On Monday May 7, the American Hockey League released its conference and division alignment for the 2018-19 season, which I recapped here. The net result of the realignment for the WBS Penguins is that they will play in a 16-team Eastern Conference as a result of the relocation of the Cleveland Monsters to the Eastern Conference’s North Division.
I speculated earlier this week that such a relocation would lead to the Penguins and Monsters playing each other this upcoming season, the 20th for the WBS franchise. Friday, the WBS Penguins proved me correct as they released their breakdown of opponents for the 2018-19 season.
The unbalanced schedule favored by the AHL means that, as part of their 76-game schedule, the WBS Penguins will play 54 games against their counterparts in the Atlantic Division (27 road, 27 home). The breakdown of Atlantic Division games is as follows, with even splits between road and home games:
- Bridgeport - 8 games
- Charlotte - 4 games
- Hartford - 6 games
- Hershey - 12 games
- Lehigh Valley - 12 games
- Providence - 6 games
- Springfield - 6 games
Of the remaining 22 games, 16 will take place against North Division opponents, broken down as follows. Once again, home and road splits are even.
- Binghamton - 4 games
- Cleveland - 4 games
- Rochester - 2 games
- Syracuse - 2 games
- Toronto - 2 games
- Utica - 2 games
The remaining 6 games are split among three Central Division opponents, with WBS set to play home and home series against Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, and Rockford during 2018-19. Chicago, Iowa, Manitoba, San Antonio, Texas, and the entire Pacific Division, as expected, are off the WBS regular season schedule.
The net changes in the schedule for 2018-19 compared to 2017-18 are as follows:
- WBS will not play Belleville or Laval in 2018-19. The four games WBS played against the Senators and Rocket during 2017-18 will instead go to Cleveland.
- WBS will play two less games each against the Binghamton Devils and Syracuse Crunch in 2018-19. Two of these games are reallocated to Springfield, increasing the games against the Thunderbirds to six from four; the other two are reallocated to Bridgeport, resulting in eight games versus the Sound Tigers against six this past season. This ultimately results in a total slate of 54 division games in 2018-19, an increase of 4 from last year’s 50 and just over 71% of the schedule.
At some point later this summer, the WBS Penguins will release the full schedule for their 20th season. When they do, check back here at PensBurgh for my summary and analysis.