolk. The River Rat loyalists still in Albany (especially the ones that still won’t accept the Devils here) are probably none too thrilled about that one. And also no games against Portland or the new St. John’s team. Too busy traveling to Norfolk or Syracuse perhaps?

Other news of the day:

-Per my new favorite website CapGeek, two more signings to announce, both returnees. Unrestricted free agent forward Chad Wiseman signed a 2 year 2 way deal (with a pretty good number if he makes the NHL) and restricted free agent forward Vladimir Zharkov accepted his qualifying offer, taking a 1 year 2 way contract.

-Earlier today, the Devils traded winger Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (otherwise known as PL3) to the Calgary Flames for a 2012 5th round draft pick. He came to Albany about 2 weeks into the season after being waived by New Jersey (that little incident against the Capitals first week of the season may have had a part in it). All he did was contribute 8 goals and amass 334 penalty minutes (good for first on the team and the AHL overall), plus provide some memorable fight moments. With him traded and Louis Robitaille retired, there is now a real need for an enforcer type. Sure Harry Young, Darcy Zajac and Dan Kelly can drop the gloves, but who will be the one to take charge when Zac Rinaldo starts up his antics during the Time Warner Cable Cup series? I wonder if that need will be addressed as the season gets closer.

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