Wolf Pack Add Reinforcements
John Davidson continues to build up the farm in Hartford with the addition of David Cunniff and Chris Hoeler on Tuesday afternoon. Then on Thursday, Hartford announced the signing of defenseman Zach Tolkinen.
Rangers Add Off Ice Personnel
David Cunniff joins Gord Murphy and Kris Knoblauch on the Wolf Pack bench for the upcoming season. The addition gives Hartford a third pair of eyes watching and mentoring the kids. The 48-year-old assistant coach has spent his entire coaching career in the American Hockey League.
Cunniff adds more experience to the coaching staff with 17 seasons under the belt as an assistant/associate coach with the Cleveland Barons (4), Worcester Sharks (8), Albany Devils (1), and the Iowa Wild (4).
The move allows the Wolf Pack to focus on developing and creating the right culture in the locker room. Hartford will have another set of eyes and ears in the locker room that has the experience, fought the battles, and understands how to handle difficult situations. He has the potential to guide the locker room if games go south. Also, Cunniff knows about the importance of developing a good culture. Over the course of the season, he knows what will work for the group and can guide the prospects throughout the season.
With three new bodies on the Wolf Pack bench, I continue to be optimistic on the rebuild of Hartford’s young, talented roster.
Off the ice, the addition of a new video coach will help the coaching staff find weaknesses during games, and review the situation afterward. Getting another eye on the game from a different angle enhances the coaching staffs ability to zero in on where improvements can be made for each player.
Despite being off the bench, a video coach is just as important as the other coaches. Adding to the behind the scenes staff will be beneficial long term for Hartford and New York.
As we approach October, the upcoming season looks promising with all the moves that have been made in the summer. I expect results from these moves so the kids can enjoy playing with a winning atmosphere and develop to legitimate Ranger prospects that have an impactful future with the Blueshirts.
Wolf Pack Add Another Blue Liner
In another negotiated AHL deal with Hartford, the Wolf Pack have signed defenseman Zach Tolkinen for the upcoming season.
The 29-year-old spent a majority of last season with the Maine Mariners of the ECHL, followed by a nine-game stint with the Pack. He only registered four penalty minutes in the AHL while collecting one goal and 12 assists in the ECHL.
This is another signing geared towards our ECHL affiliate as Chris Drury is signing extra bodies for the Pack in case of injuries or call ups. Tolkinen has spent the last five seasons in the ECHL as a gritty defenseman who can drop the gloves.
To date, Hartford has signed a few players that have helped the Maine Mariners in their inaugural season. Guys like Tolkinen, Jeff Taylor, Greg Chase, Lewis Zerter-Gossage and/or Ryan Dmowski A majority of them are expected to return to Maine in October.
Hartford now has eight players on AHL deals that do not affect the Rangers cap space.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to reader cwede for pointing out a couple of errors that were made in the original post. The errors have been corrected.