Rangers prospect Dylan Garand leads Wolf Pack to Atlantic Division Finals

NHL: Preseason-New York Islanders at New York Rangers
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers goalie prospect Dylan Garand is earning a reputation as a clutch performer. After an average regular-season where he posted a record of 13-14-3 with a 3.01 GAA and a .894 save percentage, the 20-year old rookie has been lights out.

On Friday night, Garand blanked the top seeded Providence Bruins 4-0 to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Atlantic Division Finals.

This now brings his postseason stat line to an amazing 5-1 with a stellar 1.17 GAA and an astounding .954 save percentage.

“It’s been a little bit of a feeling out process as I’ve tried to find my way,” Garand said in February. “I love to compete and play in big games.”

With the games only getting bigger, Garand just seems to get better.

Dylan Garand playing lights out

Dylan Grand Hartford Wolf Pack
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

As the Wolf Pack prepare to face the Hershey Bears in round three of the Calder Cup Playoffs, Garand has seized a huge opportunity to showcase his talents. It’s an opportunity that likely would not have been available had the Rangers not called up staring goalie Louis Domingue for the beginning of the NHL Playoffs.

“This league can be really rough on a young goalie,” AHL writer Patrick Williams explained. “I spoke with him recently and he felt a responsibility to perform with Domingue called up. What really strikes me is that he learns from his mistakes and doesn’t tend to let them pile up. That’s what young goalies usually struggle with. However, he’s able to shut it down and move on. He’s very mature and has a real strong head on his shoulders. Impressive.”

The Blueshirts drafted Garand in the fourth-round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and he’s dazzled ever since.

Prior to him joining the Wolf Pack for the 2022-23 season, he won CHL Goalie of the Year with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. Garand posted a 34-9 record with 4 shutouts, a 2.16 GAA and .925 save percentage to earn the honor. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he followed it up with a Gold Medal for Canada at the 2022 World Junior Championship by going 6-0 with a 1.98 GAA and .925 save percentage.

Now the question many fans are starting to ask is when will Garand be ready to play in the NHL?

“I think he’ll need more time,” Williams said. “Maybe another two more years which is pretty typical for goalies in the AHL. But he’s made real big steps and you want him in these playoffs playing high pressure games. It has to be real encouraging for the Rangers organization seeing what they have in Garand.”

Truthfully, there should be no rush by the Rangers to bring up Garand, who signed his entry-level contract on December 23, 2021. New York opted to use their entry-level slide on his deal which means they actually have two more seasons with him at a $902,500 AAV per CapFriendly.

Igor Shesterkin also has two more years left on his contract which makes Garand a potentially nice fallback option if the two sides can’t come to terms on an extension.

Regardless of how things shake out at the NHL level, Garand looks like a prospect with a real big league future.

Per the Wolf Pack here’s the full Atlantic Division Finals series schedule:

Game 1: Thursday, May 11th, @ Hershey (Giant Center, 7:00 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, May 13th, @ Hershey (Giant Center, 7:00 p.m.)
Game 3: Wednesday, May 17th, @ Hartford (XL Center, 7:00 p.m.)
Game 4*: Friday, May 19th, @ Hartford (XL Center, 7:00 p.m.)
Game 5*: Tuesday, May 23rd, @ Hershey (Giant Center, 7:00 p.m.)
*If nec.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore