May 10, 2022
Hello, Cuda Country! Good off-season. If you read my last blog, I noted that I will be switching to a bi-weekly format during the offseason, so here we are two weeks later. In this edition of Notes de Nolly, we are going to bounce back a bit. Let’s start with the Calder Cup qualifiers. Although the Barracuda are not participants, the Calder Cup playoffs are in full swing for the first time since 2019. In fact, the first round of the Pacific Division is over, with the three series winners sweeping their best of three clashes. Only the Bakersfield Condors advanced as the bottom seed, beating Abbotsford 2-0 on the road.
The second round will change from a best-of-three series to a best-of-five series. The AHL’s top team, the Stockton Heat, will face the Bakersfield Condors, winners of the division last year, and the Ontario Reign will face the Colorado Eagles.
11 Barracuda alumni are still in the running for the ultimate AHL award, including Antoine Bibeau -Charlotte, Alex True -Charlotte, Sam Harvey – Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Marcus Vela –Hershey, Robbie Russo – Utica, Mark Alt –Rochester, Aaron Dell –Rochester, Kurt Gabriel –Rockford, Stefan Noesen -Chicago, Cavan Fitzgerald -Chicago, Keaton Middleton –Colorado and Matt Tenson – Milwaukee.
In the Stanley Cup playoffs, six former Barracuda players are still vying for sport’s biggest trophy, including Jake Middleton -Minnesota, Ryan Carpenter –Calgary, Evander Kane – Edmonton, Colin Blackwell –Toronto, Jonny Brodzinski – New York (Rangers) and Barclay Goodrow New York (Rangers).
AHL or NHL, I just can’t get enough playoff hockey. As a broadcaster, calling playoff hockey is as good as it gets. I can’t wait to move into the Tech CU Arena and get back to competing for the Calder Cup.
Moving on, we have a jersey reveal! The Barracuda has officially released its “blackout” jumper, marking the first time in team history that it will have a black uniform in the full-time rotation. The team has worn black in the past, but only occasionally. It is also the first time the club will don a uniform with a script logo instead of the fish as the crest. In my opinion, you can’t beat a black jersey. It’s elegant, intimidating and clean. What’s also exciting is that the team has announced they’ll be rocking them on opening night (October 22). This is also part of a total refresh. The Barracuda will unveil two other jerseys this offseason. Let’s go! Love me new united. Is it October again?
Speaking of reveals, I can confirm that the ‘Cuda and the American Hockey League have more exciting news to reveal this Wednesday. And no, it’s not that the seats are set up at Tech CU Arena, although that happens too. I can’t reveal anything, but I can tell you to keep an eye on our social networks on Wednesday morning around 11 a.m.
Congratulations to Barracuda captain Jaycob Megna who signed a two-year extension with the Sharks on Monday. A well deserved deal for a guy who jumped at his opportunity in the NHL last year. Megna has played so well, if I had to guess, the Barracuda will have to look for another captain next year because I don’t see him spending much time in the AHL.
The Sharks finished the season 21-22 with the 22nd-best record in the League, meaning they had the 11th-best lottery odds based on reverse order standings. According to SJSharks.com, because teams could only move 10 places, the Sharks had the lowest odds of any team that could win the first overall selection (3%). If the team above San Jose overall — 21st-ranked Columbus — had won the lottery, they could only have advanced to the second or third overall pick in the draft. Teams also couldn’t drop more than two spots from their current draft order, so the lowest the Sharks could fall was 13th overall. On Tuesday, the Sharks officially secured 11th place. Do not move forward or backward in the lottery.
Montreal won the lottery and will pick first overall as it will also host the 2022 NHL Draft to be held July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal, Que. Round 1 will take place on July 7, with Rounds 2-7 taking place the following day. San Jose currently holds nine selections in the upcoming draft.
The Pacific Division is stockpiling the material this spring. All major AHL awards that have been presented so far will be won by members of the Pacific Division, including Mitch Love – Stockton, AR Pieri Memorial Award as Outstanding AHL Coach, Dustin Wolf – Stockton, Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memoria Award as Outstanding AHL Goaltender, Jordan Gross – Colorado, Eddie Shore Award as Outstanding AHL Defenseman, and TJ Tynan – Ontario, Les Cunningham Award as Most Outstanding Player useful from the AHL.
Another little news before signing. The Seattle Kraken has officially announced that their AHL club, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, will begin their first season playing at Climate Pledge Arena, as their brand new barn won’t be ready in time for the start of the year in Palm Springs. That means the Barracuda could head to Seattle sometime early next year. We will have to see how the season goes.
It’s done for this edition of Nolly’s Notes. Thanks for reading and see you next time.