A closer look at Rangers hires for Wolf Pack Staff

The dogs days of summer were especially boring in Hartford this offseason. It was real quiet from free agency to the coaching staff, a lot of prep work had to be done in order to compete for the upcoming season.

Hartford had to fill a spot for General Manager and Assistant Coach. The next selections must be willing to continue Chris Drury’s vision for the Wolf pack, to develop players and a winning culture. Kris Knoblauch’s reinforcements must be strong in order to keep the positive momentum going on the farm.

Steve Smith Replaces Gord Murphy

The first addition for Hartford to review is assistant coach, Steve Smith.

Smith joins the Wolf Pack after serving as an assistant for the last 11 season with the Oilers, Flames, Hurricanes, and Sabres. The seasoned coach will bring an abundance of quality NHL experience to the coaching staff to compliment Kris Knoblauch’s crew.

As the Wolf Pack lose Gord Murphy to New York, Smith brings a similar resume in terms of experiences. Chris Drury wanted to minimize the disruption for the prospects of tomorrow. Keep in mind that Drury likes to have experience in the AHL for prospects. He is continuing the trend with the hiring of Smith which is great to see.

Rangers Hire Next General Manager

Announced the following day (officially), the Rangers elected to hire Ryan Martin as the General Manager of Hartford.

Martin is a solid addition as Drury left big voids to fill for the role. When it was initially reported I instantly knew this would greatly benefit Hartford.

Great hire by the organization. Ryan Martin has a great resume with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He has 2 Calder Cups under his resume (1 as AGM & GM) along with quality teams reaching the playoffs. Hartford will be solid hands. Development & winning is the right recipe. #NYR#HWP


Martin is the right fit to continue Hartford’s development. Grand Rapids has a great track record for Martin and I expect him to carry it over to the Wolf Pack.

wolf pack hires
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If you take a deep dive into Grand Rapid’s development style, there is a correlation of providing superior AHL veterans alongside Detroit’s prospects. This will bode well for the Pack in the long term. In the previous management under John Davidson, his vision for Hartford was to have the prospects lead the group while sprinkling in solid veterans.

Regardless of the style, the Wolf Pack will have a shift in philosophy for roster building. I can see the club pursing a few mores seasoned veterans to help the prospects develop. However for the upcoming season, this may be different considering the hiring was very late. The contract limit is near maxed for the Rangers as well, which complicates further roster moves.

The long term vision for the franchise continues to be strong. The Wolf Pack will be ready to hit the ice beginning on October 15th.

Other Updates…

  • Expect preseason to be announced shortly.
  • The playoff format has changed in the AHL. The league has expanded the format while shortening the regular season.

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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