April 2, 2021

Wolf Pack Watch: Team playing better as prospects flourish

Mar 15, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Tarmo Reunanen #51 of the New York Rangers skates in his first NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on March 15, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Through 12 of the 24 games in the shortened AHL season, Hartford finds themselves hoovering around .500 mark. The Wolf Pack are ranked second in the three team Atlantic division. At the halfway point, prospects Morgan Barron and Tarmo Reunanen continue to carry the team at both ends of the ice.

Ty Ronning has upped his game recently after being a healthy scratch early on in the season. Tyler wall continues to adjust to the pro ranks as Hartford has seen four goalies in net to date. From the veteran presence of Keith Kinkaid to a 18 year old Dylan Garand, the Pack found themselves with a wide range of goalies in net. With twelve games remaining on the docket in a season focused only development, the prospects look to finish strong in the Insurance City.

Wolf Pack Watch: In the Crease

Tyler Wall participated in half of the games through the season thus far. In six games, Wall is 1-4-1 with a 4.11 GAA and a .853 save percentage. He has spent 336:01 in net. Wall had a strong outing in the last game against Bridgeport, providing superb saves to keep the Pack afloat and ahead. Wall has picked up his performance after struggles early on in the season.

Adam Huska is 2-1 with a 2.35 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Huska returns for his second season with Hartford. In his limited playing time, the goaltender had some good outings. Huska has spent 178:55 in net.

Dylan Garand is 0-1. However, he participated in two games as he relieved Tyler Wall earlier in the season. Garand was impressive early on in his limited exposure to playing in the AHL. The future is bright for the prospect, considering he’s in the early stages of his development. Garand had a 3.68 GAA with a .839 save percentage. He spent 81:30 in net.

Keith Kinkaid played the first two games in Hartford. He was a perfect 2-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .962 save percentage. He’s now a maintain with the Rangers.

Morgan Barron continues to be superb

new york rangers prospects
Morgan Barron (NYR)

Morgan Barron has played in all games thus far. The prospect recorded 7 goals, 3 assists for 10 points with a +/- of +5. Barron spent majority of games on the wing until recently where he was switched to center. Barron continues to provide steady offensive support to the club and has shown strong offensive skills. The prospect is able to shoot the puck, make nifty moves, and utilizes his speed well. Barron would be another strong candidate to make the Rangers next season considering what he has shown thus date.

Tarmo Reunanen progresses

The prized Rangers prospect continues to put on a show on the blue line with Hartford. After a hot start of putting up early points in the first four of five games, Reunanen was held without a point for five games. The prospect is now a new point streak as Reunanen has three points in the last two outings. Despite not putting up numbers nightly, the defenseman continues to be reliable for Hartford. Especially on defense, Reunanen can read plays well and know exactly what to do in situations. In fact, he is one of the best defenseman on the roster this season. He made his opportunity in New York a worth while memory with a strong game.

I expect Reunanen in the second half of the season to perform just as strong as the first half. He is definitely another promising prospect in the Rangers pipeline.

Ty Ronning provides offense

In the last year of his entry level contract, Ronning has been knocking on the Wolf Pack’s coaching door to play him on a nightly basis. After being scratched frequently early on, Ronning responded with force. In his six games, the forward notched four goals and two assists for six points. Ronning had two games with two points. In each game, you can notice the effort by the prospect. He hustles, he is adaptive to the situation around him. He also shoots on net as much as possible. After struggling on not being in Hartford full time in the last three seasons, Ronning looks ready to stay in the AHL. He is vying for another deal with New York. Time will tell if that will happen.

If Ronning continues to perform well in the second half of the season, he could be given another opportunity. The fate rests on him.

Wolf Pack Transactions

There were a few transactions that occurred as of late:

  • Zach Berzolla joins Hartford through a PTO on March 20th.
  • Anthony Bietto and Michael Lackey joined Hartford briefly, then were removed.
  • Hunter Skinner joins Hartford through a Standard Player Contract on March 25th.

Wolf Pack Provide Update

Announced on March 31st, Hartford announced that fans will not be returning to the XL Center until the 2021-2020 season.

While some fans are upset with the announcement, this was expected as many teams on the minor league level carry on without fans. Specifically on the AHL level, there is not a rush to bring back fans. Given the complexity of the situation with COVID, it would not be feasible for teams to open up with low capacity.

Regarding the XL Center front, Hartford currently play all games at 1pm. Having fans in the stands would be unfeasible considering the lack of staffing, the start time, and the expenses associated with cleaning and sanitizing the facility.

Keep in mind that the XL Center is a large venue. Having 10% capacity is not worth opening considering how quickly expenses will add up. In normal times, Spectra pays for the affiliation fee to MSG. The arena management runs the business aspect while collecting revenue for concessions, ticketing, and sponsorships.

In this season, the agreement had to be modified in order for the Wolf Pack to play in the XL Center without fans. It is expensive to run an arena without fans since there is no revenue coming in. The Rangers are paying to play in the XL. Any changes such as allowing fans would mean the agreement would have to be reworked. The agreement has to work for all sides. It’s a business decision that had to be made. We may miss the XL Center, but long term, the right decisions has to be made regarding the financial aspect of the Wolf Pack and Spectra.

Upcoming Games

Friday, April 2nd vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 1pm, Webster Bank Arena

  • This is the 5th of 12 meetings on the season. Hartford is 2-1-1 thus far.
  • To watch: AHLTV.
  • To listen: Bridgeport’s Mixlr.

Wednesday, April 7th vs Bridgeport at 1pm, XL Center

Saturday, April 10th vs Providence Bruins at 1pm, XL Center

  • This is the 9th of 12 meetings between the clubs. Hartford is 3-5 thus far.
  • To watch: AHLTV.
  • To listen: Wolf Pack’s Mixlr.
  • Live coverage: Milliner06.

Thursday, April 15th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 1pm, Webster Bank Arena

Saturday, April 17th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 1pm, XL Center

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