Hartford Wolf Pack 2023-24 Season Preview
The Hartford Wolf Pack are set to begin their 27th season as the American Hockey League marks on its 88th year. Hartford’s roster for the upcoming season could be one of the most talented that the Rangers’ management has assembled for their AHL affiliate in quite some time. You have strong prospects (new and returning), coupled with seasoned veterans that will be able to mentor them and push the club to win. It appears they have all the right pieces in place to be a well-rounded dynamic group, and maintain a culture of winning while developing.
After numerous years of disappointments and struggles, Hartford is on an upward track. The Wolf Pack will look to pick up from where they left off after a nice Calder Cup run winning two rounds last season. Expectations are higher as the club is expected to make playoffs and possibly go deeper in the playoffs.
To kick off the season, this weekend will feature two competitive games against rivals that will test Hartford. Now let’s preview what lies ahead.
Hartford Wolf Pack Season Preview
Wolf Pack Undefeated in Preseason
The club compiled a 3-0-0 record in preseason action, finding chemistry and balance that should foreshadow a promising season.
In the first two games, there was a mix of prospects and players on tryouts. However, it was key players from last season, along with new additions that led them to wins.
Game one against the Springfield Thunderbirds featured a 3-2 shootout win. Hartford had the early jump in the contest, but Springfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The Wolf Pack kept pushing until they capitalized by registering two goals in the third period. Ryan McCleary converted on the Wolf Pack’s first goal with Adam Sýkora recording the lone assist on the play. Seth Barton registered Hartford’s second goal a couple of minutes later. In the shootout, Ryder Korczak had the lone and deciding goal. Brett Berard recorded two assists on the night.
Game two against the Bridgeport Islanders featured a Bobby Trivigno multi-point performance (2 goals, 1 assist) and a 5-3 win. In this matchup. Hartford scored first and kept on rolling. Cristiano DiGiacinto recorded Hartford’s first tally, with an assist to Matej Pekar. Brett Berard registered his first preseason goal, with assists given to Bobby Trivigno and Karl Henriksson. The power play and penalty kill had good looks throughout the contest, with Trivigno converting a man up.
The final game featured what will likely be Hartford’s primary roster heading into the season. It should be noted that Brennan Othmann did not play as he was sent down prior to the contest. In a 3-1 victory against Bridgeport, the Wolf Pack looked sharp and generated numerous offensive chances. Louis Domingue, Anton Blidh, Adam Edström were outstanding and essentially in mid-season form for this one. Defenseman Mac Hollowell registered the first goal of the game, with an assist credited to Nikolas Brouillard. Blake Hillman then registered Hartford’s second tally and Brouillard extended the Wolf Pack’s lead with an assist from Hollowell in the final frame to seal the deal.
A look at the Wolf Pack
The Hartford Wolf Pack seemed to have addressed one of last year’s major concerns, the power play. Despite losing Will Cuylle up front and Zac Jones on defense to the Rangers, adding players like Brennan Othmann, Riley Nash, and Mac Hollowell should help. Other players that could be useful to the man advantage are Brett Berard, Adam Sykora, and Bobby Trivigno. One question that remains is whether coach Kris Knoblauch will deploy four forwards with one defenseman as the main unit.
A preview of the forwards shows plenty of firepower, with captain Jonny Brodzinski back after being one of the last cuts at Rangers’ camp. The additions of veterans like Nash and Alex Belzile will also help keep the offense moving in the right direction.
One player that could be in line for a breakout is the aforementioned Bobby Trivigno. He had a strong Rangers rookie camp that carried over to the Wolf Pack preseason.
Of course, all eyes will be on Othmann, who is expected to perform well as a first year pro. He will add to the team’s strong offense and will give Hartford options for the power play and top two lines.
The Pack are also deep, as they will also Jake Leschyshyn and Turner Elson back. Both players found their games in the second half of the season. For grit, The Wolf Pack have Anton Blidh and Matt Rempe for an edge when things get nasty.
Looking at defense, the Wolf Pack transformed themselves from a young defensive core to a seasoned one. Mac Hollowell shows promise both offensively and defensively. Veterans Ben Harpur, Connor Mackey, Nikolas Brouillard will provide a mix of experience, leadership, grit, and solid two-way play. For depth, Hartford has Blake Hillman and Zach Berzolla, which both demonstrated they can jump in when needed because of call ups or injury. These new and experienced additions will help guide prospects like Matthew Robertson and Brandon Scanlin.
In goal, second year-pro Dylan Garand will battle veteran Louis Domingue for the role of Pack’s number one netminder.
Hartford Wolf Pack Roster
The official roster per the Hartford Wolf Pack:
The Wolf Pack roster is comprised of 23 skaters. The group breaks down to 14 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders.
Forwards (14): Alex Belzile, Brett Berard, Anton Blidh, Jonny Brodzinski, Adam Edström, Turner Elson, Karl Henriksson, Ryder Korczak, Jake Leschyshyn, Riley Nash, Brennan Othmann, Matt Rempe, Adam Sýkora, and Bobby Trivigno.
Defensemen (7): Nikolas Brouillard, Ben Harpur, Blake Hillman, Mac Hollowell, Connor Mackey, Matthew Robertson, and Brandon Scanlin.
Goaltenders (2): Louis Domingue and Dylan Garand.
Cuts From Training Camp
The following players are assigned to the following:
Released: Ryan McCleary, Peter Laviotte III, Brad Arvanitis, and Chris Cameron
Assigned to Cincinnati ECHL:
Forwards: Luka Burzan, James Hardie, Michal Mrazik, Sahil Panwar, Cristiano DiGiacinto, Matej Pekar
Defense: Matthew Cairns, Billy Constantinou, Steven MacLean, Seth Barton
Goalies: Talyn Boyko, Olof Lindbom
How to watch the Hartford Wolf Pack
All 72 games will be broadcasted on Mixlr for the upcoming season. Alex Thomas will be broadcasting live 10 minutes prior to each game. In addition, watching the Wolf Pack will remain only on AHLTV. When announced, further TV coverage could be available as the season progresses (NHL Network often show various AHL games).
In addition, game coverage of the Wolf Pack on X (formerly Twitter) will return. You can follow me there at Milliner06.
Hartford begins October with two road games. The club will return home for two games the following weekend. In the month, Hartford will have three home games and four away outings.
Friday, October 13th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7:05pm, Amica Mutual Pavilion
- This is the first of 10 meetings in the season series. Last season, Hartford won the series with a record of 6-3-1. Game two of the series will be in Hartford on November 11th. Then, game three will return in Providence on November 12th.
- In the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, Hartford knocked out the Bruins in four games (3-1) despite Providence being the strong team in the Eastern Conference (1st in division and conference).
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, October 14th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7:05pm, MassMutual Center
- This is the first of 10 meetings in the season series. Last season, Hartford struggled against Springfield and posted a record of 3-7-0-2.
- In the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, Hartford stunned Springfield in a best of three series, sweeping the Thunderbirds (2-0).
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.