Jon Rheault’s long and winding season finally came to an end Monday night in Hamilton, Ontario, where the Abbotsford Heat were eliminated from the AHL Calder Cup playoffs by the Hamilton Bulldogs. Rheault and the Heat were stymied by Hamilton goalie Curtis Sanford, who made 30 saves in a 4-0 Bulldogs victory.
Rheault didn’t get to experience playoff hockey with the Reign, but the
shaggy-haired left wing enjoyed a coming-out party with the Heat,
scoring a team-leading six goals in 13 Calder Cup playoff games. Only
five AHL players have scored more goals in the playoffs, which are
nearing their conference final stage.
Counting the playoffs, Rheault appeared in 87 games this season. He spent
the bulk of that time with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, for whom he
had three goals and six points in 35 regular-season games. Rheault also went
scoreless in a four-game stint with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.
Reign, Rheault was the team’s most productive scorer, notching 19 goals and 35 points in 30 games. He was also arguably the team’s best defensive forward, contributing a team-leading three short-handed goals.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Rheault, a third-year pro and former Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, earn an invite to an NHL training camp next season. That doesn’t guarantee that his time with the Reign is over but, if Rheault’s playoff production was no fluke, he is closer to moving up than moving down.
Meanwhile, the Idaho Steelheads and Reading Royals can clinch berths in the Kelly Cup Finals tonight by beating the Stockton Thunder and Cincinnati Cyclones, respectively. Both teams lead the series three games to two. Idaho gets its first chance to close out the series, while Reading gets its third.