The American Hockey League’s 2012-13 season will only be two nights old when the two top affiliates of the NHL’s reigning Stanley Cup finalists cross paths. The Albany Devils will host the Manchester Monarchs this Saturday with a few locked-out players from the Los Angeles-New Jersey championship bout taking part.
With some NHL games already deleted from the schedule, the best-case scenario for the major league circuit may end up being a shortened, restructured slate with most, if not all, matchups confined within a given team’s conference. In turn, Saturday’s tilt in Albany and the Jan. 11 Devils’ venture into Manchester could be as close as one gets to a rematch of the 2012 Stanley Cup series.
With that said, the presence of actual participants in that series will inevitably lend an element of intrigue to those AHL contests. The same concept will apply to an even greater extent in a multitude of matchups that mirror a given pair of NHL foes with their respective development teams.
The six rivalries worth looking forward to the most, especially if familiar NHL youngsters are going to be involved, are as follows.