Keane (Getty Images)

Wolf Pack Watch: Wins continue with trades looming

Despite losing their first home game since November 20th, Hartford found themselves back on track last weekend. The group collected four of a possible six points to remain one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The group managed to snap their 7 game losing streak on the road on Saturday as well (0-4-3) for their 1st shootout victory of the season. Entering the week, Hartford is 29-13-5-5 for 68 points. That ranks them 2nd in the Atlantic Division, 3rd in the Eastern Conference, and 5th in the league. The Milwaukee Admirals are in possession for 1st in the league, compiling a 35-11-4-3 record for 77 points. Let’s check out the latest as Hartford prepare for a three in three weekend.

Joey Keane Dealt

Announced on Tuesday afternoon, the Rangers have traded rookie defenseman Joey Keane in exchange for Julien Gauthier.

“OFFICIAL: Rangers acquire forward Julien Gauthier from Carolina in exchange for defenseman Joey Keane.”

New York Rangers

After processing the trade, I felt the exchange fits both clubs well. Keane is great and he will be a solid fit for Carolina long term. Gauthier is a big forward with size that has done well with the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL

The trade is even for both clubs. It may be tough to lose a great prospect, but the Rangers have gained another prospect who is seasoned. Plus the Rangers had a log jam on defense, so that helps with one less defenseman in the system.

“In essence, the #NYR found themselves a long term forward who can help short term with Hartford this season offensively. I’d love to see him with Kravtsov on a line. After this season, I could see him very well with New York. Young, talented, & brings good offensive traits.

The Rangers used an area of strength to address an area of weakness down here. I’m 100% in for the move. The defense will still be solid.”

Milliner06

Keane’s final stats through 49 games include 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points. He had 32 penalty minutes and a +/- of -3. Best of luck to the prospect as I know he will be a great player down the road.

Keane (AHL)

Divisional Standings Update

The Hershey Bears are back in 1st after being tied briefly with Hartford last weekend. The Bears are 32-16-3-3 for 70 points. The Wolf Pack have 2 games on hand with the Bears which will help down the road in playoff seeding. Hershey is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

AHL Playoff Primer

It is that time of the season where the daily playoff primer is out! Unlike years past, this year’s edition is worth paying attention to for Hartford fans. As of Tuesday, the Wolf Pack’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is at 37 points. To clinch the division, Hartford is at 47 points.

You can check out the primer here.

One Timers

  • Cristoval “Boo” Nieves is back skating again after being out a few weeks with the flu. According to Gerry Cantlon from Howlings, Nieves is considered “out indefinitely” with an upper body issue.
  • Matt Beleskey has collected 1 goal and 2 assists in the last 3 of 4 games.
  • In the Wolf Pack’s 6th shootout of the season, Hartford finally won the skills competition last Saturday at the PPL Center. Steven Fogarty scored the lone goal in the skills competition to give Hartford the win. The Pack are 1-5 in shootouts thus far.

On The Beat: Libor Hajek Underperforming Expectations

Check out the latest of Libor Hajek’s progress in Hartford here, written by Greg Markiewicz.

Around The AHL

Approved by the league’s board of governors, the American Hockey League have elected Scott Howson as the next President and CEO of the league beginning on July 1st, 2020.

“Howson will become the tenth President since the league’s formation in 1936 and will succeed the retiring David Andrews, who will continue as Chairman of the Board of Governors after his 26-year tenure as President and CEO concludes on June 30.”

The AHL

Dave Andrews had one hell of a career with the league. He has helped the league to what it has become today. He grew the league, expanded westward, and maintained stabilization of markets the league is in.

Transactions

  • Defenseman Brandon Crawley joins Hartford on February 11th.
  • Defenseman Joey Keane was recalled to New York, then assigned back to Hartford on February 14th. Then he was removed from the roster on February 18th.

Upcoming Games

Hartford has 24 games remaining on the docket (13 home, 11 away).

Friday, February 21st vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 7:05pm, Mass Mutual Center

  • This is the 7th of 10 meetings in the season series with the Thunderbirds (Hartford lead the series 5-1). The Wolf Pack will face Springfield three straight on the road before wrapping up the series at home on March 18th.
  • Entering the week, Springfield ranks fifth in the Atlantic Division. The Thunderbirds won two straight and are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
  • Panthers prospect Owen Tippett leads the Thunderbirds in points (40). He ranks 20th in the league for points. The forward collected 19 goals and 21 assists in 46 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, February 22nd vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 3rd of 6 meetings in the season series with the Penguins (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lead the series 2-0). The last three meetings will be in April, the last two weekends of the season.
  • Entering the week, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton ranks sixth in the Atlantic Division. The Penguins lost two straight and are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games.
  • Forward Andrew Agozzino leads the Penguins in points (33). Agozzino collected 14 goals and 19 assists in 37 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, February 23rd vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 3pm, Webster Bank Arena

  • This is the 7th of 12 meetings in the season series against the Sound Tigers (Hartford lead the series 5-1). The 8th meeting will be next Saturday in Bridgeport as well.
  • Entering the weekend, Bridgeport ranks last (8th) in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Sound Tigers are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.
  • Forward Kieffer Bellows continues to lead the Sound Tigers in points this season. The forward collected 16 goals and 8 assists for 24 points in 45 games.