One exercise that occupies AHL teams late in the season is projecting which players with NHL parent teams could return for the Calder Cup playoffs.

Additions are without exception quality players and prospects, but they do not always assure success in the post-season.

The Manitoba Moose learned that a time or two during their existence in Winnipeg.

The St. John's IceCaps had as many as a half-dozen regulars helping out the Winnipeg Jets in the season's late going and their collective return in mid-April was so seamless, the IceCaps have done exactly what they've done all year in reaching the Calder Cup final.

"The difference for this team, those players that were added back to our roster had spent the majority of their time in St. John's," IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge said. "Only Eric O'Dell was gone for a long stretch but he had been here the previous two seasons. All those players have an investment in having the IceCaps have success.

"O'Dell, Zach Redmond, Patrice Cormier, Carl Klingberg, Ben Chiarot, they've been here three years in a row. They have an investment and you could feel at times during the season when (most) of them were here, there might be a chance to have something special with this group."

McCambridge, who arrived in Texas with his team on Friday to get ready for Sunday's series opener against the Stars, is far too smart to think the return of players would put the team on autopilot.

"It was never a guarantee," he said. "We just have a balanced team where one line or a D pair doesn't jump off the page. Ours is a team that gets it done by committee. And those players, when they came back, it was seamless because they knew the expectations and the system and just as importantly, they integrated themselves back with their teammates."

When regulars were with the Jets, the IceCaps had enough depth to compensate.