By: Hamilton Bulldogs
06/02/2014 1:20 PM -
HAMILTON, ONTARIO – Even though the Hamilton Bulldogs weren’t in the American Hockey League Calder Cup Playoffs in 2013-2014, there were a number of positives on the ice that will carry over toward a successful 2014-2015 season and beyond.
The biggest strength of the Bulldogs in 2013-2014 was between the pipes. The team started the season with one of the AHL’s top duos in goal in Dustin Tokarski and Robert Mayer. Tokarski went on to have one of the best seasons of his career. He earned a spot in the AHL All-Star Classic and was recalled to the ‘Dogs National Hockey League affiliate, the Montreal Canadiens, on a couple of occasions, eventually finishing the years as the Habs’ playoff starter after No. 1 goaltender Carey Price went down with injury. Promising up-and-comer Mike Condon also saw time in the Hamilton net in 2013-2014, as did NHL veteran Devan Dubnyk, who was acquired late in the season by the Canadiens.
On defence, Hamilton fans saw some of Montreal’s most promising young blueliners. Nathan Beaulieu, Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi all earned call ups to the Habs in 2013-2014, with former first-round draft picks Beaulieu and Tinordi both getting extended looks with the big club. All three young defencemen are expected to factor heavily into the Canadiens’ long-term plans on the back end, but spent the majority of the 2013-2014 season with the Bulldogs.
At forward, the ‘Dogs featured a mix of youthful exuberance and veteran leadership. Captain Martin St. Pierre led the team in points; the diligent, experienced duo of Gabriel Dumont and Mike Blunden led by example with unparalleled work ethic; and dynamic first-year speedster Sven Andrighetto electrified crowds with his powerful shot and incredible creativity.
A true testament to the Hamilton club’s potential and depth is that 11 players saw game action with both the Bulldogs and Canadiens in 2013-2014. At the end of the AHL regular season, 10 Bulldogs were recalled to the Canadiens as ‘Black Aces’ for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Tokarski and Beaulieu seeing playing time in the Habs’ lineup during their run to the NHL’s Eastern Conference Final.
The future is bright in Hamilton heading into 2014-2015, with many positives to build upon from 2013-2014 as well as top Canadiens prospects such as Jacob de la Rose, Dalton Thrower, Charles Hudon, Mac Bennett, Connor Crisp and Daniel Carr expected to join the fold.
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