Rangers AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack end long playoff drought
The New York Rangers didn’t just focus on bolstering their NHL lineup for a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs, they also made moves to improve their AHL affiliate.
Last night, the Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Providence Bruins by a score of 5-3 pushing them to their first Calder Cup Playoffs berth since 2015. They were battling with the Bridgeport Islanders for the final spot, who lost to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
“Everybody is buying in and striving towards that goal,” captain Jonny Brodzinski said. “Everybody in the locker room and the entire organization thinks we have a lineup that can go deep in the playoffs.”
Hartford Wolf Pack make playoffs after moves
General Manager Chris Drury and his assistant Ryan Martin (also Wolf Pack GM) added key veterans with experience near the trade deadline.
Anton Blidh was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Gustav Rydahl. The 27 year-old forward played in 14 NHL games this season with the Avs registering no points but has been huge in the Pack’s playoff push with 11 points in 15 games.
Will Lockwood was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in the Vitali Kravtsov deal and the forward has registered 12 points in 15 contests since the trade.
On defense, Wyatt Kalynuk, has been solid for the Pack with 2 assists in 13 games. The 25 year-old has helped settle the blue-line along with Cooper Zech and Adam Clendening.
Zech was acquired in the Patrick Kane trade and has two points in 13 games. Veteran defender Clendening is no stranger to the Rangers organization playing 31 games for them during the 2016-17 season. He has 8 points in 18 games since coming from the Rockford IceHogs in an AHL deal.
Brodzinski, Cuylle, and Jones led the charge
Three players that really stood out this season for the Pack are Jonny Brodzinski, Will Cuylle, and Zac Jones.
Brodzinski, 29, split time between the Pack and Rangers this season but was instrumental in March to lead the team to the Calder Cup Playoffs. In 46 games, he recorded 21 goals and 47 points.
Cuylle, 21, led the Pack in goals with 25. He also added 19 helpers for 44 points in 67 contests. The Rangers called him up for a 4 game stint this season and loved what he brought physically to their bottom six.
Jones, 22, has notched 31 points in 52 games to date for the Pack leading all defenders in scoring. The promising defenseman played 16 games with the Rangers earlier in the year and registered two points.