Is this a guy that can contribute with the Leafs next year?
Photo Cred: Mike Ivall
A few weeks ago I looked at the relationship between an AHL team’s success one year and their parent club’s success the next. If you read that piece you will know that there wasn’t a mathematical correlation. However, I did find that most AHL teams that posted a .600 winning percentage or better saw their NHL parent club in the post season the following year (if you missed it you can find it here).
This, of course, was some good news for Leafs fans as the Marlies placed second in their conference with a .632 winning percentage this year.
I know that it wasn’t perfect looking into just one year – there are so many variables that can affect an NHL teams performance – so I decided (along with some people asking) to look at the NHL teams performance three and four years removed from a dominant AHL season.
The results aren’t as comforting this time around. Follow me over the jump for graphs and analysis.
First let me say that the players graduating from the minors to the NHL after a strong season probably aren’t the difference between a Stanley Cup Playoff berth and a lottery ticket. The likely reason for teams jumping from a bottom 5 finish to playoff spot is solid goaltending, key UFA signings and maybe a couple young players making the jump from AHL to NHL.
While the Ottawa Senators making the playoffs after a Binghamton Calder Cup victory is inspiring and they had eight players make the jump to the NHL for at least one game. Only a small handful of them played more then a few games and/or contributed any offense.
Lets take a look at an NHL teams success two years removed from a solid AHL campaign
What we have here isn’t too much different from year two. The NHL point percentages came down a little bit but there are still only four teams with a sub .500 record. Of course a .500 record doesn’t get a team in the playoffs anymore. This year a .561 winning percentage was good for eighth in the East and .579 was good for eighth in the West. 
Here is the NHL teams success in year four.
In year four we see the relationship fall even further. Again we see that only four teams are below the .500 mark with seven of these teams likely missing the playoffs.
Looking into how the NHL team performed three and four years after a solid AHL season has shown that a good AHL team does not mean a good NHL team.
However, there seems to be some separation between the good and bad teams (as you can see above). This could possibly be teams trading their young players and doing better, or worse because of it (i.e. not using their farm system).
Next up, I am going to take a look at the way the good and bad teams handled their AHL players after the good season.