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AHL Betting News and Notes

AHL Betting News and Notes

AHL Betting News and Notes
By Chris Battaglia

No NHL. No problem. Check out the latest betting news and notes from the young guns in the AHL.

Hot Team: Norfolk Admirals

A complete roster swap hasn’t slowed Norfolk’s momentum from last season. Now the affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, the Admirals have won their first four games of the season to push the team’s regular-season winning streak to 32 games.

Led by prospects Kyle Palmieri and Peter Holland up front, the most pleasant surprise for Norfolk this season has been rookie defenseman Sami Vatanen - a fourth-round pick in 2009 who contributed a goal and four assists in wins over Connecticut Friday and Saturday.

Norfolk heads to Newfoundland for its first road trip of the season: A doubleheader against the St. John’s IceCaps this weekend, which will go a long way to showing how much this year’s Admirals resemble last year’s.

Cold Team: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

With NHL experience dotting the roster, Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate should have more than six goals in its first four games. But after losing at home to Bridgeport and Syracuse on the weekend, the Penguins are the only team in the league yet to register a point in the standings.

Eric Tangradi, who played 39 games with Pittsburgh over the past two seasons, has one goal on 14 shots and needs to be more efficient converting his chances. Benn Ferriero, a veteran of 92 games with the San Jose Sharks, has two assists. Simon Despres, the puck-moving defensive prospect who earned 18 games with Pittsburgh last season, has one assist and five shots.

If Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wants to get out of the basement, players like Tangradi, Ferriero and Despres need to lead the way for rookies like Beau Bennett and Joe Morrow. And that leadership starts on the scoreboard.

Prospect Watch: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Nino Niederreiter looked lost in the NHL last season, scoring one goal in 55 games with the New York Islanders, but the fifth-overall pick from 2010 is comfortable with Bridgeport.

With three goals and five points in three games -- all of them wins for Bridgeport -- Niederreiter leads a prospect-laden Sound Tigers team that includes first-round picks Brock Nelson and Calvin de Haan, as well as 2008 second-rounder Travis Hamonic, who has 50 points in 135 NHL games as a defenseman.

Rookies John Persson, Johan Sundstrom and Kirill Kabanov each have two points, further tilting the balance of scoring towards Bridgeport’s youth: nine of the team’s 13 goals have been scored by players under 22 years old.

Scoring Leaders: Week 2

Oklahoma City Barons rookie defenseman Justin Schultz scored three goals on the weekend and leads all blueliners with four goals this season. Schultz, the highly touted college free agent of the offseason, was signed by Edmonton and appears to be gelling with the Oilers’ young core of Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the Barons.

Cory Conacher of the Crunch continues to lead the league with nine points, while Marcus Foligno of the Rochester Americans is in a tie for second after a four-point performance against Hershey on Saturday.

Surveying the schedule:

St. John’s plays host to a pair of doubleheaders this week, facing the Portland Pirates Tuesday and Wednesday and the Norfolk Admirals Saturday and Sunday. After that, the IceCaps head off on a five-game road trip.

The Adirondack Phantoms’ bus will be all over upstate New York on the weekend, with games in Albany Friday, at home in Glens Falls Saturday, and in Syracuse Sunday. Albany is an hour’s drive from Glens Falls, while Syracuse is around three hours.

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