As we approach free agency, the Rangers must address the farm in Hartford. Free agency has the potential to enhance Hartford’s roster for the upcoming season. Specifically speaking, adding a few veterans (max of 4-5) to benefit prospects. However, the Rangers must sign the right type of AHL veterans such as Chris Bourque, Chris Mueller, and similar types to help Hartford develop a winning culture, and mentor prospects.
Veterans who signed in Hartford in the last few seasons (Joe Whitney, Bobby Butler, Chris Brown, etc) didn’t meet those expectations. They need a veteran who has fought the battles in post-season, knows what it takes to win, and has character in the locker room.
The Wolf Pack cannot be a team once again that is “easy to play against”. Let these prospects tear up the AHL along with guidance from the top tier players in the league. Let’s raise hell and give teams an impression that the Wolf Pack are back to their glory days. Hey, an added bonus for development is the playoffs. The more games the group plays, the better off they will be development wise.
I have a few players in mind that I believe would be a significant addition to the roster. Let’s take a look at who they are.
Daniel Carr – Chicago Wolves (30G, 41A, 71 points in 52 games) (Post season appearance: 1)
The 27 year old veteran has experience in the NHL and AHL. He also completed a trip to the Calder Cup Finals last season and led the team in points with 71. Hartford lacks an offensive weapon coming into free agency. He has the opportunity to provide leadership as well which would be a plus for the organization.
T.J. Tynan – Chicago Wolves (12G, 59A, 71 points in 71 games) (Post season appearances: 3)
T.J. is a superb AHL veteran with a quality resume entering free agency. The 27 year old is an excellent playmaker and has done well on the power play for Chicago. In his six seasons with the league, the veteran has produced an impressive amount of points, going from 48 in the 2014-15 season to last season’s career total of 71.
In addition, he has playoff experience in three seasons that include two trips to the Calder Cup Finals. Despite losing to Charlotte last season in the final, he won it all in the 2016 final against Hershey with the Lake Erie Monsters (Now Cleveland). Ironically, the veteran has spent time with the Columbus organization for four seasons. JD had the player in his organization and he could be a potential candidate to join Hartford considering how well Tynan has played. If TJ Tynan joins Hartford, then Daniel Carr should as well as the duo would be excellent.
Andrew Poturalski – Charlotte Checkers (23G, 47A, 70 points in 72 games) (Post season appearances: 3)
Andrew is a 25 year ol forward that would be another solid candidate for Hartford. Despite being in the league for four seasons, the Hurricanes prospect has become dominant in the league. He had experience in the playoffs with three appearances, including a Calder Cup win this past June. He is a well rounded forward that is able to produce offense and has good defensive aspects of the game. He plays with a sharp edge in both ends of the ice and could become gritty if needed. This two way player would help fill the need on both ends of the ice.
Vincent LoVerde – Toronto Marlies (3G, 8A, 12 points in 68 games) (Post season appearances: 8)
The 30 year old defenseman has superior experience in the league with an impressive resume. The veteran has missed the playoffs once in his professional career and has won the Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs in the 2014-15 season.
Wolf Pack fans have heard of him as he is tough to play against. Vincent is extremely physical and versatile defenseman that plays well in his own end of the ice. He is responsible and has a strong ability to help create plays and read the situation well.
Despite the lack of offensive numbers, the veteran is excellent for the defensive aspect of the game which the Wolf Pack constantly struggle with. He has leadership assets which could mentor the Wolf Pack’s blue line as a qualified veteran. He has been through the battles and knows what it takes to win. He can help guide prospects in situations which is a plus.
David Warsofsky – Colorado Eagles (5G, 27A, 32 points in 51 games) (Post season appearances: 4)
The 29 year old depth defenseman plays with a chip on his shoulder. He plays with a sharp edge of physicality and does not back down from challenges from the opponents. David can produce while being a physical defenseman that Hartford needs on the blue line. The Wolf Pack needs a player that is able to hit, check, and protect prospects when needed. The past few seasons lacked that and as a result, Hartford was pushed around.
Other notable players that I recommend:
- Aaron Ness (D) – Hershey
- Eric Tangradi (F) – Binghamton
- Jordan Szwarz (F) – Providence
Stay tuned for free agency on July 1st! The Rangers have good options available when signing players for the Wolf Pack. I expect to organization to sign a max of 5 veterans due to the influx of prospects coming in and the AHL veteran rule. The Wolf Pack roster must have a mix of great talent from the young and old.