The Wolf Pack Are Ready To Howl This Upcoming Season
As the AHL season slowly approaches once again, it is time to look at what each team has in store for the upcoming year. Specifically looking at the Rangers farm-hand, the Hartford WolfPack, we will see what is to be expected from the future pros.
The Pack finished off a rather disappointing 2013-2014 outing with record of 37-32-7, missing the AHL playoffs for the second year in a row. To aid their struggles, Rangers General Manager, Glen Sather, acquired various players during the 2014 NHL offseason that will add tremendous depth. Players such as, Matt Hunwick, Mike Kostka, Chris Bourque, and Chris Mueller will become excellent assets for a run at the Calder Cup.
Assuming that the Rangers call up either JT Miller or Oscar Lindberg to fill a much needed spot at center, a lot of focus will be put on other top prospects within the organization. If there was any year for the youth to prosper, it would be this year. After losing key (yet replaceable) veterans in Brian Boyle, Benoit Pouliot and Anton Stralman, it is time for a little youth to be injected into the Rangers 2014-2015 roster.
So what can we expect from the Pack this year? Look for Hartford to perform at a better level than before. As the prospects age like fine wine and a little experience is added to the mix, maybe this year they can break the streak and grab a spot in the playoffs.
It will be interesting to see if Jesper Fast is ready to crack the Rangers lineup or continues to season in Hartford. Same can be said for Ryan Haggerty and Oscar Lindberg.
On the backend, Dylan McIlrath, Conor Allen, Steven Kampfer, Mike Kostka and Matt Hunwick will all battle it out for the big club’s 7th defenseman spot. This will still leave a solid blue-line for the Pack to contend.
In goal, 6’2″ Dov Grumet-Morris will try and continue to build on his second half success last season. The Pack’s push for a playoff spot was largely due to him and the play of TJ Hensick and Danny Kristo.
Speaking of Danny Kristo, will he make the NHL jump, or is it one more year to perfect his game in the AHL? As for T.J. Hensick, who had a stellar second half for Hartford, he seems locked in his position. At 28 years of age and with NHL experience in Colorado and St. Louis, he can certainly take on a leadership role.
So while Sather filled the holes he had in the NHL, he also restocked the shelves down in Hartford. This should be a good season for the Wolf Pack.