3 Thoughts on Hartford Wolf Pack Training Camp

NHL: Preseason-New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
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All eyes are focused on the new season as the Hartford Wolf Pack start another exciting chapter after a strong and successful 2022-23 campaign.

Training camp for the Wolf Pack’s 27th season in the American Hockey League began on Sunday, October 1st. The initial training camp roster contained a mix of players, from many assigned from New York Rangers’ camp, to players joining Hartford through a Professional Tryout (PTO). Currently the Wolf Pack have ten players in camp on PTOs. A couple of the players played last season with the organization’s new ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones and additional various ECHL clubs. There is also one player that spent last season in the juniors as well (Ryan McCleary). Two more players joined Wolf Pack on Monday after clearing waivers. Last year’s starting goalie Louis Domingue and new defenseman Mac Hollowell are now in the fold.

This year’s camp will be extremely competitive as the incoming roster class is strong, from the returning prospects to the new additions, everyone will want playing time. The Wolf Pack will have three preseason games on the docket that will give opportunities to impress Hartford’s coaching staff led by Kris Knoblauch, who is entering his fifth season behind the bench.

Let’s dive into a couple of updates and my thinking as we approach the regular season.

Related: A look at the Hartford Wolf Pack camp roster

Hartford Wolf Pack Training Camp

rangers jonny brodzinski hartford wolf pack
Jonny Brodzinski (Photo: Kelly Shea / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Will Hartford Lose Their Captain?

The Wolf Pack’s captain, Jonny Brodzinski is a front-runner candidate to join the Rangers and become their 13th forward. Brodzinski, a 30-year old veteran, provides the Rangers a reliable player for the depth role. From the Wolf Pack’s standpoint, the club anticipated losing a forward or two to New York this season.

The offseason signing of Alex Belzile was a good move by the organization. Belzile, a 32-year old veteran, is another strong and well-rounded veteran to have around Hartford’s prospects. He will fill in the void for Brodzinski. Belzile wore the “A” for two seasons with Montreal’s AHL affiliate the Laval Rocket. Last season he was given the “C” with the Rocket prior to joining the Rangers organization. In addition to his leadership role, the center is reliable for production and has experience at both the NHL and AHL levels. The Wolf Pack will be in good hands regarding leadership if indeed Brodzinski sticks with the big club.

Looking ahead to the Wolf Pack’s leadership group, there are numerous quality candidates to help guide the prospects this upcoming season. A critical part of constructing your AHL roster is having quality veterans. Players like Riley Nash, who was also a free agent signings will help.

Hungry Prospects

After a lengthy 2023 Calder Cup Playoff run, returning players, especially the prospects, are hungry for more. Focusing on the organization prospects, they have performed exceptionally well in rookie training camp, the rookie games, and the current Rangers training camp/preseason.

There are a lot of young players to watch this upcoming season that the Rangers will hope develop. They include Adam Sykora, Matt Rempe, and Matthew Robertson to name a few.

Players that had playoff experience last year in the AHL are looking to take the next step. Bobby Trivigno is trending upwards, Dylan Garand continues to build on his development, and Will Cuylle is ready for the NHL. Add in the new and exciting prospects to the roster such as Brennan Othmann, the Wolf Pack will have a good dynamic roster balanced with prospects and veterans.

Losing Ty Emberson on waivers

The San Jose Sharks organizations are extemely happy to land defenseman Ty Emberson.

Emberson, 23, completed his first season with the Rangers organization last year and was entering his third full season as a pro. Originally in the Coyotes organization, Emberson was a strong return in the Patrik Nemeth trade. The prospect had a promising and high ceiling, which led to him playing as a top two defenseman throughout the season and paired with Zac Jones.

The Emberson-Jones pairing was arguably the Wolf Pack’s best pairing last year. Emberson had a impressive two-way game, physical, and fast. He provided help on offense as well from the back end.

Losing the prospect will hurt the organization. Despite the defensive depth, prospects on right-defense is lacking. The question remains is if the Rangers will add depth to the position, or remain status quo this season?

Those answers will become clearer once Rangers camp is concluded.

Hartford Wolf Pack Preseason Schedule

There are three preseason outings for the club. All three games are held this week as the season begins the following weekend on Friday, October 13th.

  • Wednesday, October 4th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7pm, Koeppel Community Sports Center
  • Thursday, October 5th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 1pm, Total Mortgage Arena (closed to public)
  • Saturday, October 7th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 1pm, Koeppel Community Sports Center

Stay tuned as we approach the regular season. Roster cuts from the Wolf Pack’s training camp will be happening soon.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

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