HOWLING WITH THE PACK 2/2 – 2/9
Since the second half of the season began, the Hartford Wolf Pack have been on fire. Dating back to January 29, the Pack are 4-2 over their last six games. While at one point this season scoring was a serious concern, the Pack have scored three or more goals in six of there last seven games. Leading the way for the Wolf Pack is a hungry group of prospects that are all hoping to make their mark in the NHL.
Oscar Lindberg: In this last six game stand, Lindberg has been far and away the Pack’s best player. He Leads the team in goals (4) assists (3) and points (7). A noticeable change to his game is the amount of shots he has taken as of late. In the beginning of the season he was slow to pull the trigger, now he is finding his grove and shooting a lot more. It would be easy to look at his offensive stats, and stop there but Lindberg does a lot more than put up points. He’s involved and engaged in his zone defensively, gets in deep on the forecheck and creates a lot of opportunities for linemates. Lindberg’s game is complete and all around and is now showing why he came over with a lot of hype.
J.T. Miller: After being on a hot streak for much of the season, Miller seemed to finally cool down. After being pretty much a point per game player, over the last six games Miller has no goals and just three assists. The biggest issue right now is consistency. There are times when he is the best player on the ice and times when he is going through the motions. There have even been times when you don’t notice him at all. The lack of goals may be alarming to some, but he has had 10 shots in his last six games. He was robbed of goals on at least three of those shots so the goals will come.
Danny Kristo: Like much of the season, the question has been the same: What Danny Kristo will show up? It shouldn’t be a surprise that this team goes as Kristo goes. When he is flying around, the team follows, when he is invisible so is the team. Fortunately, over the last six, and in most of the second half of the season for that matter, Kristo has been buzzing. In the latest stretch of games, Danny has three goals and two assists for five points. He also added 10 shots. The effort and consistency has always been a concern, if he can start playing on a more consistent level, the sky is the limit.
Jesper Fast: Coming off a monster week where Fast was the hottest player in the AHL, he once again produced points and played a solid all around game. While the goal numbers were down, just one goal in the last seven games, he was still able to create opportunities by adding in four assists. Fast’s overall game was solid. He was involved on the forecheck, played great two way hockey and saw time on both the Power play and Penalty Kill. It should be noted that Fast also had the shoot out winner against Albany on Feb 1.
Ryan Bourque: One name not talked about nearly enough in regards to Rangers Prospects is Ryan Bourque. While he doesn’t have the Skill of Kristo, the speed of Fast or the size of Lindberg, He brings something they don’t: A blue collar grit. Often times, Bourque is the hardest working player on the ice, and is always noticeable. At the start of the season, Bourque was playing on the forth line, He managed to work his way up to the first line. Over the last six games, he’s punched in two goals, taken 18 shots, and played in every situation imaginable. Bourque excels on the fore-check and out works people down line. Despite his size he has no problem throwing his body around. His blue collar attitude has been a welcomed addition to Miller and Fast.
Conor Allen: Much like most of the season, the report on Allen is boring and pretty much the same: He shows up, he does his job, he leaves. The past stretch of games, has been pretty much the same. The only thing that has changed is where he is playing and the amount of minutes he is getting. Since the second half of the season, Allen has more time on the Power Play, the Penalty kill and on the top line. He’s eating up more minutes and getting better every game. While his point totals are lacking, just one assist in the last six games, he is more then making up for it with his positioning, and his ability to keep other teams best players off the score sheet.
Dylan McIlrath: Big Mac missed three of the six games with an upper body injury. When he returned, he played in his normal top pair defense role. He was physical and played with an edge which was good to see coming off an injury. One thing I noticed is that he is not fighting as much, and isn’t even looking for it as often. I’m not sure if that is the injury or coming from the coaches. While the improvements and gains are there, it’s now more of a case of McIlrath staying healthy. In three games, MacIlrath added an assist and a +2 rating.
Article written by: William Cullen