Diving in on the Hartford Wolf Pack 2019-2020 Schedule

Huska (Wolf Pack)

At last! The American Hockey League unveiled the league schedule earlier this week! After analyzing the schedule, I have to say there is a solid balance of games for the organization.

A trend that is becoming more noticeable yearly is that teams are moving away from the brutal three games in three nights. As a result, Sundays are eliminated for Wednesdays. Most schedules across the league have a similar format of Wednesday, Friday, then Saturdays. Of course there are variations with the scheduling, from opponents to the number of three in threes a team has.

Regarding the opponents next season, there are no surprises. The Wolf Pack have lost a team to see, the Toronto Marlies. Instead, the Laval Rocket will play two additional games against Hartford. Let’s take a look at the scheduling matrix:

Opponents

  • Belleville Senators (Ottawa) – 2 (1 home, 1 away)
  • Binghamton Devils (New Jersey) – 4 (2 home, 2 away)
  • Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) – 12 (6 home, 6 away)
  • Charlotte Checkers (Carolina) – 8 (4 home, 4 away)
  • Hershey Bears (Washington) – 6 (3 home, 3 away)
  • Laval Rocket (Montreal) – 4 (2 home, 2 away)
  • Lehigh Valley Phantoms 6 (3 home, 3 away)
  • Providence Bruins (Boston) – 10 (5 home, 5 away)
  • Rochester Americans (Buffalo) – 2 (1 home, 1 away)
  • Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) – 10 (5 home, 5 away)
  • Syracuse Crunch (Tampa) – 2 (1 home, 1 away)
  • Utica Comets (Vancouver) – 4 (2 home, 2 away)
  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh) – 6 (3 home, 3 away)

The 76 game slate may be reduced to 72 games down the road in an effort to make the entire league play the same amount of games. Currently the Pacific Division play 68 games. The PHPA – AHL CBA will be ratified as the current contract will be expiring on August 31st of this year. It is expected that the league will meet in between to set the slate to 72 games. This could come early as next season.

Schedule Breakdown

Time to slice and dice the details of the schedule!

  • Number of games by day
    • Sunday: 10 (3 home, 7 away)
    • Tuesday: 2 (1 home, 1 away)
    • Wednesday: 12 (8 home, 4 away)
    • Friday: 24 (12 home, 12 away)
    • Saturday: 28 (14 home, 14 away)
  • Month by Month
    • October: 10 games (7 home, 3 away)
    • November: 11 games (4 home, 7 away)
    • December: 13 games (6 home, 7 away)
    • January: 11 games (5 home, 6 away)
    • February: 12 games (4 home, 8 away)
    • March: 13 games (9 home, 4 away)
    • April: 6 games (3 home, 3 away)
  • Longest road trip: 5 games (November 22nd – December 6th)
  • Three in threes: 7

Rivalries, Divisional Play Critical

For Hartford to have a successful season or fighting for a playoff spot, they must be able to perform well against their rivals. There are 64 points on the line between Springfield, Bridgeport, and Providence. Winning those season series is a must for the group if they want a decent spot in the standings within the Atlantic Division.

The series against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Lehigh Valley, Hershey, and Charlotte are also important. Despite less points on the line, defeating other teams within the division will help Hartford’s cause long term as I consider these divisional match up a four point swing with one gaining two and the other losing two. Games from opponents in the North Division will not affect Hartford much since there are limited points on the table from those teams (Utica, Syracuse, Belleville, Rochester, Laval, and Binghamton). It would be ideal to win against those opponents, but losing those small season series will not make or break the season.

The players will be ready to go beginning on October 5th. These games will come fast and furious. The next step must be selecting a head coach that is comfortable with the league, development, and the players.

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