This season, the hottest ticket in town for elite level ice hockey has been the Calgary Wranglers. Unlike their parent club, the Wranglers have put together one of the most impressive AHL seasons in franchise history, currently sitting in first place league-wide and they were first team to clinch a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.
The Calgary Flames remain in the NHL playoff race, but should their bid to compete for the Stanley Cup fall short this season, the organization is preparing to give the Wranglers full control of the Scotiabank Saddledome, complete with replacing the Flames’ crest at center ice with that of the Wranglers.
Wranglers in Calgary
This is the first season that the Flames’ AHL affiliate team has been located in Calgary, and just the third time it has been located in Canada. Prior to the 2022–23 campaign, the team was based in various American cities:
- 2014–2022: Stockton Heat (Stockton, California)
- 2014–2015: Adirondack Flames (Glen Falls, New York)
- 2009–2014: Abbotsford Heat (Abbotsford, British Columbia)
- 2007–2009: Quad City Flames (Moline, Illinois)
- 2005–2007: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (Omaha, Nebraska)
- 1993–2003: Saint John Flames (Saint John, New Brunswick)
- 1987–1993: Utica Devils (Utica, New York)
- 1977–1987: Maine Mariners (Portland, Maine)
In their inaugural season playing out of the ‘Dome, the Wranglers have put on a show. With a record of 46–15–4, the Wranglers are first in the AHL and a Calder Cup favourite heading into the AHL playoffs. In addition to sitting atop the AHL standings, the Wranglers are:
- First with 40 regulation wins
- First with 43 regulation and overtime wins
- First with 237 goals scored
- First with 160 goals allowed
- Eighth in power play percentage at 21.4%
- Fourth in penalty kill percentage at 84.2%
The Wranglers are not only a closer-to-perfectly functioning team, they also feature several top AHL players on their own. They sent both Matthew Phillips and Dustin Wolf to the AHL All-Star Classic this year, and Head Coach Mitch Love earned the right to coach the Pacific Division squad.
Phillips is currently fourth in AHL scoring. Connor Zary is 15th in AHL scoring in just his second professional season. 10 players have at least 10 goals, so far. All but one skater is a plus player this season. Jeremie Poirier is ninth in scoring among all defencemen, 15th among all rookie skaters, and first among rookie defencemen.
And, saving the best for last, Wolf is having a historic AHL season between the pipes. Among all qualified goalies, Wolf is:
- First in games played with 50, eight more than the next goalie
- Second in GAA at 2.12, the leader is Hunter Shepard at 2.09 and has 22 fewer games played than Wolf
- First in wins with 38, 13 more than the next goalie
- First in save percentage at .931, four points higher than the next goalie Brandon Bussi who has played 21 fewer games
- First with seven shutouts, three more than the next goalie
It is truly phenomenal what Wolf has done this season, and there is no doubt that he will be in the NHL sooner rather than later.
Putting more W’s in the Saddledome
Hopefully seeing their logo on center ice will provide a boost to the AHL-best Wranglers and their quest for a Calder Cup championship.