Over the summer, the Arizona Coyotes decided to follow the example of the other western teams and move their AHL affiliate closer. While the decision got a little bit of attention at the time, the Roadrunners have been largely silent since. We decided it was time to get to know the new guys.
First, some recent history. The Roadrunners were the Springfield Falcons in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The Falcons …. did not have a good year. They finished the season with 60 points, last in the division & conference and were only saved from being last in the league by the Iowa Wild who had 59 points. For some perspective, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms were seventh in their division with 75 points, 15 more than the Falcons.
What went so terribly wrong?
The Falcons didn’t have a high powered offense, scoring only 194 goals for. However, they weren’t the worst in the league. The Wild only scored 169, the Moose had 180, the Reign had 192, and both the Heat and the Wolves tied the Falcons with 194 goals for. While not very good, their offense wasn’t the killer as long as the defense and goaltending could compensate.
Their defense, while not impressive, was not horrible. They allowed 2,343 shots against. Compared to 2,267 shots for, it’s pretty even with a shot differential of -76. The Gulls allowed 2,418 shots on goal and had a -248 differential. The Stars allowed 2,438 shots against with a +107 differential. The defense was middle of the pack for the most part.
The goaltending numbers, however, are not good and certainly not enough to compensate for the anemic offense. Niklas Treutle was their main net minder, playing in 39 games. In those games, he had a save percentage of 0.905, good for #35 in the league. Marek Langhamer was his back-up, appearing in 19 games and registering a 0.883 SV% (!!). Of the remaining goaltenders who suited up for the Falcons, Luis Domingue was the best with a 0.919 SV%, but he was called up to the Coyotes when Mike Smith was injured after only 13 games.
The Falcons ended the season with 265 goal scored against. The nearest team was the Manitoba Moose with 250 goals against.
New year. New location. New faces?
The Roadrunners have hired Mark Lamb from the Swift Current Broncos as head coach and added Mark Hardy (formerly with the LA Kings, Ontario Reign and Chicago Wolves) as the assistant coach. Lamb was also an assistant coach under Dave Tippett for the Stars, who is known for his defensive style of play. With Hardy as the assistant, you can expect the Roadrunners defense to be able to handle the Pacific Division style of play & protect the netminders better.
What will they be working with?
Below are the players currently under contract with either the Coyotes or the Roadrunners.
- Laurent Dauphin* (Projected to be with the Coyotes)
- Tyler Gaudet*
- Matia Marcantuoni*
- Ryan MacInnis*
- Mark Olver (Tucson Contract)
- Chris Mueller
- Michael Bunting*
- Henrik Samuelson*
- Hunter Fejes* (Tucson Contract)
- Erik Selleck (Tucson Contract)
- Garret Ross
- Brendan Perlini (still eligible for Junior)
- Christian Dvorak (still eligible for Junior)
- Craig Cunningham*
- Stefan Fournier*
- Mark Cooper (Tucson Contract)
- Christian Fischer* (still eligible for Junior)
- Conner Garland (still eligible for Junior)
- Justin Hache*
- Dakota Mermis*
- Dysin Mayo*
- Kyle Wood*
- Brandon Burlon (Tucson Contract)
- Michael Young (Tucson Contract)
- Michael Boivin (Tucson Contract)
- Anthony DeAngelo (still eligible for Junior)
- Austin Lotz (Tucson Contract)
- Adin Hill* [SV% 0.905]
- Marek Langhamer* [sv%0.883]
*-On Springfield roster last season.
The biggest turnover is at right wing, but each position should see some new blood. Treutle has gone to Europe, leaving the starting goaltender job up for grabs. The Roadrunners will have to hope that either Hill can improve with more than 4 games, or Langhamer steps up from last year’s performance. Or that Austin Lotz makes the most of his opportunity.
Welcome to the Western Conference.