Wolf Pack Weekly: A massive update on the Rangers prospects in the minors
Hartford collected four out of six points last week to gain confidence and momentum. The Wolf Pack nearly had a perfect weekend as Sunday’s game against Rochester was winnable. The Pack had a lead, then collapsed late in the third to lose in regulation. After all was said and done, the Pack maintained their positioning in the Atlantic Division for a record of 7-9-1-2 for 7th (Hershey is in 6th and has same amount of points but they have the tie breaker). In the Eastern Conference, Hartford is ranked 11th. Despite Sunday’s hiccup, the group found a spark and carried momentum throughout the week. This upcoming week will be difficult and has high stakes regarding positioning in the standings.
Hartford’s losses have not fully harmed the club yet. After losing the last eight of ten games, the Pack won two straight, followed by another regulation loss. Looking at the competitive division, Hartford is still in the race but is behind by a couple of points. For instance, the top four teams in each division make the post-season. The fourth place team is the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, which have 20 points. The Pack have 17 points while Hershey is in sixth (same amount of points) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is in fifth for 19 points. In addition, Springfield is in 3rd with 20 points. Bridgeport is in 2nd with 24 points. All these teams are in reach with Hartford if they go on a solid run of collecting points and winning division games. A few points separate the log jam of teams. Any winning or losing streak for a club can drastically change their positioning in the standings.
The first place Charlotte Checkers are unfortunately out of reach for Hartford. The Checkers have 27 points, the most out of any team in the American Hockey League. The Checkers are ten points ahead of Hartford. Unless there’s a sudden shift in momentum for either clubs, the Checkers are running away in the division.
Providence has crept up on Hartford despite a struggling start to the season. The Bruins are three points behind the Pack. Hartford has to ensure they can take care of business against Providence in the season series to help their cause and not allow the Bruins to get ahead of them in the standings.
There are a couple of roster moves to talk about that affects the Wolf Pack.
Vinni Lettieri Back
The first move was on Sunday morning prior to the game against Rochester. The Rangers announced prospect Vinni Lettieri was sent down to Hartford. Despite a strong training camp and preseason, the forward was unable to do much with New York in the regular season. The Rangers hope he can find his game once again in the American Hockey League. Last season with Hartford, the prospect performed well in both areas of the ice. He is also a strong face-off man. Once he finds his game, he will become a huge asset for the Wolf Pack.
Steven Fogarty Earns Call Up
The second move was announced on Sunday night after Hartford’s game against Rochester. Forward Steven Fogarty was called up as he earned a spot with the Rangers. The prospect has worked hard this season especially to get noticed by the brass. He has a great work ethic and was second on the team for points. Steven Fogarty was actually leading the group in points for majority of this season (7 goals, 7 assists for 14 points). This was a well earned call up for the center.
Then on Monday, we had a few more moves. One was expected while two were not.
Ty Ronning Demoted
Rangers prospect Ty Ronning was sent down to the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. Despite showing a strong flash to his game in prior season with Hartford on tryouts, his first full season with the Pack was the opposite. The forward struggled in earning points, generating chances, and in the defensive end. Another situation that has happened is his limited playing time. Ty Ronning played in eight out of 19 games. He was often scratched for other forwards to play. The prized forward needs a spark and he definitely needed playing time.
Rangers fans have to be patient on the development of Ty Ronning. I am confident that he will return later in the season with Hartford. The timing will be right after he finds his game and tears up the ECHL with Maine. He has potential and currently he is unable to work on his game while sitting in the press box. He needs to play a good amount of minutes. Maine will give him top line minutes. The situation reminds me of Sean Day. Both players struggled with limited playing time.
Shawn St. Amant Joins
Forward Shawn St. Amant joined Hartford with a call up from Maine on Monday. He started the season with the Wolf Pack after a strong showing in training camp and preseason with the club. As a result, he signed an AHL deal.
In seven games with Maine, the forward had four goals, three assists for seven points. He should be able to help contribute with Hartford.
Fellow Maine Mariner Joins Hartford
Twenty six year old Terrence Wallin joins Hartford through a PTO (professional tryout agreement). The forward signed an ECHL contract with Maine in the off-season. He as well had a good start in Maine, which prompted a call up to Hartford. In 13 games, he collected three goals, seven assists for ten points.
