Wolf Pack Weekly: Back from the break Pack face challenges after Rangers call-ups

The Wolf Pack are continuing to find their game since their COVID-19 pause stopped them in early December. Through their last five games, the club has struggled and are dealing with adversity.

Entering the final week of 2021, Hartford is 4-3-1-2 in their last ten games. There’s plenty of hockey left as the club has 49 games remaining. The question is will the group find their game they had before the pause?

Additional questions to keep in mind are future potential call ups and changes to COVID-19 protocols. Every team in the American Hockey League has the potential to have multiple changes to their roster considering the National Hockey League’s situation with COVID-19 and fulfilling rosters. The next two months will be a tough go all around for hockey.

Wold Pack Weekly: Roster Moves

The taxi squads are back in the NHL until the NHL All-Star break. NHL clubs will have the option to utilize this addition to the season. As a result, AHL clubs may have to bulk up their roster with additional reinforcement from their ECHL affiliates.

Rangers Taxi Squad

The following players were called up to the Rangers Taxi Squad on Tuesday:

  • Morgan Barron
  • Jonny Brodzinski
  • Tim Gettinger
  • Adam Huska
  • Zac Jones
  • Matthew Robertson

Keith Kinkaid is currently up as well (through recall).

Each call up was well deserved. Zac Jones was the top defenseman in Hartford and he earned the reward to be around the Rangers. As a result, the Wolf Pack had roster additions from their ECHL affiliate, the Jacksonville Icemen:

Recalled from loan:

  • Jake Elmer (F)
  • Francois Brassard (G)
  • Zach Berzolla (D)

Signed to PTO:

Brandon Fortunato (D)

Hartford, along with the rest of the teams in the AHL, were carved up by their parent club. From a Wolf Pack perspective, they are on solid ground in the standings. Each club will have new faces and the playing field is leveled.

The plus? The Jacksonville Icemen are in first in the ECHL. The Icemen compiled a record of 17-8-1-1 for 36 points (.667). Hopefully the magic from Jacksonville goes to Hartford to keep pace in the Atlantic Division.

Eye on the Pack

tarmo reunanen
Mar 15, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Tarmo Reunanen #51 of the New York Rangers skates in warm-ups prior to playing 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

Tarmo Reunanen Continues Solid Play

The 23 year old defenseman continues to have a well-rounded game on a nightly basis for the Wolf Pack. While Zac Jones is getting the attention, Reunanen is performing quietly steady. The Rangers prospect found his spark offensively beginning in late November and has carried it since. Reunanen has assists in the last five of eight games (seven assists). Defensively the prospect is defending well against opponents. He is not afraid to clog the passing lanes and block opportunities. He attempts to turn the play the other way if he sees an opening. Reunanen continues to show a high hockey IQ on the ice and in situations. He is also another delight on Hartford’s power play. Reunanen is second among Hartford defenseman for points (12).

Covid-19 Protocol Update

Per Arthur Staple, Braden Schneider was unable to be called up to New York’s taxi squad. His status is “unavailable”.

Hartford returns on Wednesday and he could be out of the lineup. If the defenseman is out, he could return on the weekend.

Off the Ice: Building Updates

The XL Center is anticipated to have another addition to the building prior to the 2022-23 season. A sports betting lounge will be constructed on the west end of the building behind sections 109-100.

The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) posted a rebid for the arena’s renovations. In addition to the sports betting addition, the approximate $100 million plan could be built in phases depending on land acquisition and the approval of funds from the Connecticut State Bond Commission.

The completed plan essentially expands the concourse level with the addition of premium amenities. The event level will feature expanded locker rooms for the University of Connecticut Athletics along with event level bunker suites and event level club.

The concourse level will have additional suites, lodge boxes, a food/beer hall, premium seating lounge, additional restrooms.

Stay tuned for further updates on the building as information comes in. For more information and renderings, please visit the CRDA’s Request for Proposals page.

One Timers

  • Anthony Greco has points in five straight (two goals, six assists). The veteran has points in the last six of seven games as well. Greco had a three point performance on 12/18 against Springfield and a two point day on 12/19 against Springfield.
  • Zac Jones returned to the lineup last Wednesday against Bridgeport. The prospect recorded two assists.
  • Tim Gettinger has points in three straight (two goals, two assists). The forward also has points in the last five of seven.
  • Lauri Pajuniemi has points in the last three of four games (three assists).
  • Ty Ronning has points in two straight (one goal, one assist).
  • Matthew Robertson has points in the last two of three (two assists).

Upcoming Games

Hartford has two games to close 2021 and one game to open up 2021.

Wednesday, December 29th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, Webster Bank Arena

  • This is the seventh of ten meetings in the season series. Hartford lead the series 4-1-0-1. Hartford dropped the previous meeting on December 22nd in the shootout, 6-5. The eighth meeting is on February 20th.
  • Entering the week, Bridgeport is 10-14-1-3 for 21 points (.429). That ranks the club seventh in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. Bridgeport is 5-4-0-1 in their last ten outings.
  • Chris Terry leads the Islanders in points (23). The veteran has nine goals and 14 assists in 25 games. Forward Otto Koivula is second on the team with 20 points (six gols, 14 assists) in 22 games.
  • Listen – Mixr (Bridgeport’s feed). Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, December 31st vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3pm, XL Center

  • This is the fourth of ten meetings in the season series. Hartford lead the series 2-0-1. Hartford won the first two match ups (4-3 SO win on 10/17, 2-1 OT win on 11/13) and dropped the previous meeting on November 19th (2-1 OT loss).
  • Entering the week, Providence is 11-7-3-1 for 26 points (.591). That ranks the club third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins are 6-3-1 in their last ten outings.
  • Steven Fogarty leads the team (that is active) in points (14). The veteran recorded five goals and nine assists in 19 games. Prospect Zach Senyshyn and experienced forward Jesper Froden are tied for second in points (13).
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, January 2nd vs Rochester Americans (Buffalo) at 3pm, XL Center

  • This is the first of four meetings in the season series. Both clubs did not meet in last season. The second meeting takes place in Rochester on January 7th. The third meeting returns to Hartford on February 12th while the last meeting is on April 16th.
  • Entering the week, Rochester is 15-8 for 30 points (.652). That ranks the club second in the North Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Americans are 7-3 in their last ten outings.
  • Veteran Michael Mersch leads the Americans in points (25). The forward recorded 14 goals and 11 assists in 23 games. Prospect Jack Quinn is second with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists).
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

NHL Rumors

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