Stefan Noesen leads Chicago Wolves to best record in AHL - Sports1
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Stefan Noesen leads Chicago Wolves to best record in AHL

The American Hockey League (AHL) is the NHL’s top developmental league, but it’s also one of the most competitive leagues in the world. The franchise is trying to find the right mix to prepare young players for the next step in their careers and win the Calder Cup. One team that consistently looks to be at the top of the standings is the Chicago Wolves.

Throughout their franchise history, Wolves seem to have mastered the secrets of talented young players and seasoned veterans. AHL teams need these veterans not only to help with production on the ice, but also to provide leadership in the locker room. Stefan Noesen fits that model, as he has been a key part of one of the league’s best lineups and a role model for so many players just starting their careers.

The long road to Chicago

Born in Plano, Texas, Noesen began playing hockey in suburban Dallas, where he was Blake Coleman. He made a name for himself with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). After scoring 34 goals and 77 points in the 2010-11 season, he was named to the 21ststone Overall, the Ottawa Senators used their first-round pick for Mike Fisher from the Nashville Predators.

Noesen was a first-round pick in 2011. (Photo by Aaron Bell/CHL)

He signed an entry-level contract with the Senators on December 29, 2011, but never played for the team. On July 5, 2013, Northam was traded along with the forward to the Anaheim Ducks Jacob Silverberg And a first-round pick for forward Bobby Ryan in the 2014 NHL draft. He made his NHL debut for the Ducks on April 3, 2015, and scored his first career goal in Game 3 on December 7, 2016.

Northam was waived by the New Jersey Devils midway through the 2016-17 season. He had his best NHL performance the following season, scoring 13 goals and 27 points in 72 games. He played in four playoff games and scored one goal in the Devils’ first-round win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After failing to get the Dallas Stars out of training camp in 2019, he signed an AHL deal with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He played enough to win an NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins and scored a goal in six games before being waived by the San Jose Sharks.

Stefan Noesen San Jose Sharks
Northam played part of two seasons for the Sharks. (Jess Starr/hockey writer)

Northam scored six goals and eight points in 39 games for the Sharks before he became part of a three-team trade. Nick Folinho Headed to the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 11, 2021. He played one regular-season game for the Maple Leafs.He signed a two-way contract with the carolina hurricane this August. He played in two NHL games in late December as the Hurricanes deal with COVID, but he has been a big part of the Wolves’ roster for most of the season.

big gear on wolf wheel

Wolves have Best record in the AHL Entering the weekend at 23-5-1-1. You wouldn’t have a .800 percentage point without team effort, but the Wolves have benefited from a dynamic top line. For most of the season, Northam has played alongside center Andrei Poturaski and left winger CJ Smith. The trio have combined for 41 goals and 104 points this season. Over the past three games, head coach Ryan Wossowski has replaced Smith with Sam Militic, who scored a goal and scored five points after the cut.

“Our team is rolling,” Northam said after the latest victory. “Our lineup is probably one of the best in the league. We have nearly 100 points as a line, which is pretty good before the Christmas break. We’ve picked up where we left off.”

Stephen Northam Chicago Wolves
Northam is a big reason why Wolves top the AHL Central standings. (Jena Anderson /hockey writer)

Noesen and Poturalski have always been a dynamic duo in Chicago. Poturalski was tied with the Rochester Americans’ Michael Mersch for a league-high 16 goals, with Northam assisting eight of them. Portulaski, on the other hand, provided nine of Northam’s 15 goals.

“He worked hard,” Poturaski said of his teammates. “He’s always the first to hit the hockey. He does the dirty work and makes my life a lot easier. It’s great to have someone like that on my line and know he’s giving 100% every night. With him It’s fun to play together.”

related – Wolves’ Poturalski, perfect for captain

The 28-year-old wing has been impressive in his preseason stint with Carolina this season, but he has had to start the season in Chicago. The veteran took full advantage of the situation.

“I think I had a really good training camp and had a chance to get into the team,” Northam said. “You never want to get that call saying you’re going down, but it’s all positive. They say come down and enjoy being here. Be a leader and put these people on the right path.”

Warsofsky appreciates what Noesen brings to his relatively young team.

“Whether it’s him with or without the ball, his body language, his energy on the bench, our young guys are watching him,” he said. “He needs to realize that.”

Stephen Northam Chicago Wolves
Northam set the tone for Wolves. (Jena Anderson /hockey writer)

That message has been communicated to Northam, who has embraced his role of working hard and setting an example on the ice.

“There’s no straight-forward statement; my game is very meat-and-potatoes,” Northam admitted. “Our line as a whole, we complement each other so well. So, I can go out and create some space for people who are very skilled. As a leader, these guys see me doing things like that and it makes them think To do it. That’s what I’m proud of.”

The Wolves have one of the top teams in the AHL. With a veteran like Northam joining the system, Chicago is going to have a very tough run in the Calder Cup playoffs this spring.

Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been the Field Manager for FanSided and SB Nation. He has been featured on Hockey News and has fully qualified for the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.His various roles at The Hockey Writers include covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as copy editor, appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, Including Blackhawks jokes. He has qualified for the Chicago Wolves, Rockford Hogs and Milwaukee Admirals, and is also an area scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or topic suggestions, follow Greg Twitter and reach out.

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