While the Rangers have started the season on fire offensively, the news is a little more mixed down in the AHL where several Ranger prospects are getting acclimatised to the pro ranks.
The Wolfpack, as a whole, have started poorly and are rooted to the bottom of the Atlantic division with a 3-6-1 record, all the while letting in more goals than the Titanic took on water (44 at last count). The poor play generally has seen McKenzie Skapski demoted to the ECHL and Brandon Halverson brought up in his place.
Looking at the prospects that are in Hartford, the most promising performances have come from a pair of defensemen in Ryan Graves and John Gilmour who both have five points thus far. Indeed, Graves has really stood out as he’s thrown a ton of rubber on net, leading the ‘Pack in shots (35). While Marek Hrivik and Nicklas Jensen lead the team in points with 9 and 7 respectively neither players’ play thus far will have made the Rangers take much notice.
Boo Nieves has five points (a solitary goal) in ten games which is not significant but he has played solid hockey of late, and looks to be improving his two-way play – something not easy to do on such a defensively deficient team.
Perhaps the biggest disappointments thus far however have been Malte Stromwall (1 goal, 4 points) and Adam Tambellini (2+2). Stromwall, as an older first year player, and used to pro hockey from Sweden, and Tambellini – in his second year with the Pack – can reasonably be expected to be contributing more than they have thus far.
Robin Kovacs meanwhile has hardly registered on the radar so far and is a peripheral player for the Wolfpack ten games in, but as a younger player getting used to North America he certainly can’t be judged too harshly less than a month into his North American hockey career and still, as a teenager.
It’s in net where alarm bells are really ringing. Skapski has been poor and Magnus Hellberg has not been much better – both goalies have sub .900 save percentages and have given up soft goals. Both goalies have bloated GAA’s – but given the defense in front of them that’s not all on them. Thankfully for those Rangers fans following the team’s prospects, the ridiculously good season being had in Russia by Igor Shestyorkin means there’s still some exciting play coming from the goaltending ranks.
In general it’s been a real mixed bag for the Wolfpack thus far but there’s plenty of talent on the roster and it’s reasonable to expect the team to improve. With that said, when Tanner Glass is your second highest goalscorer (with 3) you have a problem.