Notes From The Rangers Ranch: NHL Draft, Offseason Plans, Key Dates and More


As we are in the midst of exciting post-season action in the American Hockey League and National Hockey League, we are beginning to think about the slower months in the hockey world. The New York Rangers acquired the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft after their subpar season. In fact, New York has three first round picks. That is good to reboot the organization. Let’s see what is going on around the AHL and looking at some key dates this summer for Hartford.

Draft Day

The NHL draft will be held on June 22nd and 23rd in Dallas. That is the earliest that the Rangers can make moves. From Hartford’s perspective, this is always an exciting day. The guys on stage will eventually be in Hartford. How long they stay with the farm team depends on growth and development from the junior leagues. The players selected have strong impacts in the AHL as they are ready for the challenge. In addition, the Rangers could be open for trading at the time as well. There have been no rumors regarding trading up or anything.

Free Agency

The free agency in the AHL starts on the same day as the NHL’s. The Rangers signed a few players for Hartford on the first day. Another crop of veterans will be looked into and signed by either New York or Hartford. This will be Chris Drury’s second season to shape a roster that he wants. Will he want more speed, grit, or toughness? What does Keith McCambridge want? Needs from both perspectives should be addressed as quickly as possible as prime AHL talent will be up for grabs.

2018 Calder Cup Playoffs

On Wednesday evening, the Charlotte Checkers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms played game four in their series. The game was the longest in league history, going six hours and six minutes. The game started at 7:03 PM and ended at 1:09 AM. Ex-Pack forward Alex Krushnelyski ended the game in the fifth overtime, with a shot from the slot. The previous record in the league was between the Albany River Rats and the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2008 in the first round.

Charlotte and Toronto are strong candidates to win the Calder Cup from the East. Charlotte swept the offensively talented Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Toronto swept a tough Syracuse club that was gritty and made it to the finals last year. From the west, Rockford is continuing to impress. They swept the Chicago Wolves, who were first in the league. They are up 3-0 in the season series against Manitoba. A struggling team became hot at the right time and gave it to two strong teams from the west.

My brackets did not go to plan, but that is life. The unexpected can happen. I have Charlotte taking on Texas in the final. That’s a possibility.

Wolf Pack Schedule

Hartford’s 2018-19 season campaign is a work in progress from a scheduling standpoint. Teams are beginning to get their guarantee dates from the league. The finalized schedule will be released in July. If you want to check out the future of the Rangers, here are a few dates to consider that I know about:

  • Friday, October 5th
  • Saturday, December 1st
  • Saturday, January 19th
  • Saturday, January 26th
  • Saturday, February 2nd
  • Saturday, March 2nd

Times and opponents will be determined upon the scheduled release.

In addition, the league approved a new division alignment for the 2018-19 season. There are minor changes. Hartford’s Atlantic Division remains the same from last year. The Cleveland Monsters are joining the North Division and coming East. Hartford will play the Monsters next season.

Colorado will be the 31st expansion team in the league and will be affiliated with the Avalanche. They will enter the Pacific Division. Texas and San Antonio shifted to the Central Division.

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

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