Matt Rempe continues to provide physical spark for Hartford Wolf Pack

NHL: Preseason-New York Islanders at New York Rangers
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The Hartford Wolf Pack will compete in their 36th game of the season on Wednesday night as the club is currently on their 4-game road trip. It also marks the official halfway point of the AHL season, and despite a strong start, Hartford is battling through many issues since December as injuries have hampered depleted the roster and impacted their depth.

While the pieces are largely intact on defense, Hartford is struggling to produce offense from their talented forward group that’s missing multiple key cogs from injuries, in addition to losing their captain Jonny Brodzinski to the Rangers earlier in the season.

Heading into action this week, Hartford has dropped to fourth in the Atlantic Division. In their previous two games from last week, the club faced the league leading Hershey Bears, followed by a struggling Bridgeport Islanders club that collected 11 wins and are ranked 31st in the league. The Wolf Pack produced two out of four possible points as we head into the final full week of January.

Through 35 games, Hartford has a record of 20-10-5 for 45 points.

Related: Wolf Pack get offensive boost from Brandon Scanlin

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Matt Rempe

NHL: Preseason-New York Islanders at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Rempe Continues to Provide Toughness

The rugged forward is making a name for himself in the AHL with his toughness. Rempe, 21, has registered 87 penalty minutes in addition to 5 goals and 3 assists through 35 games.

Regarding penalties, Rempe is 1 minute from tying last season’s number with 88. In addition, he is 1 goal and 1 assist away from tying his production from last season as well. His game is progressing smoothly for the tall, feisty forward.

Rempe has proven he can drop the gloves, giving Hartford an emotional lift when needed. A recent example occurred against Hershey on January 19th when rookie Ryder Korczak was hit from behind along the boards. Rempe, who was on ice at the time and did not let that go fighting Hershey’s Dmitry Osipov.

In front of over 8,000 fans at the XL Center, Rempe won the fight and gave the crowd a reason to cheer.

The prospect knows he has a spotlight on him and has performed well in the grit and toughness department. To date, Rempe has dropped the gloves in 7 games. However, he will need to keep in mind the AHL’s fighting rule, implemented in the 2016-17 season. Once reaching 10 fights, a player will receive a 1-game suspension. In addition, each new fight will earn a 1-game suspension. Reaching 14 and above, the suspension extends to 2 games per fight.

Recent Trend: Offensive Struggles Persist

Reflecting on the last couple of weeks, Hartford’s offensive production is down thanks to a number of injuries and call ups. Hartford’s power play, which is considered one of the best in the league, has also grown cold despite numerous opportunities in recent games.

The club is not generating enough quality chances, and as they push to create them are producing more turnovers than anything else. These mistakes are fixable, as Hartford must find their confidence once again, especially in five-on-five action,

Riley Nash, one of those key offensive players, returned to the lineup Friday only to become re-injured and is considered “day to day”. As we approach the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, we will have to keep an eye on roster moves as the Wolf Pack will look to add. That was the case last year and it propelled them into a deep run in the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Karl Henriksson’s Development Progresses

In his second year in the AHL, the 22-year-old prospect is quietly having a good season. Through 31 games, Henriksson collected 7 goals and 5 assists for 12 points. He is 5 points away from tying last season’s total of 17 points.

Henriksson has played throughout the lineup, ranging from a depth role on the 3rd to 4th line to opportunities in the top-six. His game is simple and effective, where he puts pucks on net to create offense.

In addition, he’s a smart and disciplined player. He has only three penalties so far, which is impressive at the halfway point. Meanwhile, his defensive play has been solid and he’s willing to go to the dirty areas, fighting for the puck along the boards.

Henriksson is certainly a player to follow in the second half of the season. While he is not a big name, he has high potential and I expect the forward to continue to provide impact to the lineup.

Hartford Wolf Pack Lineup News

Injury Updates

As mentioned earlier, 34-year old veteran forward Riley Nash returned to Hartford’s lineup on Friday against Hershey. Nash, returning from a lower body injury, missed approximately a month of games as he was injured on December 22nd. However, Nash re-injured himself midgame and left the game with another lower body injury. Thankfully after medical evaluation, Hartford has listed the veteran as “day to day”. Nash, in his first game back was hungry to play and energized the group prior to his new injury.

New to the injury list is 23-year old Matej Pekar. The prospect was given an opportunity to remain in the lineup after producing solid games as a depth forward from Cincinnati ECHL beginning December 1st. Unfortunately, Pekar suffered an injury on Saturday in Bridgeport which resulted him missing remainder of the game.

On Sunday evening on the ECHL transactions list, Hartford recalled forward Cristiano DiGiacinto after assigning him to Cincinnati earlier in the week. The corresponding moves signals Pekar’s injury will have him out of the lineup for a bit of time. His timetable to return is unknown. This move will allow Hartford have 2 extra forwards that are healthy (Turner Elson is the other extra currently).

The status of the remaining players on the injury list is the same:

  • Defenseman Zach Berzolla and forward Adam Edstrom are out week to week.
  • Ben Harpur remains out for the remainder of the season.

One Timers

  • Alex Belzile recorded 1 goal and 1 assist over the weekend in 2 games.
  • Mac Hollowell’s point streak ended at 7 games, In that span, Hollowell recorded 1 goal and 6 assists.
  • Brennan Othmann recorded an assist in back to back games. He collected 7 points in 8 games, recording 7 assists.
  • Brett Berard is on a 3 game point streak, collecting 4 assists.
  • Nikolas Brouillard recorded 1 goal and assist over the weekend.
  • Dylan Garand recorded his 2nd shutout of the season on Saturday against Bridgeport as Hartford posted a 3-0 victory. The prospect improves to 10-4-3 with a 2.64 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.
  • Hartford’s front office continues to draw crowds. The Wolf Pack recorded a new season high on Friday at the XL Center, with an announced crowd of 8,077. Through 17 home games, Hartford is averaging 5,254 fans. In addition, the last 3 home games recorded 7,000 and above fans.

Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule

The Wolf Pack will continue their 4-game road trip on Wednesday. At the conclusion of the trip, the Wolf Pack will be home heavy as they will begin a 6 game home-stand beginning on January 31st. Hartford is home heavy in February,

Wednesday, January 24th vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05pm, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

  • This is the 4th of 6 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-2 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Wolf Pack won the first meeting on October 20th and lost the last 2 meetings since. The series return to Hartford on February 2nd.
  • Entering the week, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 21-14-5 for 47 points. That ranks the group 3rd in the Atlantic Division and 5th in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are 5-3-2 in their last 10 outings.
  • Defenseman Ty Smith leads the Penguins in points with 26. Through 36 games, Smith recorded 6 goals and 20 assists. Forward Alex Nylander is 2nd in points with 24, recording 8 goals and 16 assists in 32 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, January 26th vs Cleveland Monsters (Columbus) at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, 7pm

  • This is the 2nd of 4 meetings in the season series. Hartford’s first meeting featured a 4-3 overtime loss to the Monsters.
  • Entering the week, Cleveland is 24-11-1-1 for 50 points. That ranks the group 1st in the North Division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. The Monsters are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 outings.
  • Experienced forward Trey Fix-Wolansky leads the Monsters in points with 33. Through 33 games, Fix-Wolansky recorded 12 goals and 21 assists. He is ranked 19th in the league for points. Defenseman Jake Christiansen is second on the team for points with 26. Through 33 games, the defenseman has 7 goals and 19 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, January 27th vs Cleveland Monsters (Columbus) at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, 7pm

  • This is the 3rd of 4 meetings in the season series. The series conclude in Hartford on February 22nd.
  • 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