The IceCaps endured a tough month in February. In 12 games played, they won less than half, picking up 12 out of a possible 24 points. Those 12 points were enough to keep them clinging to a playoff spot, as they sit in fourth place in the North Division with 58 points.
North Division Standings
|St. John's IceCaps||56||25||23||7||1||58|
First line dominance
Despite having more losses than victories, the top line of Charles Hudon, Chris Terry and Nikita Scherbak has been on fire. The three forwards racked up a combined total of 46 points while the rest of the forwards have 37 points between them.
The battle between Terry and Hudon
It’s no secret that Terry and Hudon have been the top point producers for the IceCaps this season. The duo scored 44% of the IceCaps goals for February, and it was fun to watch the two battle it out for goal domination.
They concluded January tied at 12 goals apiece, and remained neck-and-neck for the whole month of February. By the end of the month, they were once again all tied up, this time at 21.
While Hudon has an impressive point-per-game with 36 points (21G, 15A) in 36 games, Terry surpasses him in the overall points department. He has 50 points (21G, 29A) in 38 games played, is second in the league in points and second in the league with 12 power-play goals. His outstanding performance earned him the AHL Player of the Month for February.
Trades and Signings
Between acquiring Nikita Nesterov and the injured Canadiens trickling their way back into the lineup, GM Marc Bergevin was forced to place defenceman Mark Barberio on waivers on February 2.
Barberio has been a major player during his two seasons with the IceCaps, coming close to a point-per-game each season: 20 points in 26 games during the 2015-16 season, and 18 points in 20 games played this season.
It was a fingers-crossed move, with the intent being to reassign him back to the IceCaps. It wasn’t Barberio’s first time being placed on waivers, but this time he was scooped up by the Colorado Avalanche.
A few weeks later, on February 21, defenceman Philip Samuelsson was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for another blueliner, Keegan Lowe.
Samuelsson was primarily a third pairing defender or a healthy scratch, playing 40 games and picking up one goal and four assists during that time. Lowe laced up for 49 games with the Charlotte Checkers this season, and has three goals and nine assists under his belt.
It’s assumed the swap was because Samuelsson couldn’t find a way to get on coach Sylvain Lefebvre’s good side, and that Lowe will help with the push for the playoffs. Lowe becomes a restricted free agent by the end of the season and has a cap hit of $750,000 at the NHL level, so he probably won’t be back next season.
The six-foot-three, 234-pounder was signed to a one-year AHL contract extension on February 16. Primarily playing in the bottom six, the winger has seven points (5G, 2A) in 47 games. His style of play has earned him 103 penalty minutes, currently eighth in the league, and has made him a fan favourite in St. John’s.
Race for the playoffs
While the IceCaps sit in the fourth and final playoff spot for the North Division, there’s not much room for error as they gear up for March. The Utica Comets are just three points behind them with a game in hand.
On the flip side, the IceCaps are just four points behind the third place Toronto Marlies, and will be facing their rivals this weekend. It’s pretty much an even split in wins when it comes to their meetings with the Marlies, but the IceCaps have a pretty decent record while on the road this season.
- Brett Lernout is the only IceCap to have appeared in all 56 games this season.
- Broll (103), Bobby Farnham (115) and Stefan Matteau (100) have each reached triple-digit penalty minutes.
|Jacob de la Rose||42||5||13||18||-8||30|