The Hartford Wolf Pack opened training camp over the weekend, with their first preseason game coming on October 1 against the Albany Devils. There are 30 players in camp at the moment, with more to come as the Rangers trim their roster:
Goal (2): Jeff Malcolm, Mackenzie Skapski
Defense (9): Nick Crawford, Troy Donnay, Sean Escobedo, Andrew Himelson, Dallas Jackson, Brandon Martell, Sam Noreau, Steve Spinell, Mikael Tam
Forwards (19): Tyler Brown, Mike Catenacci, Emerson Clark, Kyle Jean, Michael Kantor, Nick Latta, Paxton Leroux, Chris McCarthy, Pat Mullane, Chad Nehring, Logan Nelson, Richard Nejezchleb, Josh Nicholls, Shawn O’Donnell, Trevor Parkes, Michael St. Croix, Vinny Saponari, Justin Vaive, Andrew Yogan
Some of the names should sound familiar, as a good number of these guys were a part of the first round of cuts made by the Rangers last week. It’s worth noting that Troy Donnay is eligible to return to the OHL for an overage season, but it’s likely the Rangers would prefer he make the AHL club.
Penalty box, press box with injury, close enough.
The Rangers went on a low-risk spending spree this summer, bringing in veterans Matt Lombardi, Lee Stempniak, and Ryan Malone. Some questioned this initially –Stempniak not so much– as the Rangers have a lot of kids ready to take spots in the lineup. However, more competition is good. Competition breeds improvement.
But now, two of those veterans have seen injuries cut into training camp and preaseason games. First Malone went down last week with a hip flexor injury after a strong-ish (he fatigued at the end) performance in the preseason opener against the Devils. He missed out on practices, didn’t play Friday and won’t play today. Meanwhile, Lombardi just went down with a groin injury after an unimpressive game on Monday. He was slated to go tonight, but he’s been scratched last-minute.
Less than a week into the preseason, and two vets brought in on low-risk deals are on the shelf. What will that say about their long-term durability?
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Brandon Halverson continued his great start to the season, lifting the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL to a 3-2 win on Saturday night. Halverson made 35 saves in the contest on 37 shots after making 37 saves on 40 shots in his season debut. Keegan Iverson and Adam Tambellini are in action tonight, but I’m sick and may not last for the finish of those games.
- Brandon Halverson (Soo Greyhounds, W 3-2): 37 shots, 35 saves
- Keegan Iverson (Portland, L 5-1): 0 G, 0 A, 10 PIM, -3
- Tyler Nanne (Siuox Falls, OTL 2-1): 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM, Even
It’s that time of year again. As the start of the season approaches, it’s time for another year of BSB Fantasy Hockey. This time around, BSBer Puck Luck is going to be the commish. Click here to join the league directly. If the link doesn’t work, the ID is 65764 and the name of the league is BSB Fantasy.
Good luck to everyone that participates.
AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles
Another game, another strong showing for the kids. J.T. Miller pretty much assured himself a spot on the opening night roster with another strong game. Anthony Duclair looked unreal. Marek Hrivik had a strong game. Oscar Lindberg scored a goal. Cedrick Desjardins played really well in the second half of the game. Conor Allen and Dylan McIlrath, while not exactly stellar, managed to keep Jonathan Toews off the score board. I didn’t turn the game on until mid-second period, so the observations are based off that.
- Spoke with Kevin when I turned the game on, he said Anthony Duclair, at least offensively, looked like he belonged in the NHL. Great instincts, was able to skate with Rick Nash and Derick Brassard. What’s holding him back is his play away from the puck. Honestly, this kid is more hyped than Evgeny Grachev way back when. There’s a long way to go for the kid to develop, and there’s a reason why I brought up Grachev. Not saying Duclair will turn into Grachev, but despite all his skill, he still needs to make it.
- Oscar Lindberg’s goal was a softy, but he got open –which is incredibly important for a kid looking to make the team– and shot the puck through a screen. These are two fundamental aspects of hockey you expect to see from your fourth line, which is where Lindberg is penciled in at the NHL level.
- Ryan Haggerty was a bit invisible, at least from the point where I turned on the game. Remember, he was only kept with the NHL club last year as a negotiating tactic to get him to sign in NY.
- J.T. Miller looked engaged for a second game in a row. He was much more confident with the puck, especially on the powerplay. He also got to the front of the net for the Rangers third goal. It looks like he’s going to make this team.
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Several Rangers prospects returned to action tonight following Wednesday’s cuts. Brandon Halverson was the stand out, stopping 37 shots in Soo’s 7-3 win. Ryan Mantha, Adam Tambellini, and Keegan Iverson also returned to action. With prospects returning to action, I’ll do my best to keep the ATF’s coming on a nightly basis.
- Ryan Mantha (Niagra Ice Dogs, L 3-1): 0 G, 0 A, 5 PIM, -2
- Brandon Halverson (Soo Greyhounds, W 7-3): 40 shots, 37 saves
- Adam Tambellini (Calgary Hitmen, trailing 3-2 at time of posting): 1 G, 1 A, 2 PIM, Even
- Keegan Iverson – game ended too late
Photo Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Rangers are in Chicago tonight for their second preseason game of the season. They dropped Monday’s contest against the Devils in the final minute, then the rookies lost a scrimmage against the Devils rookies on Wednesday before the first round of cuts. Tonight will be a different lineup, with Anthony Duclair playing on a line with potential first liners (to open the season) Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.
The Rangers play a moderate 1-2-2 forecheck and a strong-side overload in the DZ (man-on-man when the puck is below the goal line). With a lead, AV will back the 1-2-2 forecheck up to the neutral zone, forcing turnovers while keeping five bodies back for defense. As for special teams, the Rangers run a 1-3-1/umbrella hybrid powerplay and a hybrid (diamond/wedge+1) penalty kill).
Joel Quenneville is one of the best coaches in the game. His Hawks play an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck, keeping the back forward and defensemen ready to jump on turnovers. In the defensive zone, the Hawks play a standard zone defense looking to defend you in layers based on puck location. On special teams, they run a 1-3-1 power play, and a wedge+1 penalty kill.
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The Rangers have announced their lineup for tonight, and the biggest item of notice is that Anthony Duclair is going to get time with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash. Ryan Haggerty, Marek Hrivik and Oscar Lindberg are also making their preseason debuts.
Chris Bourque-J.T. Miller-Mats Zuccarello
Nick Tarnasky-Dominic Moore-Ryan Haggerty
Marek Hrivik-Oscar Lindberg-Lee Stempniak
Anthony Duclair-Derick Brassard-Rick Nash
Ryan McDonagh-Dylan McIlrath
John MOore-Dan Girardi
Conor Allen-Kevin Klein
Henrik Lundqvist/Cedrick Desjardins
As rosters get trimmed, the kids vying for a roster spot are going to have to step up their game. We saw strong performances from the kids on Monday, so the kids playing tonight will need to at least match that performance.
While we all know that the Rangers success lives and dies with Henrik Lundqvist’s health and performance (as it should), there has always been an undercurrent of concern from the Rangers fan base about a lack of overall goaltending depth in the system. With Martin Biron retiring and Cam Talbot graduating to the NHL, the problem has become more pronounced, especially with Talbot likely to depart after this season in pursuit of more playing time.
Slats & Co. addressed this issue to an extent by drafting Brandon Halverson and Igor Shestyorkin this past June. As exciting as those two prospects are, Halverson will continue to ply his trade in the CHL for the foreseeable future while Shestyorkin will be firmly planted in the KHL. This creates a serious gap in viable options in Hartford in the event of injury. Read more »