Wolf Pack Watch: Season Begins Today

Wolf Pack

The journey begins today for Hartford’s 23rd season in the American Hockey League. The group will have two games on tap this weekend against divisional foes. Seven of the first nine games will be against opponents in the Atlantic Division, with the first five games at the XL Center. Hartford’s first road trip will be against Birmingham on October 19th.

Roster Moves, Potential Lines

You can view the roster moves and potential lines in my previous article here. Cristoval “Boo” Nieves cleared waivers officially on Tuesday.

Announced Wednesday, Chris Drury had two roster moves for Hartford:

  • Lewis Zerter-Gossage sent to Maine (ECHL).
  • Cristoval “Boo” Nieves officially assigned to Hartford.

Meet Your 2019-2020 Wolf Pack

Here is a look at the finalized Wolf Pack roster to begin the 2019-2020 campaign. As expected, the roster will be continually changing due to injuries, call ups, and reassignments to Maine. The Wolf Pack’s roster is well rounded and can do well.

Announced on Thursday, Steven Fogarty was given the C for the upcoming season. Vincent LoVerde, Ryan Lindgren, and Cristoval Nieves were given the A.

Forwards

8 – Nick Jones (Center)

9 – Phil Di Giuseppe (Left Wing)

11- Ryan Gropp (Left Wing)

13 – Patrick Newell (Right Wing)

15 – Cristoval Nieves (Center)

19 – Steven Fogarty (Center)

26 – Tim Gettinger (Left Wing)

37 – Gabriel Fontaine (Center)

39 – Matt Beleskey (Left Wing)

65 – Danny O’Regan (Center)

72 – Filip Chytil (Center)

81 – Ville Meskanen (Right Wing)

91 – Vitali Kravtsov (Left Wing)

95 – Vinni Lettieri (Center)

Defensemen

2 – Jeff Taylor

4 – Joey Keane

5 – Vincent LoVerde

14 – Brandon Crawley

22 – Darren Raddysh

44 – Mason Geertsen

55 – Ryan Lindgren

74 – Sean Day

Goalies

31 – Igor Shesterkin

35 – Adam Huska

Management, Coaching Staff

General Manager: Chris Drury

Assistant General Manager: Pat Boller

Head Coach: Kris Knoblauch

Associate Head Coach: Gord Murphy

Assistant Coach: David Cuniff

Goaltending Coach: Eric Raymond

Strength & Conditional Coach: John Sardos

Video Coach: Chris Hoeler

Athletic Trainer: Brian Fairbrother

Head Equipment Manager: Craig Lewis

Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach: Tim Sesko

Assistant Athletic Trainer: Jared Delger

Assistant Equipment Manager: Mark Riepe

Divisional Outlook

A few interesting storylines coming into this season, regarding Hartford’s opponents:

  • Charlotte faced the roughest off-season as many high-end veterans left the organization, followed by their head coach. Depending on the final roster for Charlotte, they could be fielding a very weak team this season.
  • The Hershey Bears retooled over the summer and brought in some impressive players to the organization. Last season was a wild ride for their club, going from last to third place in the division. The Bears look stronger on paper and should be competitive this season.
  • The Springfield Thunderbirds was on the same boat as Hartford last season. They were low in the standings and had issues defensively. The Panthers have helped the Thunderbirds, addressing defense with the addition of veteran Tommy Cross. The young roster is expected to give Hartford trouble, as they have in the last couple of seasons.
  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is a tossup on how their season will shake out. They improved their goaltending and on the bench. However, Pittsburgh raided their farm team and, as a result, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
  • Bridgeport and Providence had quieter off-seasons. I did not see much change for both clubs but did well last season. Bridgeport maintained to be in the top tier of standings while Providence started slow and eventually was in the middle of the pack.

Upcoming Games

Saturday, October 5th against the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina) at 7 pm, XL Center

  • This is the first of eight meetings against the Checkers. Last season, Hartford was 1-7 against the Checkers.
  • Despite winning the Calder Cup in June, Charlotte’s roster became depleted. The club also lost their head coach, Mike Vellucci to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
  • Charlotte was atop the AHL standings last season with a record of 51-17-7-1 for 110 points.
  • Saturday’s contest begins a five-game home-stand.

Sunday, October 6th against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 3 pm, XL Center

  • The first of ten meetings in the season series. Hartford compiled a 4-3-2-1 record last season against Bridgeport.
  • The Sound Tigers lost a key veteran Chris Bourque in the summer. However, the club added Thomas Hickey and Joshua Ho-Sang to their roster.
  • This is the first back to back games for both clubs. Bridgeport plays in Springfield before Sunday’s match.
  • Bridgeport was second in the Atlantic Division last season with a record of 43-24-6-3 for 95 points.