Forecasting the 2023-24 Hartford Wolf Pack lineup
Hockey season is around the corner folks as September begins training camp and pre-season outings for the Hartford Wolf Pack.
From the Pack’s view of a potential roster, there are a lot of variables prior to the first regular season game on October 13th. I am expecting an extremely competitive training camp for Hartford, which will open shortly after the Ranger’s training camp begins.
As the organization prepares for the upcoming campaign, the New York Rangers roster is essentially set. There are a couple of players that are fighting for the 13th forward spot, in addition to a few defensemen competing for the 6th and 7th spot on the blue-line.
In Hartford, there will be at least 8 defensemen competing for spots when the Wolf Pack’s training camp opens. For the forward group, there will be some serious competition, especially for the incoming players that signed with the Wolf Pack through AHL deals over the off-season and incoming prospects.
Goaltending will return with Dylan Garand and Louis Domingue. I would be surprised if another goalie in the organization bumps either of the two proven netminders from last season.
Hartford Wolf Pack lineup
Prior to looking at the potential roster, there are assumptions built into my projections. These will be discussed first:
Assumption #1: Rangers will carry 13 forwards and 7 defenseman
Considering the cap situation for the Rangers, I do not expect them to carry more than 13 forwards and 7 defenseman. They will be tight on cap space and the extras will be enough for the group.
Assumption #2: Alex Belzile beats Jonny Brodzinski and Rangers prospects for 13th forward
From a veteran standpoint for the Wolf Pack, Belzile or Brodzinski would be vital to the Hartford’s fortunes. Both players have strong leadership and would push the roster this upcoming season. On the flip side, prospect Will Cuylle could compete for a roster spot but is likely the odd man out. The Rangers will want Cuylle playing then sitting or playing minimal minutes in the NHL.
The variable here would also be how often the Rangers coaching staff will want to rotate the extra forward. They may elect to carry a seasoned veteran like Belzile, who split last season between the Montreal Canadians and Laval Rocket, with 31 games apiece. He will have a slight edge over Brodzinski based on his big league experience.
Assumption #3: Zac Jones secures a roster spot with Rangers
Zac Jones is expected to make the Rangers this fall. As a result, Ben Harpur will be likely assigned to Hartford. It should also be notes that Jones is no longer waiver exempt, so a return to the Pack during the season is unlikely. Additionally, he performed well the last 2 seasons in Hartford and has did everything that he could do in the AHL. His next step is to stick in the NHL.
Now let’s take a look at the potential roster. These lines and combinations of players are based on their position. Some players will be out of position based on the abundance of wingers and even though Adam Sykora is listed as the 13th forward, he will likely rotate with others throughout the season.
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Brennan Othmann||Jonny Brodzinski||Riley Nash|
|Will Cuylle||Jake Leschyshyn||Anton Blidh|
|Bobby Trivigno||Adam Edstrom||Brett Berard|
|Turner Elson||Karl Henriksson||Matt Rempe|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Ty Emberson||Brandon Scanlin|
|Mac Hollowell||Connor Mackey|
|Matt Robertson||Ben Harpur|
|Nikolas Brouillard||Blake Hillman|
Extra defensemans: Seth Barton and Zach Berzolla.
|Dylan Garand||Louis Domingue|
The extra players are likely ECHL bound unless they have a strong training camp. There could also be a surprise or two as the roster shakes out.
Hartford has good momentum for the upcoming year and will want to build on that with core players from last season. Fresh from a solid playoff run after snapping a long playoff drought the returning players will be hungry for more. Throw in the new additions, especially for veteran grit and this Pack squad looks promising.
It’s almost showtime folks.