With this season being the 20th playing season of the American Hockey league in Worcester it’s a great time to look back and assemble the all-time 20th anniversary team for Worcester. With 2014-15 likely the last the city will see of the AHL at the DCU Center it’s doubly important to remember the history the city has in that league.
Over the past couple months I fleshed out a list of who I thought should be on the team, and even though the plan was just three lines it was so hard to narrow it down it became a project of four lines: 12 forwards, eight defensemen, and four goaltenders. After determining the list and coming up with appropriate photos of all the players it was suggested that fans should have some input; after all, it’s their team too. It took no urging at all for me to set up an email account to collect the votes, and after a blog post a few weeks ago off we went.
The amount of votes was impressive for this sort of thing, with well over 70 votes by the original deadline. With several ties I extended the balloting another week, and ended up with 92 votes. Twelve ballots were tossed out for various reasons (most because it was obvious they were duplicate votes) so we ended up with 80 “legitimate” ballots. Like any collection of this type there were some votes that were just favorite players as opposed to the best that played here, but I counted them nonetheless.
While it wasn’t in the original blog post I had established some guidelines as to who was eligible for the team, first and foremost being they had to spend some substantial amount of time here in Worcester. I arbitrarily decided it would be 40 games (about half a season) for skaters, and amazingly enough most people were obviously thinking the same thing because votes for players like Joe Pavelski (16 games) and Devin Setoguchi (23 games) were in short supply, so much so that neither got enough to make it on one of the top four lines.
Goalies were a little tougher to come up with an eligibility point, but as only six different goaltenders got more than five votes and the top four matched my top four exactly there was no need to do anything but go with the people’s choices.
So, without further ado, the fourth line of Worcester’s 20th anniversary AHL team:
F: Mike Iggulden
In 151 career games with the WorSharks Iggulden amassed 123 points on 59 goals and 64 assists, making him 15th all-time in points in Worcester’s AHL history. He is just one of seven players with a 30-goal season for Worcester. At posting time his 59 career goals ties him for second–with Riley Armstrong–on the WorSharks franchise list, one behind current leader Dan DaSilva. After his two seasons with Worcester Iggulden spent a season in the New York Islanders organization and then headed to Europe.
F: Tom Cavanagh
Cavanagh’s 46-92-148 is good enough for 10th all-time in points for Worcester, and he is the WorSharks franchise leader in assists. In three seasons Cavanagh was a solid two way forward, and his play in Worcester resulted 18 NHL games. Always a fan favorite, Cavanagh only left Worcester looking for a better NHL opportunity, and fans here in the city are still saddened by his death on January 6, 2011 after a prolonged battle with mental illness.
F: Daniel Corso
Corso wasn’t a flashy player with Worcester but his 139 career points, on 54 goals and 85 assists, place him tied for ninth all-time behind what is essentially a who’s who of Worcester AHL hockey. Corso twice lead the IceCats in assists, and was as solid as they come at both ends of the ice. Unfortunately for Corso he’s more known for his second stint for Worcester, where he played for a single second before re-injuring a shoulder on the opening face-off of a game, never to play another second in the Blues’ organization.
D: Patrick Traverse
Traverse was the first of two players to play for both the IceCats and Sharks (Brendan Buckley was the other), and while he doesn’t have the high end stats others on the team do his inclusion on the 20th anniversary team is one of those “automatics”. Originally signed by San Jose to play in Worcester Traverse was claimed by Montreal off waivers and didn’t make it to the WorSharks roster until San Jose traded Mathieu Biron for him in the middle of the 2006-07 season. The Canadiens claiming him may have cost Traverse the honor of being the first captain of the Worcester Sharks.
D: Justin Braun
Braun just makes the cutoff with 43 games played for the WorSharks, but one can only imagine the numbers he would have put up if he had spent any significant time here at all. Pretty much NHL-ready when he arrived from UMass-Amherst Braun went 5-24-29 during his stay but was also one of those players where the numbers, as good as they are, don’t tell the whole story. He was on the ice in “prime time” from the moment he arrived and was one of the Worcester Sharks representatives in the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic.
G: Thomas Greiss
Greiss is one of two WorSharks goalies with a 30 win season and one of only three to do it all-time for Worcester. He was also one of the very few AHL Player of the Week winner for Worcester when he was named the award winner for the week ending 3/25/07. Greiss’ 74 victories is second on both the WorSharks and Worcester all-time wins list, and were it not for a poor 2007-08 squad Greiss could have had a more significant win total.