A little over a month ago, the Hartford Wolf Pack s signed defenseman Henrik Tallinder to a PTO, as the Rangers were looking to fill holes on the blue line. The Tomas Kaberle experiment failed, and now the organization is moving on from Tallinder as well. The club released Tallinder from his PTO yesterday, and the Rangers will not offer him a contract.
Stop me if this sounds familiar: a heralded first-round pick impressed immediately in his first professional season, but struggled as a sophomore and spent much of that season in the American Hockey League. In his third year, the prospect looked like a lock for a full-time job out of training camp, but was sent back to Hartford after just a few games. But about a month later, the player was back in New York and the light bulb had finally clicked on – he was a major contributor from then on.
Indeed, Chris Kreider amazed us with five playoff goals in his first NHL action out of college, then spent much of 2012-2013 with the Wolf Pack. He spent six more games in Hartford at the start of last season before reaching Broadway for good.
J.T. Miller’s path has been very similar. The 2011 first-round pick began his pro career at a much younger age than Kreider, but he, too, impressed in 26 games with the Blueshirts in 2012-2013, then left fans a bit disappointed last year by failing to break out and split the season between the Rangers and Wolf Pack. Miller looked like the best forward at training camp in September, but was quickly demoted to Hartford after just three games in October. Miller returned to the Rangers on November 29th, and he’s posted three points in four games since then while playing primarily with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast before a stint in the top-six alongside Derek Stepan and Marty St. Louis on Monday.
Brandon Halverson (USA), Igor Shesterkin (RUS) and Pavel Buchnevich (RUS) were all invited to their respective 2015 World Junior Championships camps. Halverson, the Rangers 2nd round pick in 2014, will likely compete for a backup goalie role. Shesterkin (4th, 2014) will also (likely) be competing for the same spot for Russia. Buchnevich (3rd, 2013) is all but a lock to make the team.
With the Tomas Kaberle experiment over with, the Hartford Wolf Pack have brought in defenseman Henrik Tallinder on a PTO, per Bob McKenzie. Kaberle skated with the Rangers before being sent to Hartford to play in some games, and it looks like the Rangers are skipping that first part with Tallinder. Tallinder played in the NHL last season, putting up 2-6-8 with the Sabres (keep in mind, it was Buffalo).
His possession numbers are up and down, so it’s hard to see where he’d be an improvement at the NHL level.
Just a quick note: 2012 1st round pick Brady Skjei, currently on the top defense pairing at Minnesota, is week-to-week following a lower body injury. Skjei had put up 1-2-3 in 6 games with the top-ranked Golden Gophers prior to the injury.
Skeji is likely to turn pro following this season with Minnesota.
When the Rangers get healthy in a couple of weeks their line-up will be set – barring a fresh injury or a dramatic loss of form. The Rangers will be dressing a veteran heavy line-up even though several regulars are still in the young category.
Meanwhile down in the AHL, the Hartford WolfPack has started the season strongly (7-2-1 as of Wednesday) and are being led offensively by a handful of prospects. Among others, Oscar Lindberg, Ryan Haggerty, Danny Kristo, J.T. Miller, Mat Bodie and Jesper Fast are all having productive seasons offensively. Including Haggerty (in his rookie pro season but still with six points in ten games) all of the above are playing consistent hockey and are close to a point per game.
This kind of collective form offers an organisation exactly the kind of problems they want. On the one hand the Rangers don’t have any space for prospects in New York – certainly not in positions where enough ice time is available – but on the other hand they want a steady stream of players knocking on the door putting pressure on the established core. However, a problem starting to develop in the Rangers organization is that several prospects may see their paths blocked in both the short and long term.
The Hartford Wolf Pack made two roster moves today, recalling goalie MacKenzie Skapski from the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warrios, and assigning
defenseman forward Chris McCarthy to the ECHL. Skapski, a first year pro out of the WHL, played one game with Greenville, posting a .906 SV% and 3.17 GAA. McCarthy , also a first year pro out of UVM, did not play in any of the first four games for the Pack.
Update: Hartford has released forward Richard Nejezchleb from his PTO. He will rejoin the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL for his over-age season.
Mat Bodie notched the game winner for the Hartford Wolf Pack with 18 seconds remaining in the third, propelling the Pack to a 5-4 win over Worcester. Conor Allen, Ryan Bourque, Oscar Lindberg, and Danny Kristo –so basically 95% of the big prospect names– also scored for the Pack, who remain undefeated in regulation.
Below are the lines from the rest of the kids in action. Note that WHL games are late, and don’t finish when these post. The line for Keegan Iverson is through a point in the game.
- Wolf Pack (W 5-4):
- Jesper Fast: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, -1
- J.T. Miller: 0 G, 1 A, 2 PIM, -1
- Mat Bodie: 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, +1
- Conor Allen: 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Sam Noreau: 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM, Even
- Dylan McIlrath: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, -1
- Ryan Bourque: 1 G, 0 A, 4 PIM, -1
- Marek Hrivik: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, -1
- Oscar Lindberg: 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, +1
- Danny Kristo: 1 G, 2 A, 0 PIM, +2
- Ryan Haggerty: 0 G, 2 A, 0 PIM, +1
- Pavel Buchnevich (Severstal, W 2-1): 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Keegan Iverson (Portland Winterhawks Up 2-1 in 2nd): 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
Almost every prospect was in action over the weekend. The Hartford Wolf Pack went 1-0-1 to stay unbeaten in regulation to start the season. The Pack beat Portland 2-1 and lost in overtime to Hersey 1-0. The Pack have allowed five goals over three games to start the season, but have scored just six. The defense appears to be improved from last year, and the offense should come around. See below for the full stat lines from the weekend.
In the NCAA ranks, Steven Fogarty racked up five points in two games, including a four point performance as he captained Notre Dame to a combined 10-4 pair of victories.
- Hartford Wolf Pack (W 2-1, OTL 1-0):
- Jesper Fast: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- J.T. Miller: 1 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Mat Bodie: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Conor Allen: 0 G, 0 A, 2 PIM, Even
- Sam Noreau: 0 G, 0 A, 5 PIM, Even
- Dylan McIlrath: 0 G, 0 A, 13 PIM, Even
- Ryan Bourque: 0 G, 0 A, 4 PIM, Even
- Marek Hrivik: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Oscar Lindberg: 0 G, 1 A, 0 PIM, -1
- Danny Kristo: 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
- Ryan Haggerty: 1 G, 0 A, 2 PIM, Even
Brandon Halverson was the only prospect in action last night, as Ryan Mantha was scratched for Niagra. Halverson and the 7-0-0 Soo Greyhounds made it 8-0-0 as they squeaked by North Bay by a score of 5-4. Halverson stopped 29 of 33 shots.
- Brandon Halverson (Soo Greyhounds, W 5-4): 33 shots, 29 saves