Mixed results for Rangers prospects in Hartford thus far

ryan graves

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.

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  • I also heard that two of our collegiate goalie prospects — Tyler Wall and Adam Huska — are doing very well. Good to see.

  • Just have to take a cheap shot at Tanner eh, the guy works his tail off day in and day out, is a stand up guy, according to all accounts is an asset in the locker room, in the past has stood up for teammates when needed. How about you instead say something like… Tanner Glass is off to a good start and it is time for his teammates to play up to their billing.

    • Not a slam on Glass, but cold hard truth. You have to play him top line minutes to keep him fresh for a call up, but the line is not producing at an expected rate and so is nobody else.

      • Dear Dave – I am not even sure that deserves a reply, but for the record, I wonder how I got invited to his wedding then? How was I on the coaching staff of a team his brother played on and his dad coached, … I could go on … but point made? For the most part I like the blog, but as a former educator I do not understand why the focus is not on the positive aspects of the team, the players, and the coaches.

        • Seriously… as the writer of this blog post; facts are facts; however much you like glass as a person doesn’t matter – -anytime he (or similar Players) are your second highest scorer something is wrong. That’s not on him, that’s on the team…

  • This team will be fine but there is no room to call anyone up even if they excelled unless the Rangers move Girardi or Staal which is unlikely. We are deep enough up front with two extra forwards when Jooris comes off of IR

  • I’m glad to hear Graves has been pretty good. I can’t wait to see him in a Rangers jersey. I look forward to seeing that big young kid and his 103 mph slap shot.

  • Well written and thanks.

    not disputing the report, but I’m not at all worried about Skapskie.
    He has small sample size record but it demonstrates NHL ability.

    He played well in training camp/pre season.

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