Rangers prospects lead Hartford Wolf Pack resurgence

The second half of the season is underway for the Hartford Wolf Pack as competition heats up in the standings. Hartford completed their first half slate last Wednesday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, dropping a 4-1 decision against the Penguins. However, they got off on the right for the second half by sweeping the Cleveland Monsters in back to back games.

Hartford collected four of six points last week. Through 38 games, Hartford’s record is 22-11-5 for 49 points. Entering the week, the Wolf Pack are ranked 4th in the Atlantic Division, 6th in the Eastern Conference, and 10th in the league.

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Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

Brett Berard
Brett Berard in action (Photo: Megan Boyle / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Forward Lines Receive Shakeup

After Hartford struggled significantly for offense against the Penguins on Wednesday, interim head coach Steve Smith shuffled the forward group as the club had trouble producing goals. The results paid off over the weekend as Hartford recorded 7 goals in 2 games (4-2 and 3-2 wins).

The new lines that debuted on Friday, brought an impressive game that featured Hartford with the early jump and consistent pressure. The offense had life, even converting on the power play once out of eight opportunities. Hartford also never allowed Cleveland a lead in the game, which was important as the club emphasized the importance of a good start.

Hartford will have three games this week to further test their new offensive look. If they remain consistent, the club could go on a tear against divisional opponents.

Prospects Lead the Way

Brett Berard

In his first full professional season, the rookie continues to shine. Berard guided Hartford to a win on Friday as he potted 2 goals. In addition, he peppered the goalie with high danger shots and opportunities in both weekend contests.

Through 38 games, Berard has proved his value while in the lineup. The forward has a great shot and when he heats up, he goes on a roll with points. Even in games where he is not on the scoresheet, Berard finds himself around the net and had showed impressive passing skills to help create offense.

Berard has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points. He also has 34 penalty minutes to date. His strong rookie season will enhance his development further. The Rangers may want to take a look at him this season or next because his ceiling appears to be getting higher.

Matt Rempe

While providing Hartford with high octane toughness this season, Rempe found himself on the scoresheet last weekend. The gritty forward secured one assist Friday, followed by a 2 goal outing to propel Hartford with a victory on Saturday. While he did not drop the gloves, Rempe gave life to offense. He also recorded his second game winning goal of the year and snapped a 7-game points drought. Rempe is proving how quality depth is essential in the AHL.

Adam Sykora

A key cog to Hartford’s penalty kill unit, Sykora continues to shine in his rookie season. The talented dynamic forward has that ‘never say die’ attitude and it has a positive impact on his teammates.

Sykora keeps things simple when Hartford is short-handed, and that’s translated into effective penalty kills. He positions himself well and can block shots with the best of them. He’s also opportunistic, and when he sees an opening to push the play the other way, he does.

On Friday, all of this culminated in a shorthanded goal against Cleveland. The promising prospect reminds me of Mats Zuccarello when he was in Hartford (2010-2011). A lot of feisty skill that makes for a speedy and impactful forward.

Brennan Othmann Remains Hot

After a brief stint with New York, Othmann continues to roll offensively with the Wolf Pack. While the forward has cooled off with his goal scoring, he continues to add to his point totals with assists. Despite recording a lone goal in January, Othmann continues to get the puck on net thanks to his willingness to shoot and create quality opportunities. He’s currently on a 5 game point streak, securing 1 goal and 4 assists. The rookie has points in his last 9 of 11 games (1 goal, 9 assists). Through 35 games, Othmann has 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points.

Rangers Bolster Wolf Pack Roster While on Break

As expected, the Rangers assigned Jake Leschyshyn and Connor Mackey to Hartford as the NHL hits the All-Star break. The Wolf Pack will have three games prior to the next Rangers on Feb. 5th. Nick Bonino, who cleared waivers but was allowed to stay with his family for the break, will likely debut after this week’s action on February 9th.

Now that Filip Chytil is officially out for the season, Leschyshyn is likely to remain with the big club a little longer. Despite a slow start and a lengthy injury, Leschyshyn found his game and provided Hartford with offense when it was needed.

