A final look at the IceCaps' record-setting season
It’s been just a week since the St. John’s IceCaps’ long 2013-14 season came to an end with their loss to the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League Calder Cup final, but in many ways, its seems like a month ago. Perhaps it was the suddenness of the finish and the usual expedited departure of most of the players.
Maybe it’s because the eyes of the pro hockey have switched to a forward focus, especially with the National Hockey League’s Entry Draft just three days away. Conceivably, it could be that it finally looks like we may be settling into summer and we need to forget about wintery things
Nevertheless, here is one last statistical look back at the year that just was for the IceCaps, one that provides numerical confirmations that it was indeed the best season of the three the team has spent in St. John’s, capped off by their deepest trek into the Calder Cup playdowns.
The team established regular-season records for wins (46), points (99), most goals for (258) and fewest goals against (207). On an individual level, team captain Jason Jaffray set the single-season records for points (59) and assists (41) by an IceCap player, while defenceman Ben Chiarot destroyed the one-year plus/minus standard with a rating of plus-29. In fact, it comes to each of the categories of goals, assists and plus-minus, four of the top five all-time single-season performances by IceCaps were delivered by players who suited up in 2013-14.
However, one set of those numbers also reveals a reason for St. John’s failure to get by Texas in the final.
John Albert (28), Jerome Samson (27), Andrew Gordon (22) and Jaffray (18) were four of the IceCaps five leading goal scorers in the regular season (Carl Klingberg, with 22 was the other). None of the four scored a goal in the five-game series with the Stars, and they totalled just six assists in the series — three by Gordon, two by Jaffray and one by Albert. Samson didn’t have a single point.
But the rest of 2013-14, both regular-season and first three playoff rounds, certainly gets the sticker of unqualified success.
Whether the IceCaps are able to come up with anything close to a repeat in 2014-15 has to be very much in question, though. Of St. John’s top 20 scorers in 2013-14, only four — defencemen Brenden Kichton and Julian Melchiori, along with forwards Adam Lowry and JC Lipon — have known contracts for 2014-15. All the rest are restricted or unrestricted free agents at the NHL level, or are coming off AHL deals. That list also includes goalie Michael Hutchinson, set to become an RFA.