While the AHL St. John’s IceCaps might be struggling on the ice, their fans keep coming back. The team recently sold out is 54th consecutive home game, tying for the second-longest streak in AHL history and showing that support for the team full of Winnipeg Jets prospects remains high in its second season.
The home-ice advantage seems to be working for the IceCaps, as six of their 11 wins have come at Mile One Centre. The team’s 11-14-0-1 record has them last in the Atlantic Division, as most of the team’s players that saw NHL time with the Jets last season have struggled to a slow start in the AHL.
The team is offensively led by veteran defensemen Zach Redmond (seven goals, 13 points) and Derek Meech (three goals, 13 points). Young star Alex Burmistrov, who spent all of last season with the Jets and scored 13 goals, has only scored twice for St. John’s this season. Rookie Ivan Telegin, who regularly notched 45 or more goals in juniors, has only found the back of the net twice.
Goaltender Mark Dekanich, a free agent signing after spending a year (most of it injured) with the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets), has struggled to a 5-6 record, while 2009 draft pick Eddie Pasquale has performed better than his record indicates. He has won six games and lost eight, but also has two shutouts to his credit this season.
While the lockout continues, the level of play in the AHL remains high, which could be a factor in the IceCaps poor performance so far. The Jets may have to look at giving some of the AHL veteran players on the team another look in the NHL, because most of their young prospects don’t appear to be ready.