March 18, 2020

Wolf Pack Watch: What’s next for Hartford and the AHL

Kravtsov (Photo: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News)

The Wolf Pack’s 23rd season was halted the day after the club completed their 62nd game. Looking back, Hartford built themselves a 31-20-6-5 for 73 points in the Atlantic Division. They rank 4th in the division tied with the Charlotte Checkers for the same amount of points.

Looking Ahead

The American Hockey League will have a few options regarding the outcome of the season. As expected, this is a fluid situation due to Coronavirus outbreak in the world.

  • Cancellation of the remainder of the season.
    • This option is certainly a possibility as the league is facing questions regarding revenue, travel, scheduling, and other additional variables. The ECHL has announced the cancellation for the remainder of their season.
    • We are living through history as we speak. From the AHL’s perspective, this is the first season where the league has been paused. Prior to last Thursday’s pause, the league has completed every season on time. In addition, the Calder Cup was awarded each season. This season could be the first year where there are no winners.
  • Starting at a later date with the playoffs.
    • With a handful of games remaining, the league could begin the playoffs at a later date as majority of the season is completed. Looking at the current standings, Hartford would face the Providence Bruins in the first round.
  • Resuming the season slate with playoffs.
    • The least likely option, the league could resume the schedule then conduct playoffs.

The AHL’s decision will be independent from what the NHL will do according to Chris Johnston.

“In addition to @FriedgeHNIC report on ECHL Cancelling its season, word around the American Hockey League is that a potential return won’t mirror what happens with the NHL. Too many different variables, including travel and revenue. They’re facing a big challenge.”

Chris Johnston

While AHL teams are paused, NHL teams will also pay their AHL players as well. There’s no telling on what will happen next from a seasonal standpoint. We are in a wait and see mode.

Wolf Pack

Game Analysis From Last Wednesday

The Wolf Pack dropped their 5th straight game prior to the season pause at the XL Center on March 11th. The Providence Bruins now have won 12 straight, defeating Hartford 3-1.

For the roster of Hartford, they were decent. Often at times they held together against a competitive Bruins roster. Hartford had depletion from injuries, suspensions, and the trade deadline.

“Projected lines for @WolfPackAHL tonight vs. PRO:

Gropp-O’Regan-Kravtsov, Newell-Jones-Chase, Dmowski-McBride-Ronning, O’Leary-Khodorenko-Bleackley. D: LoVerde-Raddysh, Hajek-Ebert, Crawley-Giuttari. Berube starts in net.”

Bob Crawford

Considering the lines, they had to take time to build chemistry. For the most part, the group held up as there were chances on both ends. Sadly, they just couldn’t compete. As for a bright spot, Vitali Kravtsov continues to improve and scored in the contest.

New Players Debuts

Patrick Khodorenko– The center was inserted into the 4th line. He had a quiet game.

Mike O’Leary– The forward was inserted into the 4th line as well. He registered 1 shot on goal.

Zach Giuttari– He had a few nice attempts on the offensive side of the game. He registered 1 shot on goal and was on the 3rd line pairing.

Conner Bleackley– Also inserted on the 4th line and had a quiet game as well due to limited ice time.

Transactions

Hartford had a few transactions as of late.

  • Zach Giuttari, Francois Brassard were signed to PTOs.
  • Adam Huska was assigned to Maine last Tuesday to be recalled back to Hartford the following day. In addition, Brassard was released.
  • Steven Fogarty was recalled by New York through an emergency recall and was assigned to Hartford on March 12th.
  • Jake Elmer was called up on March 10th.
  • Connor Bleackley sand Robbie Payne igned through a PTO, then terminated the following day.

Upcoming Articles

During the pause, I will be looking into various aspects of the team. Be on the lookout for additional articles weekly. Furthermore, Greg Markiewicz will have great insights as well.

Be on the lookout next week for the article regarding the home of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the XL Center. There are a few updates I want to share with you on the outdated arena.

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