Wolf Pack Watch: What’s Going on Down on the Farm 11/2/15

Gibbons playing well in Hartford (HWP)

Gibbons playing well in Hartford (HWP)

Over the past several years, management has put a major emphasis on improving the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Many of the players that have played for the Rangers over the past few years have spent quality time in Hatrford. Oscar Lindberg, J.T. Miller and Dylan McIlrath are just a few of many. Let’s take a look at what is going on down in Hartford.

Through their first seven games, the Wolfpack currently sit at 5-1-1, good for second in their division, trailing the Scranton Wilkes-Barrie Penguins by just one point. The ‘Pack have been getting solid goaltending from Magnus Hellberg, acquired this offseason from Nashville. The tall Swedish goaltender has played 6 of the 7 games (Jeff Malcolm got the other start) posting a 4-1-1 record, with a 2.15 GAA and .934 save percentage.

Up front, the top four scorers are all centers. Chad Nehring and Brian Gibbons lead the team with seven points apiece. On defense, Ryan Graves leads with four points (1G, 3A). Highly touted prospect, Adam Tambellini currently sits with five points. Four of Tamebellini’s five points have been goals, which is something many have come to expect, as the 2013 3rd round pick has been touted as a sniper since he was drafted. He, together with Pavel Buchnevich can both potentially be assets to the Rangers late in the season, should they be looking to add scoring depth from within. Buchnevich, however would have to wait for the KHL season is Russia to finish before coming over.

One player which I’m sure many Rangers fans are focused on right now down in Hartford, is Raphael Diaz. The Swedish defenseman was cut as the last man in training camp, after losing the seventh defenseman spot to Dylan McIlrath. Diaz expressed his interest in looking to continue his career elsewhere if he would be stuck down in Hartford. I think that management will make their decision whether or not to promote him to the big club based on how well the Powerplay is performing. We all have seen how well Diaz and pass the puck and how hard he can shoot it. He’s a valuable asset to the Powerplay, and his contract of just $700,000 is very favorable, especially for a team like the Rangers who are tight against the cap.

Another player on defense to look out for is 2012 1st-round pick, Brady Skeji. He, together with Diaz, made it far in camp, but the coaching staff figured it would best suit Skeji to get regular playing time in Hartford over sitting in the press box with the big club. Should a long-term injury occur on defense, Skeji could see a call-up.

The Wolfpack play again Sunday at 7:30PM at home vs. the Providence Bruins.

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