237 AHL players helping NHL clubs return to play

Jake Evans (Photo: David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As 24 National Hockey League teams open their Phase 3 training camps this week, their rosters include 237 American Hockey League players vying to get a shot at participating in the postseason.

The 237 players include those who spent at least half of the 2019-20 season in the AHL, as well as players who would have been eligible to return to the AHL before the end of the season.

The Minnesota Wild’s Phase 3 camp roster includes Gerry Mayhew, the AHL’s most valuable player for 2019-20; Sam Anas, the league’s 2019-20 scoring champion; Kaapo Kahkonen, who was named the AHL’s outstanding goaltender this season; and Brennan Menell, who was a First Team AHL All-Star on defense.

Jake Bean, voted the AHL’s top defenseman in 2019-20, is in camp with the Carolina Hurricanes, and Second Team AHL All-Stars Connor Ingram (Nashville), Jacob MacDonald (Colorado), Brogan Rafferty (Vancouver) and Alex Barre-Boulet (Tampa Bay) are taking part as well.

Also among the training camp participants are 30 players who took part in the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic back in January, including Jack Studnicka (Boston), Morgan Frost (Philadelphia), Vinni Lettieri (N.Y. Rangers), Jansen Harkins (Winnipeg), Kevin Lankinen (Chicago), Brayden Burke (Arizona) and Evan Bouchard (Edmonton).

NHL teams are scheduled to transition to Phase 4 on July 26, traveling to either Toronto or Edmonton to participate in exhibition games, Stanley Cup Qualifiers and the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. In 2019-20, 88.6 percent of all NHL players have been American Hockey League graduates, and 345 players have skated in both leagues this season alone.