There's not a lot of good news surrounding the Arizona Coyotes' AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. It's unfortunate, but it's true. However, that does not mean that this season has been a total loss.
In fact, there have been some incredibly (albeit few) positive aspects of the Falcons' season. With the back end of the season approaching following Monday's All-Star Game, let's assess what has and hasn't been good for the Coyotes' affiliate this season.
Let's get this out of the way.
At 17-22-5 with 39 points, the Falcons are sole owners of dead last in the Atlantic Division, just two points above Eastern Conference-worst Binghamton Senators for worst in the East, while also being the fourth worst team in the league.
At 13 percent, their powerplay is 27th in the league while their penalty kill is the worst in the league at 77.9 percent. They are tied for the third least amount of goals scored (109) in the league whilst tied for fifth most goals against (143).
The numbers say it all.
Statistically, the team is in a challenging spot. They lack much production offensively and are so heavily reliant on offensive production from blue-liners that their defensive zone usually ends up porous. In fact, four of the Falcons top nine scorers are defensemen. This liability is not made much easier by the lack of a true upper pairing stay at home defenseman.
Don't believe it?
Defenseman Alex Grant, the second highest point scorer on the Falcons (9-20-29), is a -23.
Goaltending has more or less been a black hole for the Falcons, as top netminder Nicklas Treutle is peppered on a nightly basis, which has paved the way for his 2.86 GAA and .911 save percentage. Whenever Treutle gets a night off, Marek Langhamer gets the call. His growing pains have been quite apparent at the AHL level, with a 4.20 GAA and a .865 save percentage.
The numbers don't lie. They're tough, but they say everything you need to know about the Falcons this season.
As mentioned earlier, there is some good that has come out of this season.
The AHL is a development league, that's no secret. It's designed to develop players to be competitive at the NHL level, and when you consider the call-ups made by the Coyotes this year, essentially every Falcon has been serviceable at the NHL level.
Dustin Jeffrey in his handful of games was a productive part of multiple scenarios in Arizona. Laurent Dauphin scored a goal in his short stint in the NHL and Craig Cunningham was a good fill-in player while up.
Then, of course, there's Louis Domingue.
So considering what the designed purpose of the AHL is, the Falcons have actually done just their job. They likely won't be bringing a Calder Cup to the City of Homes this year, but in terms of supplementing Arizona, they've done exactly what they're called upon to do.
And though well off the pace for a playoff position at this point, the AHL is so dynamic with late season call-ups that a well timed hot streak could actually put Springfield in a position to be playing postseason games.
But don't hold your breath, it's merely a possibility.