Meanwhile,Mackey was a great off-season signing for the organization. While providing sound defense in Hartford, he also has played well in his one-game stint for the Rangers against the Ottawa Senators before the break. Depending on Ryan Lindgren’s injury, Mackey could be up for multiple games at the conclusion of Trouba’s suspension.

Wolf Pack One Timers

  • Alex Belzile had his 4 game point streak snap. The veteran recorded 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists).
  • Mac Hollowell recorded 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists) in the last 9 of 11 games.
  • Brett Berard notched 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in the last 4 of 6 games.
  • Veteran Riley Nash will remain out of the lineup. His injury was upgraded to week to week. There is no timetable for return.
  • Matej Pekar will be out of the lineup for a bit of time as well. He is also listed week to week.
  • Adam Sykora recorded 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in the last 3 of 6 games.
  • Matthew Robertson has points in back to back games (2 assists).
  • Anton Blidh recorded his 5th goal of the season on Friday.
  • Bobby Trivigno has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in the last 2 of 4 games.

Wolf Pack Send Two Players to AHL All-Star Weekend

Announced in early January, the Wolf Pack will have 2 players representing the organization at the AHL All-Star festivities on February 4th and 5th. Rookie Brennan Othmann has an opportunity to show his impressive skills and defenseman Mac Hollowell, who is having a superb season will represent the Pack.

The 2024 AHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place at 8pm EST on Sunday, February 4th. The All-Star Challenge (game) will be on Monday, February 5th at 9pm EST. The festivities is hosted by the San Jose Barracuda at Tech CU Arena. To watch the events, it will be on AHLTV and the NHL Network.

The 2025 AHL All-Star events will remain in California as the Coachella Valley Firebirds will host at Acrisure Arena.

Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule

The Hartford Wolf Pack close out January with a home game on Wednesday, the start of a six-game home stand. The club will be home for the next 11 of 15 games.

Wednesday, January 31st vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 1st of 8 meetings in the season series. Hartford lost the series last season as they posted a 3-2-1 record. The 2nd meeting will be on February 28th.
  • Entering the week, Charlotte is 20-18-4 for 44 points. That ranks the group 6th in the Atlantic Division and 8th in the Eastern Conference. They are 3-6-1 in the last 10 outings and are on a 5 game losing streak.
  • Veteran Lucas Carlsson leads the Checkers in points with 28. Through 42 games, the defenseman has 12 goals and 16 assists. Panthers prospect Mackie Samoskevich is second for points with 26. The rookie has 11 goals and 15 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, February 2nd vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 5th of 6 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-3 against the Penguins and have dropped the last 3 outings against them. The final meeting will be in Hartford on April 19th.
  • Entering the week, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 23-15-5 for 51 points. That ranks the group 3rd in the Atlantic Division and 4th in the Eastern Conference. They are 6-3-1 in their last 10 outings. The Penguins are 3-2 in the last 5 games. They will host Toronto on Wednesday.
  • Defensman Ty Smith leads the Penguins in points with 28. Through 39 games, Smith has 6 goals and 22 assists. Veteran Alex Nylander is second on the team with 25 points. Nylander has 13 goals and 12 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, February 3rd vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 6th of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 3-2 against the Thunderbirds thus far. The 7th meeting will be on February 23rd.
  • Entering the week, Springfield is 20-17-3-2 for 45 points. They are ranked 5th in the Atlantic Division and 7th in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds won 2 straight and are 4-6 in the last 10 outings. They face Bridgeport on Wednesday and Friday.
  • Veteran Matthew Peca leads the Thunderbirds on the active roster with 34 points. Peca has 9 goals and 25 assists. Defenseman Dylan Coghlan is second in points on the active roster wtih 25. He has 10 goals and 15 assists.
  • Springfield lost their top 2 of 3 point producers from recall (Adam Gaudette, Nathan Walker).
  • 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