Brooks: JD will revamp the Hartford situation

If we needed a sign that John Davidson was going to be a good President of Hockey Operations, it came yesterday. Per Larry Brooks, who I have to admit has been killing it with the content all season, JD’s first order of business is to get that mess in Hartford fixed.

The Wolf Pack have been a train wreck for close to a decade now, with nepotism, poor management, and poor oversight damaging prospect growth and team success. We’ve covered this here numerous times, that a good Hartford team is critical to long term success, even more so now that the Rangers are in a rebuild and some of their more important prospects are now expected to play some time in Hartford.

Lias Andersson is the big name that has been impacted by this mess, but with Yegor Rykov, Igor Shestyorkin, Tarmo Reunanen, Vitali Kravtsov, and Kaapo Kakko either expected to spend time there or might spend a few games there, the ability to keep them happy is critical. The head coach in Hartford is going to play a critical, if not the most important, role in this rebuild and how successful it will be.

Most of the players to come out of Hartford recently were going to come out regardless. The talent was always there and it wasn’t a matter of it, but when. We may be able to say the same for some of these guys coming in, but turning some question marks like Ryan Lindgren into quality depth players is going to be critical to keeping costs down.

One other aspect that JD brought up is the need for development coaches not just in Hartford, but abroad in Europe and Russia. JD was very quick to say this would be a liaison role and would be with the permission of the Euro clubs, but it gives the Rangers more hands on approaches to their overseas prospects. That’s going to be key to keeping the revolving door of prospects in depth roles.

The Rangers, under JD, are going to move towards a nurturing environment for their prospects, giving them support from when they are drafted to if/when they are signed to their entry level deals. Given how many players have out-clauses to various Euro leagues, this is also a critical piece of development.

The Rangers are finally taking notice that their prospects need to be developed before they hit the big club. This is a huge step in the right direction, and one that will likely fly under the radar for most fans. But make no mistake, this could be the most important step in the rebuild process.

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    • I don’t see how how you fire Ruff and spare Quinn. Maybe I am wrong, but i can’t believe any GM would bring back an assistant coach that the coach did not want to keep. Last year I understand. Give the inexperienced coach an old NHL hand. But with a year under his belt, you let Quinn pick his staff. And if Quinn is happy with Ruff, how do you separate Quinn and Ruff.

      • I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that the plan was to move Ruff up to the sky box, but I can’t for the life of me remember where … still his hiring always struck me as a bit of nepotism, not that he wasn’t qualified or anything but we’ve all noted his ways are a bit out of touch with the new NHL.

      • Asst coaches get fired all the time without the coach being fired. The asst handles specific areas of the team.

        It can happen very easily.

    • The sooner the better regarding Clark and Ruff pal!

      Clark is more responsible then anyone for Hartford being a shit hole

  • It was my feeling when he got hired that The Pack situation would be high on JD’s agenda if not job #1. With all the young talent we are acquiring, the Wolfpack will serve not only as a teaching platform, but an environment where the kids can grow together. Together being the operative word. Hartford will allow them make alliances, stick up for one another. I believe the culture developed in Hartford is very important to the future of making the Rangers not only a winning team but a damn hard team to play against.

  • If all JD did was make HWP an AHL power, I’d say he did a good job. That has been a black eye for the Rangers far too long.

  • Well it’s about time, and under JD, rest assured that the job will be done right!

    JD has also spoken of putting scouts, and other personnel in Europe, encamped with teams to follow the progress of our draftees, what a novel concept. This guy is thinking out of the box, and we should see results PDQ!!!!!!!!

    • Walt, hiring a European assistant coach or coach is thinking a bit out of the box, providing your prospects more guidance, a winning/demanding culture and a better quality of life/play is just common sense (and I know, common sense is uncommon nowadays).

  • This is a long overdue DOH — I mean a positive environment in Hartford with a good coach whose main focus is development, following and being more involved with draft choices both here in NA and in Europe …. what a concept? Who would have thunk it? This is so basic … now I usually defend management (Clark, JG, etc.) but in this case they surely dropped the ball biggly!

    Go JD go …

  • Hartford isn’t a train wreck, it’s a train of rail cars full of TNT crashing into a nuclear power plant.

    • JD talks about bringing in veteran leadership to help the kids, but HWP has dealt their last two captains and the team started winning after they dealt Schneider.

      They have home grown leadership right now and don’t have room for a veteran on the blue line unless the qualify Bigras(which I doubt)

      Now building the minor league roster so they have Hartford & Maine stocked with a mix of NHL & AHL contracts and both groups are getting skills tutelage & goalie coaching.

      Drop rookies (who need it) in Maine for year 1 to get them to the standard the team demands, then move them up.

      I really wish MSG would figure out how to get Spectacor(or whatever they’re called now) out of Hartford in anything beyond facility management.

      • Correction: In January, the Wolfpack were 18-17-4 when they traded Cole Schneider. They lost nine of the first ten games after the trade. Change started winning to collapsed in your comment.

  • This is great news. I hope they bring some strong coaches experience in college and/or a national U18 program. I think, even with the log jam, McIlrath would be great for Hartford. He’s a hard worker and character guy who’s been great in the AHL and a sold 7/8 guy if the big club has injuries or rookies collapse under pressure.

    There have been some good depth/fringe NHL/journeymen emerging in the playoffs–looking for one or two of these fellows to be leaders in Hartford would be good too. I imagine there are some former pro players in Europe who might come over.

    The nice thing for these potential Hartford leaders is the quid pro quo potential to get a decent job in the organization after playing.

    I’m interested in what will happen in the Paris of New England. Should be an interesting season for Hartford.

    I really want Gettinger to develop in to a quality bottom six guy–along with a few others. Let’s go Pack!

    • As to your comment about McIlrath. He’s worn a letter for the Grand Rapids Griffins and been nothing but a tremendous influence on that team.

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