Hartford Wolf Pack hit another bump in the road, but prospects improving

Hartford Wolf Pack celebrate goal versus Springfield (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)
Hartford Wolf Pack celebrate goal versus Springfield (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

The Hartford Wolf Pack will look to reset after the American Hockey League All-Star break. Things haven’t been going so well with the Pack only picking up two out of a possible six points in their last three matches.

As we approach this week’s action, Hartford has 31 games remaining on the docket. At the break, the Ranger’s AHL affiliate has compiled a record of 23-13-5 for 51 points. They’re currently sit 4th in the division despite going 5-5-0 in their last 10 outings.

There is little room for error as the 5th place Springfield Thunderbirds are behind Hartford by only 4 points and the Charlotte Checkers are just 5 points back. Hartford has two critical games this week to get back on track. Let’s check out the latest.

Related: Brennan Othmann an AHL All-Star

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

new york rangers training camp brett berard
Brett Berard takes part in the Rangers Prospect Development Camp at the Rangers Training facility in Tarrytown July 12, 2022. Credit: © Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Brett Berard

Drafted by the Rangers in the 5th round, pick 134 in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Brett Berard continues to impress in his rookie year in the AHL. The talented forward is rolling offensively as he is on a 3 game point streak (2 goals, 1 assist). This season, he’s collected 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 41 games to date.

Berard is not afraid to get pucks on net and is generating offense on a nightly basis. This past week, he was instrumental, especially against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday (Hartford’s lone win from the week). He was noticeable the entire game, securing himself a couple of breakaways and looking determined to score, which he did in overtime.

Everyone should keep a close eye on this prospect as he’s a solid candidate to earn a call up to New York. Currently, Berard is ranked second among rookies on the team for points (26). His 14 goals among rookies ranks him 4th in the league.

Brennan Othmann

Drafted by the Rangers in the 1st round, pick 16 in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Brennan Othmann had a productive weekend. Similar to Berard, Othmann is generating offensive opportunities, especially on the power play.

In addition to his strong firepower, the prospect plays with an edge and is willing to spark the team by any means necessary. Despite Othmann not securing a point on Saturday against Springfield, the forward dropped the gloves at a time when Hartford was down 3-0 in the first to get his team going.

Entering the week, Othmann has notched 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in his last 14 games. He leads Hartford’s rookies in points with 20. Expanding to the league, Othmann is 6th among rookies for points.

Karl Henriksson

Drafted by the Rangers in the 2nd round, pick 58 in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Henriksson continues to have an impressive sophomore year in the AHL. Offensively, the forward has 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) in 37 games. He is 2 points from tying his production for all of last season.

In January, the prospect provided dependable offense as he secured 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 12 games. While not on the scoresheet on a nightly basis, the forward continues to be a solid depth piece in Hartford.

Henriksson’s development is progressing well and is quietly becoming another promising prospect in the organization. His style of play also is steady as he is disciplined. To date, he only has 4 penalties against him.

Wolf Pack Release Forward Cristiano DiGiacinto From AHL Deal

A fixture of the Wolf Pack since the 2021-22 season, 28-year old forward Cristiano DiGiacinto was released from his Standard Player Contract (SPC) at the conclusion of Saturday’s game. Announced Sunday, the feisty left winger is playing overseas as he competed in 9 games with Hartford this season, securing 1 goal and 1 assist.

DiGiacinto brought an edge and complimented Hartford’s physical game. The forward provided great depth, and played with his heart and soul each shift. The forward was also involved in the community and overall a great person on and off the ice. Best of luck to Cristiano DiGiacinto.

Wolf Pack’s Potential Roster Changes and Impacts

The Wolf Pack may lose forward Jake Leschyshyn for the remainder of the season. While New York reassigned Nick Bonino, there was uncertainty if the veteran would report. On Tuesday afternoon, it was confirmed Bonino’s contract was going to be terminated.

Currently Hartford has 11 healthy forwards. If there are no call ups from Cincinnati, then there could be potential returns on the horizon. Perhaps, Riley Nash, Adam Edstrom, or both are close to returning. If so, this will provide additional reinforcements for Hartford’s roster.

The Pack could look to their ECHL affiliate for some help with forward Sahil Panwar having a solid rookie season. To date, he’s recorded 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 42 games. They’re also likely to sign a player through a professional tryout (PTO) or AHL deal. Expectation is for Hartford to sign forward Tag Bertuzzi from the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Bertuzzi is a 22-year old center that produced 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 28 games. He will likely debut this upcoming weekend.

One Timers

  • Alex Belzile has heated up over the last 2 weeks. In 8 games, the forward collected 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points.
  • Nikolas Brouillard recorded 3 assists last week.
  • Adam Sykora recorded 1 goal and 1 assist in back to back games.
  • Matthew Robertson is heating up offensively. The defenseman has 3 assists in the last 5 games.
  • Ryder Korczak recorded 2 assists against Springfield.
  • Turner Elson is beginning to find his offensive spark. The veteran recorded 3 assists in the last 4 games.
  • On January 31st, Hartford signed Bryan Yoon to a AHL deal for the remainder of the season. The defenseman signed with Hartford originally through a Professional Tryout (PTO).
  • Through 20 home games, Hartford’s front office brought in 107,182 fans. The current season average is 5,359 fans.
    • Last week, Hartford drew 17,867 fans in 3 games.
      • Wednesday featured 2,744 as the club continues to improve on Wednesday nights. This is a struggle for most teams in the AHL.
      • Friday recorded 6,453 fans. Saturday drew a new season high of 8,670 fans.
  • The XL Center renovation plans is still to be determined and finalized. The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) has extended their RFPs for upgrades to February 7th. More details will be announced when available. If the cost is aligned with the $100 million plan, then work is expected to begin this summer.

Upcoming Games

Friday, February 9th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 6th of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 4-1 against Bridgeport thus far. The next meeting will be held the following week in Bridgeport on the 17th.
  • Entering the week, Bridgeport is 13-25-5 for 31 points. That ranks the group 8th in the Atlantic Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference, and 32nd in the league (last). The Islanders are 3-6-1 in their last 10 outings.
  • Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov leads the club in points with 34. Through 43 games, the forward collected 13 goals and 21 assists. Forward Otto Koivula is 2nd in points on the roster with 24. Through 34 games, the veteran recorded 8 goals and 16 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, February 10th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 6th of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 3-1-1 against Providence thus far. The next meeting will be in Providence on the 18th.
  • Entering the week, Providence is 28-13-3-2 for 61 points.That ranks the group 2nd in the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, and league. The Bruins are 8-1-1 in their last 10 outings and begin the week on a 6 game winning streak.
  • Bruins prospect Georgii Merkulov leads the team in points with 42. In 41 games, the forward collected 17 goals and 25 assists. He is ranked 5th in the AHL for points. Forward Fabian Lysell is 2nd on the team for points with 38. In 42 games, Lysell has 13 goals and 25 assists. He is ranked 14th in the league for points. Anthony Richard is ranked 17th in the AHL for points, registering 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists).
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner