The AHL season for the 2012-2013 campaign has been unusual yet exciting. It is unusual because the top teams and the best players aren’t what people thought it would be. It is exciting because the NHL lockout has provided talent that hasn’t been seen in recent years. There has been some noticeable changes since the beginning of the season and those changes are not subtle. There has been some major turnarounds in the performance in the play of a couple of teams and players and they deserve honourable mentions in this report.Top 5 Team Performances of October And November.Wilkes-Barre/Scranton PenguinsThe most surprising team that has raised its game has been the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The team has won 8 of the last 10 games and have been consistently recording winning streaks of 4 or 5 at a time. Their goals for category is still under 3 goals a game but they have scored by committee. They have no star scorers on this team but in 20 games played this year, 8 players of the current roster have recorded 10 points or more. Goaltending has been a huge reason with Jeff Zatkoff posting a.930% and a 1.81 GAA in his 15 games he played so far. They were dead last in their division in September and now they are 2nd behind the powerhouse Syracuse Crunch.Binghamton SenatorsVery similar to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Senators have turned their season around as well. The defensive-minded Senators are rivals to the Penguins and they play in the same division as well so it’ll be interesting to see which one of these two teams will come up on top. The Senators have won 7 out of their last 8 games and are after the Penguins for the 2nd spot in the East Division. Both of the mentioned teams share very similar team stats including GF and GA. The Senators have a hot goalie and also have scored by committee just like the Penguins. Robin Lehner has posted better numbers than Zatkoff with a great.950% and 1.63 GAA in 12 games. The advantage with Lehner over Zatkoff is that Lehner is young and is getting better with experience. Zatkoff is 25 years old and he is in his prime now. Lehner is 21 years of age and has had valuable NHL experience with the Ottawa Senators and they are in search for a starting goaltender and Lehner could get the job once the NHL season starts.Grand Rapids GriffinsThe Detroit Red Wings farm team have played very strong offensively. It is so important for the baby Red Wings to do so now because they have to takeover the spots of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and the rest of the aging Red Wings before they retire. The Wings love drafting Europeans and the recent list of European prospects looks great. Gustav Nyqvist and Tomas Tatar have been scoring consistently for the Griffins this season and they look poised to continue playing good hockey as the season progresses. Joakim Andersson and Tomas Jurco are also European forwards who need more development but they have played decently in supporting roles for their club. Defense is an issue for this team as Chad Billins is at a -10 but has recorded 16 points in 19 games as a defenceman. Brendan Smith is the other top blueliner on the team with a plus 2 and leads the team with shots on goal with 61 which is 2 above Nyqvist. Tom McCollum and Petr Mrazek have been sharing goaltending duties but McCollum has posted poor numbers. With a save percentage of.896%, he has to pick it up. Mrazek has posted average numbers and looks better of the two.Syracuse CrunchThis team has scored the most goals so far with 72 in 20 games. The Tampa Bay Lightning farm team won the Calder Cup in 2012 as the Norfalk Admirals. This season they are the Syracuse Crunch and they look just as good as before with Cory Conacher still scoring, Dustin Tokarski playing solid in-goal and the rest of the team are meeting expectations with strong play at all ends of the ice. Brett Connolly and Richard Panik are the two young wingers who have played great hockey as of late and look good for a future roster spot on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Most of the players on this team are under the age of 25 and a lot of those players were drafted by the Lightning themselves. Tampa has always received low grades in their draft choices but recently those players have played great hockey and it is no surprise that they are. Steve Yzerman has turned the Lightning franchise around as a General Manager and his trades and signings are considered to be well-respected by other NHL GM’s. The Syracuse Crunch are looking to win another Calder Cup in 2013.Abbotsford HeatThe Heat have been finding ways to win all season long and they have the best winning record in the entire AHL. Barry Brust has just broke the AHL shutout record as of late and the team scores enough goals to win their games as well. Sven Baertschi is the top scorer on the team is looking to takeover Jarome Iginla in the future as the top power forward on the Calgary Flames. The Heat has allowed the least amount of goals in the league with 36 in just 20 games. 5 shutouts were recorded in that span and that is always a guaranteed win. Heat have been in first place in the Western Conference all season long and look for that to continue for the rest of the season.Top 5 Player Performances of October And NovemberBarry Brust – Abbottsford HeatHe only played 6 games this season but he recorded 3 shutouts and broke the AHL shutout streak record with 268 minutes and 17 seconds without letting in a single goal. His current save percentage is.973% and his GAA is 0.66. Look for him to get more starts as the season goes on.Tyler Johnson – Syracuse CrunchJohnson is third in AHL league scoring with 22 points in 19 games. Those are impressive stats considering that the AHL is loaded with talent this year and Johnson wasn’t expected to be even in the top 10 scoring category. He has a lot of scoring support and he could fall down the depth chart if he has a scoring slump. He has played good so far but I am not sure if he can keep this scoring pace up.Nino Niederreiter – Bridgeport Sound TigersThe left winger from Switzerland has 10 goals and 10 assists in 19 games. He has been very consistent with his play and he tends to make something happen every chance he gets. The Sound Tigers haven’t been playing well lately but if you can score a point per game no matter how well your team is playing then you’re a very talented player and that is what Niederreiter is. He has had a tough time making the New York Islanders roster in the past but if the Islanders were playing now he would be on that team. The Isles have a lot of great young talent and it is only a matter of time before they get it together to build a dynasty once again like they did in the early 1980’s. Look for Niederreiter to stay in the top 10 in scoring all year-long.Justin Fontaine – Houston AerosThere have been a few injuries on the Aeros as Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin being sidelined for a significant amount of time already. Justin Fontaine has emerged as the leading scorer of the club with 19 points in as many games. The Aeros do score a lot of goals but only have mediocre winning record. Fontaine and the rest of the team need to keep the scoring up if they want to win games. With Granlund coming back soon, the team will get an immediate boost down the middle. Look for Fontaine to continue scoring but his numbers might drop if nobody else scores around him.Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent Hopkins And Jordan Eberle – Oklahoma City BaronsThe reason why I didn’t mention the Barons in the top 5 performers list is because I wanted to point out the underdogs in my list.In October I wrote an article about the Barons early struggles. I predicted that the Barons will be fine once chemistry has gotten better. My prediction has come true as the Barons are scoring at an unbelievable rate and have instantly established themselves as a bona-fide powerhouse once Taylor Hall joined the team in early November. Hall’s been honoured for player of the week recently with 9 points in just 3 games in late November. RNH and Eberle have been on the team since day one and have been scoring at a point per game pace. Justin Schultz leads the entire AHL with 31 points in 20 games as a defenceman. He is the biggest superstar in the AHL and he has dominated at both ends of the ice all year long. He still acquires points even if the rest of the stars don’t play well but the scary thing now is that everyone on the team has found their scoring touch recently and that will set Schultz’s point totals over the top and he will continue to dominate the scoring charts. I don’t see him being the top scorer at the end of the season because Eberle and RNH have caught up very quickly and will most likely pass him. Hall has dominated with many multi-point games in November and he will catch up faster than the rest of the players on the team. Look for all the mentioned players above to be in the top scoring range in the AHL eventually. Pay great attention to them in the playoffs because it’ll be very interesting to see where they end up.