April 15, 2020

Mailbag: Diving into the Wolf Pack and prospects

Wolf Pack Flickr

Here’s my first edition of the Wolf Pack mail bag. Throughout the pause and off-season, I will ask my readers if they have any questions or thoughts about the Rangers farm team in Hartford. Stay tuned for other editions down the road. If you have questions for another mail bag, please let me know in the comments or through my Twitter account here. Thank you to everyone who gave me questions for this week’s edition!

Do you believe that Lettieri will make the team next year? -Lucia A.

Vinni Lettieri has made an impact in Hartford for the last three seasons. The 25 year old prospect was given another chance with the Rangers organization this season after his original two year deal was up last summer. Offensively he is reliable, and I enjoyed his one timers the most as that is one of his specialties. He knows how to get set up for the blast of a shot and be able to bury the chances. He has 9 power play goals to date (18th in the league). However, his age puts him at a disadvantage considering the Rangers are looking for young talent for the big club.

Lettieri (AHL)

The prospect is a unrestricted free agent (group 6) this summer. Personally I would love to have him back as he is dependable for offense with the Wolf Pack. If he is re-signed, I think he will have a chance to make the team to help fill voids in the depth/bottom six. It will depend on the Rangers needs coming into the upcoming season. Perhaps they may want someone with speed and skill, which would fit for Lettieri. If they want a more well rounded forward or a more grittier player, he will not fit that mold. If he does not make the club next season, he will be perfect for Hartford.

The Rangers will have to decide if they want to offer Vinni Lettieri for another deal. He is considered seasoned in the AHL, which benefits the younger players in the system. If he goes elsewhere, I could definitely see other teams giving him a look at the NHL level.

What are your thoughts regarding the Wolf Pack potentially re-signing Mason Geertsen? -Margaret G.

Mason Geertsen was one of my favorite AHL signings. He provided grit and is not afraid to hit or fight anyone. He gave Hartford the edge physically. Despite playing on defense, Kris Knoblauch gave the rugged defenseman chances to play on the wing a couple of times this season. He actually had great games playing on the wing which shows he is versatile. He may not find his way on the scoring sheet, but he definitely is a player that boosts the Pack on the defensive aspects as he can be sound. He was an underrated signing by Chris Drury. He definitely found a gem.

Since AHL deals are often for one season, the Wolf Pack and Geertsen will have to iron out another AHL deal if the defenseman wants to stay in Hartford. It will depend on multiple factors. Prior to signing with Hartford last summer, the defenseman played one season with the Colorado Eagles. Prior to Colorado, he was in San Antonio for two seasons. The re-signing is 50/50 and I hope he stays. The Wolf Pack will benefit and he was a fan favorite.

Thoughts on Tim Gettinger. Does he have a future with with the Rangers -@AnalyticsNyr

What are your thoughts on Tim Gettinger’s development, and do you think he has a shot to be a contributor at the next level? What areas does he has to improve on? -Joe M.

I decided to combine both questions regarding Tim Gettinger. The prospect has another season remaining on his entry level contract. Considering what I have seen through two seasons, Gettinger is showing strides in the development process, especially this season under Kris Knoblauch. The tall forward has potential speed and can be the power forward on the Pack roster. He is also showing consistency this season which is great to see.

Gettinger (Wolf Pack)

Last season, he was not consistent in his game and struggled in some aspects. I am now seeing a better, well rounded game from the forward. However, he can be a streaky forward offensively as he can get hot or cold in spurts. Despite that on the scoresheet, he does have a great effort in all of his games played. He’s confident in shooting the puck more often and is not afraid to get in front of the net or dirty areas. On the defensive aspect, he is well positioned and can block shots when needed. He can use his size for the advantage in all areas of the ice, which I have seen plenty of times this season.

Regarding improvements coming into next season, the forward should work on his defensive aspect to give him a more well rounded skill set for the Rangers. He provides great depth offensively, but his priority should be the defensive aspects and the neutral zone. Being more defensively sound is never a bad idea. He’s doing good on those aspects, but bolstering up his overall game on defense could give the Rangers another forward to strongly look at for the upcoming season.

Tim Gettinger definitely has a future with the Rangers. I could see him in the bottom six/depth role for the organization. He is flourishing in Hartford, benefiting from his experiences thus far on the ice. I could see Gettinger be an ideal forward for New York that has a strong game in all areas of the ice. He could contribute every so often while holding sound defensively. He is not Chris Kreider, but has some traits similar to the forward.

