The Abbotsford Heat closed out the 2011-12 regular season yesterday afternoon with a win over the Toronto Marlies, during which Flames prospect Maxwell Reinhart scored the first two goals of his pro career.
Reinhart scored 28 times and added 50 assists in 61 games for the Ice this past season before Kootenay bowed out to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL playoffs, and has many Flames fans excited about what may be just the beginning of a long and successful pro career.
Reinhart's Kootenay teammate and fellow Flames draftee Joey Leach has also oined the Heat on an ATO and prospect Gaelen Patterson has been re-called from the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies.
The Heat, led by Krys Kolanos' 30 goals and 61 points, finished fourth in the AHL's Western Conference this season with 92 points and will face the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs starting Friday. As the Heat finished ahead of Milwaukee in the standings and have home-ice advantage, they have chosen to begin the five-game series on the road.
The schedule is as follows:
Game 1--Abbotsford@Milwaukee: Friday April 20th (6PM MDT)
Game 2--Abbotsford@Milwaukee: Sunday April 22nd (4PM MDT)
Game 3--Milwaukee@Abbotsford: Wednesday April 25th (8PM MDT)
Game 4--Milwaukee@Abbotsford: Friday April 27th (8PM MDT)
Game 5--Milwaukee@Abbotsford: Saturday April 28th (8PM MDT)
This year's Calder Cup playoffs could have a number of implications for the parent club Calgary Flames. The Heat surpassed expectations this season after missing the playoffs in 2010-11, and Head Coach Troy Ward is not only being credited with the team's turnaround but he is also being considered by some for the now vacant position as Flames bench boss after Brent Sutter was let go last week.
This year's AHL post-season could also act as something of a showcase for a few young players whose junior careers are winding down and who may find themselves logging some ice time with the Flames next year, depending on the events of the NHL off-season.