Rangers should re-sign Vincent LoVerde to mentor young Pack defense
Hartford has one of the most experienced defenseman in the American Hockey League. Prior to joining the Wolf Pack through an AHL deal last summer, LoVerde spent seven seasons in the league. The 31 year old defenseman (had a recent birthday on April 14th) has an impressive resume. LoVerde is a two time Calder Cup Champion and has appeared in the All-Star game twice. Despite no exposure to the NHL, the tough defenseman has found ways to flourish at the AHL level, from having a great game on the blue line to mentoring prospects. After watching LoVerde perform throughout his career, I would love to see him return for the 2020-2021 season.
LoVerde brings tremendous experience to the roster. Aside from his accomplishments in the league, he is a warrior that has gone through the wars of tense playoff battles. He has participated in post-season action each season in his career that often had a good number of games played.
The Rangers prospects will need someone to guide them and help them push through tough situations. LoVerde is a great leader on the bench and losing an experienced player like LoVerde will likely set the blue line back next season if the void is not filled. In fact, I wrote about LoVerde prior to his signing last summer, stating he would be a great signing for Hartford and he truly has been this year.
Strong Defensive Game
The defenseman plays a rock solid game, giving opponents a difficult time to generate offense. LoVerde is a responsible player with a strong hockey IQ, reading plays exceptionally well. He can become physical if needed and has size to block shots or get in the dirty areas. He is often disciplined and only take penalties if he is forced to. LoVerde is a player that is enjoyable to watch. He also has the ability to move the puck well, create nifty passing plays or help the Wolf Pack breakout from their zone.
LoVerde also leads the team in +/- with a +17. Darren Raddysh was his defenseive partner for a good amount of games. At one point, both players were close in +/- before the pairing was broken up. LoVerde has posted a positive +/- stat in the last 9 of 10 professional seasons.
The veteran also upped everyone’s defensive game on the blue line. Darren Raddysh was on fire when the pairing was created. LoVerde also played with Mason Geertsen, Brandon Crawley, and Yegor Rykov.
While LoVerde is known for his defensive game, he can also provide offensive depth with his passing. He may not get on the scoresheet with goals, but he can get the job done assisting in plays with smart plays in all three zones. Being defensively sound is the foundation for his ability to help with great breakout passing and smart pinch in at the Blueline. This guy can do everything. Through 62 games with Hartford, LoVerde collected 4 goals, 17 assists for 21 points. He also has 22 penalty minutes and a +/- of +17.
Chris Drury must find a way to bring LoVerde back in a Hartford uniform. The prospects will benefit with his presence on ice and in the locker room. He also has shown he is a veteran that is able to get the job done, get teams in the playoffs and push them to go deep. Another plus for the Rangers organization is that AHL deals are separate from the cap. Chris Drury can sign a quality player that would not affect the cap space for New York. LoVerde’s return to Hartford will continue to provide the Pack with sound defense, additional leadership, and solid mentoring for prospects.