Wolf Pack candidates to bolster Rangers playoff roster

NHL: New York Rangers at Ottawa Senators
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will prepare for their first round series matchup against the Washington Capitals and are expected to make a few call ups.

Last season, the Blueshirts opted to add goalie Louis Domingue, defenseman Libor Hajek, along with forwards Jonny Brodzinski and Jake Leschyshyn to bring their postseason roster to 25 players.

That being said, the Hartford Wolf Pack are winding down the regular season this week and getting ready for the Calder Cup Playoffs. So general manager Chris Drury needs to keep that in mind when choosing which players to add.

Note: Their is no salary cap in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Related: Short series will be key for Rangers

Candidates to bolster Rangers playoff roster

Hartford Wolf Pack's Brennan Othmann in action
Hartford Wolf Pack’s Brennan Othmann in action (Photo: Hartford Wolf Pack / Megan Boyle)

New York has already plucked talent off the Wolf Pack roster this season starting with their captain Jonny Brodzinski and Matt Rempe. During the course of the year, they’ve also called up a number of players. Forwards Brennan Othmann and Adam Edstrom each had stints on Broadway. The same goes for defensemen Connor Mackey and Brandon Scanlin.

At the end of the day, don’t be surprised to see a few of those players added to the roster prior to Game 1, which is expected to take place on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. For now, let’s break down the top candidates for a playoff call up.


Adam Edstrom: Coach Peter Laviolette is very familiar with the big forward and liked what he saw in his 11-game stint. The 23-year-old is big (6-foot-7, 234 lbs) and has solid speed. He also has no issues going to the dirty areas of the ice, scoring twice. For the Wolf Pack, he’s registered 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in 39 games.

“I thought he was good,” Laviolette said in February. “He’s a big guy that just skates so well. His stick is big, and even in practice yesterday you can just see him moving up and down the ice. He skates with ease.”

Brennan Othmann: New York’s most NHL-ready prospect was solid in his brief three-game stint this season, despite not registering a point. However, he’s been one of the Pack’s best offensive weapons with 46 points (19 goals, 27 points) in 65 games. That being said, the Rangers likely want to see the 21-year-old in playoff games.

Tyler Pitlick: A safe bet for a call up would be the 32-year-old veteran that played 34 games for Laviolette before being sent down. Pitlick is familiar with the Rangers 1-3-1 system and was able to four points (one goal, three assists) as a fourth-liner. He’s posted seven points (three goals, four assists) in 20 AHL games.

Alex Belzile: The 32-year-old veteran leads the Hartford Wolf Pack in scoring with 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) in 59 games. Another plus for adding Belzile is he’s got some NHL regular season (44 games) and playoff (6 games) experience.

Anton Blidh: If the Rangers want to add a veteran with NHL experience that can play a grinding physical style, this 29-year-old veteran makes sense. In 62 games with Hartford, Blidh has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) with 77 penalty minutes. He also played one game this season on Broadway, against the Capitals on January 13.


Brandon Scanlin: The 24-year-old defender finally made his NHL debut this season after the Rangers’ blue-line was hit with a rash of injuries. He was solid in his one game, a 6-5 OT win over the Philadelphia Flyers on March 26, where he finished with an even rating. In Hartford, Scanlin has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 62 games.

Connor Mackey: Although Mackey played in just one game this season for the Rangers, it was a memorable event. In a 7-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on January 27, he fought their tough captain, Brady Tkachuk, and came out on top to earn the Broadway Hat. To date, he’s recorded 11 points in 43 games for the Wolf Pack.

“On the bench, Laviolette was telling the guys to get a little more physical,” Mackey explained. “I just hit Stutzle there and then (Tkachuck) asked me to go, and I wasn’t going to turn it down. Hopefully it got the boys going.”


Louis Domingue: Everyone is waiting for Igor Shesterkin to pot a goalie-goal, but this veteran put one home last week. On April 12, against the Springfield Thunderbirds, the 32-year-old backstop fired the puck from his knees with 23 seconds left to secure the win, and clinch a playoff berth for the Wolf Pack.

“It’s tough to describe the feeling,” Domingue said postgame. “But it’s my daughter’s birthday today, it’s a big day for our family. It’s one way to finish the night, for sure.”

Earlier this season, with both Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick banged up, he picked up one of the Rangers’ historic 55 wins. On November 9th versus the Minnesota Wild, he halted 25 shots en-route to a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden.

For the Wolf Pack, he’s 15-8-4 with a 2.69 GAA, .909 save percentage, and one shutout.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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