Do you think Nils Lundkvist has the chance of making the NHL from the training camp? -@Contribute_ee

Nils Lundkvist is another up and coming future Ranger that will be exciting to watch. Once he joins the organization, I believe he will have some seasoning done in Hartford first before joining the Rangers for NHL exposure. I recently spoke with one of our 4B contributors regarding the prospect. Check out what he has to say regarding Lundkvist.

“Nils Lundkvist’s biggest skill is his movement and puck distribution. His gap control is close to perfect, and it allows him to play a more free-flowing style, skating the puck up the ice. That aspect of his game won’t change too much in North America. With rinks being more narrow, it should be even easier for him to control that gap. Where Lundkvist has really shined this season is his skating. He plays all 3 zones flawlessly in the 3rd best league in the world. And yes, there will be some time to adjust in my opinion, but when he flies over for camp and pre-season, he will be more fired up than ever. He has no intention of going back to Sweden and has a chance to earn himself a spot on the team. That will, in part, depend on Quinn being comfortable enough to play either DeAngelo or Fox on the left side, where the hole left by Skjei’s departure needs to be filled. If that happens., I can see Lundkvist making the team out of camp, but I expect his chances to start in Hartford to be 70-30. Not because he isn’t good enough, but because of the amazing depth we have on the right side. Nils Lundkvist lines up on the elft side on the powerplay, but at even strength he plays exclusively on the right side.”

Forever Blueshirts Contributor, Steven Voogel

What is the ceiling for Morgan Barron? -@JBFazz1213

Barron (Rangers/NHL)

I am excited to see Morgan Barron in a Wolf Pack, then Rangers uniform in his career. The 21 year old is showing a high ceiling potential after having three solid seasons with Cornell University. Regardless where he ends up next season, either staying at Cornell to complete his senior year or begin his pro career with the organization, he will continue to push himself and reach new heights in his development. He has an impressive game, from his scoring chances to the defensive aspect, he’s looking solid so far. He is a solid pickup for the Rangers.

He still has plenty of development remaining, but he is on a great track thus far. Look forward on seeing him in the organization down the road.

Can you rank the NHL potential of the recently signed Undrafted College Free Agents? -@JBFazz1213

The rankings will be based on signings made by the Rangers and not the Wolf Pack’s. The Wolf Pack signings of college free agents are on AHL deals and/or tryouts. I will focus on Patrick Khodorenko, Justin Richards, and Austin Rueschhoff.

I have seen Patrick Khodorenko play in one game with Hartford this season while the other two players have not played a game yet in the organization. These forwards each provided solid playing styles for their respectable college teams. The jump from college to the pro ranks can be difficult, but these players should be able to adjust and give boost to Hartford in the upcoming season. I am looking forward to see these three play with the Pack next season.

  1. Patrick Khodorenko- Shows a well balanced game offensively. He can be a solid play maker.
  2. Justin Richards- Solid defensive forward. He has a strong work ethic and is an accountable forward. He is good for faceoffs as well.
  3. Austin Rueschhoff- Another well rounded forward. The tall prospect has potential to become a power forward.

Any concerns about Rykov panning out? -Tim H.

Yegor Rykov has had a rough season in Hartford this season. Through 27 games with Hartford, Rykov has not found his game yet. I am not worried about the defenseman despite his tremendous struggles. I viewed this season as a trial run for Rykov because he joined the team in December and also was coming off from a significant injury. Early on he showed some strides, but long term he was unable to keep it up. Rykov was fighting a lot of factors this season. He was recovering from his injury, he was cold coming into the lineup, had limited time practicing with Hartford (before he played his 1st game), and was unable to get comfortable adjusting to the smaller rink in North America.

Fans expected a lot from the prospect early on. However, he was not ready for the NHL as he had a lot against him. His struggles was overwhelming, which resulted him sitting in games as a healthy scratch in the second half of the season. He also had a minor injury, which caused him to sit more games. Let the defenseman settle in the system and the smaller rink. I believe the prospect will bounce back next season since he has some experiences playing in the games with Hartford. He will train hard for the upcoming season and have a fresh mind and start to tackle the season. We do not need to sound the alarm.

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