How Rangers Should Address Hartford’s Needs In Free Agency
Free agency is around the corner in the National Hockey League, as the entire organization will attempt to address needs for both the Wolf Pack and the Blueshirts. Most of last year’s Wolf Pack roster should be returning for the upcoming season. Generally, in the AHL, a dramatic change in the roster occurs every summer as players come and go. We know that all the players were qualified in Hartford except Adam Tambellini. There are open spots to sign veterans and additional prospects on the blue line and up front.
Eric Selleck was Hartford’s enforcer last season and was eventually sent to Belleville for future considerations. Having an enforcer or a tough forward is good for a well-rounded team. Having one player that focuses on the rough aspect of hockey can protect the Rangers prospects along with keeping the team from becoming bullied. Having a player ensuring that liberties are not being taken on the Pack is a good addition. A well-rounded team is not soft.
A strong part of development in the minors is having veterans who can make an impact on the prospects. Having a player that has been through the wars in the playoffs, especially the finals, reaps rewards for the young guys. Having a veteran that is ready to lead by example is the best veteran that could be brought in.
Adding a few players in Hartford through an American Hockey League deal is a low risk, high reward possibility. In fact, Scott Kosmachuk was brought to the Pack through an AHL deal and earned himself a two-way contract with New York. One benefit for these deals is that the players do not affect cap space for the organization. If the player comes in playing fantastic on an American Hockey League deal, then he is worth keeping the following year and could possibly get a two-way contract with New York. Having players that can penalty kill, or play a two-way game is critical to a team’s success.
Looking Down The Road
Hartford is expected to have a young and talented roster next season. As of now, they need to address toughness and add veteran leadership to the club. If both are addressed along with depth, the Pack will be an exciting team to watch. They made strides last season, and the returning players will be expected to do more. The group has a strong work ethic and we have seen plenty of positives from last season.