Dawson Leedahl Return to Hartford
Last Wednesday the Rangers prospect was called up to Hartford after spending time in Maine. Prior to the call up, he had a good start for Maine. In 12 outings, he recorded three goals, four assists for seven points.
Michael Lindqvist Goes Overseas
In an unusual move, young prospect Michael Lindqvist terminated his contract with the Rangers and went overseas to play once again. This move was unexpected as he had a good start to the season with the Wolf Pack. He had potential and he needed more development. In the 16 games played, he had three goals, four assists for seven points. He was not the greatest or the weakest. He was in the middle and definitely could have improved. Down the road could also had him called up to New York. Unfortunately, we will never know. I enjoyed his time in Hartford and I wish the best of luck to him.
Offense Heats Up
Last week had the offense wake up. Suddenly, players are having multiple point nights. Let’s take a look at the stats.
- Peter Holland is on a three game point streak for five points (1 goal, 4 assists). This bring his total points to 16 as he leads the Pack in points.
- Cole Schneider snapped a four game drought of no points. In the last two contests, he collected three points (2 goals, 1 assist).
- John Gilmour found his game! He was the main reason why Hartford won their game last Wednesday against Bridgeport as he looked like the all-star John Gilmour we loved. He found a spark and since then kept rolling along. Since then, the blue liner is on a point streak (5 games: 2 goals, 4 assists for 6 points). Keep it up buddy! We needed him to step up since he has the potential to do so.
- Tim Gettinger and Ville Meskanen continue to chip in periodically for Hartford. Both prospects have 11 points in 19 games. They both bring fantastic elements to the group. On top of that, they are also both rookies.
- Tim Gettinger uses his size effectively. From being in front of the net to getting the bounces, he does it all for offense.
- Ville Meskanen has a nice wrist shot which we have seen from time to time. In addition to his nice offensive instincts, he knows how to set up others.
- Cristoval Boo Nieves returns from a concussion and does well. In two games, the forward collected five points (2 goals, 3 assists). He had multiple opportunities to convert and he had good looks.
Goals, goals, and goals!
Let’s take a look at last weekend’s action.
The first clip I have is Gabriel Fontaine’s second goal of the year. Check out this beauty from the blue line.
The second clip is Peter Holland converting on the two on one opportunity. He has not scored much, and hopefully he will after Sunday.
The third clip feature John Gilmour’s third point of the game as he sets up the game winning goal in overtime for Bobby Butler.
Cristoval Boo Nieves crashes the net and good things happen. A look of one of his points during the point streak.
Last weekend, the University of Connecticut Men’s Hockey team played a weekend series with University of Massachusetts-Lowell Men’s Hockey team.
Both games featured a goaltending battle between two New York Rangers prospects. Adam Huska for UConn, and Tyler Wall for UMass-Lowell.
UMass Lowell swept the season series and Tyler wall won in both contests. Adam Huska played in both games and ended up with the losses.
Tyler Wall is now Hockey East’s player of the week.
Hartford finishes up their five game home-stand on Wednesday. After Wednesday, Hartford has back to back games with the Bridgeport. The Wolf Pack will be road heavy in December.
Wednesday, November 21st vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7pm, XL Center
- This is the fourth of ten meetings between the clubs. Hartford is 2-0-1 against the Bruins. The Pack have earned five out of six points in the season series.
- Providence is 8th in the Atlantic Division with a record of 6-8-2 for 17 points. The Bruins are 5-4-1 in their last ten games.
- The Pack are three points ahead of Providence in the standings.
Friday, November 23rd vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7pm, Webster Bank Arena
- This is the third of ten meetings against Bridgeport. The first meeting had Hartford losing 5-4 on October 27th. The second meeting was on November 14th at home as the Pack came back to win in overtime, 4-3.
- Bridgeport enters the week second in the division. The Sound Tigers have a record of 11-5-2 for 24 points.
- Bridgeport is on a hot streak entering the weekend. The Sound Tigers have won their last seven of ten games and also is on a 7-0-1 streak.
- This begins the home at home with Bridgeport for the weekend.
Saturday, November 24th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7:30pm, XL Center
- This is the fourth meeting between both clubs.
- The meeting also ends the back to back games with Bridgeport over the weekend.
- This weekend season series is pivotal as there are four points on the line with their rival. In addition, this could be a four point swing that favors or harms the Wolf Pack.