AHL alumni lead Golden Knights to Stanley Cup

Photo: Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights won their first Stanley Cup championship on Tuesday night, getting contributions all season long from American Hockey League alumni.

Three-time AHL All-Star Jonathan Marchessault won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after totaling 13 goals and 12 assists in 22 games.

Marchessault began his professional career on an AHL contract in 2011 and played 306 games, registering 263 points, in the American Hockey League with the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning organizations before graduating full-time to the NHL.

Vegas captain Mark Stone, who notched a hat trick in Tuesday’s Cup-clinching 9-3 victory, played 91 games over two seasons with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, totaling 30 goals and 49 assists. William Karlsson, who scored 11 goals in the postseason, skated in the AHL with Norfolk and Springfield, and Chandler Stephenson played 180 games for the Hershey Bears.

Nicolas Roy becomes the 130th player ever to win both the Calder Cup and the Stanley Cup; Roy was a member of the AHL champion Charlotte Checkers in 2019.

Adin Hill, a veteran of 140 games in the AHL with Henderson, San Jose, Tucson and Springfield, went 11-4 in the playoffs for Vegas with a league-best .932 save percentage.

All told, 24 of the 25 players to appear in a Stanley Cup Playoff game for the Golden Knights came through the AHL, a list that also includes Shea TheodoreAlec MartinezIvan Barbashev, Reilly Smith, Mike Amadio, William Carrier, Zach WhitecloudNic Hague, Keegan Kolesar and two-time AHL All-Star Brayden McNabb.

Behind the bench, head coach Bruce Cassidy won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s coach of the year in 2001-02 with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Cassidy also spent five seasons as head coach of the Providence Bruins (2011-16), leading them to the best record in the AHL in 2012-13. Assistant coach John Stevens is a member of the AHL Hall of Fame who won three Calder Cups as a player and one more as a head coach, and assistant Ryan Craig captained the Lake Erie Monsters to a Calder Cup championship in 2016.