Category Archives: World Junior Championships

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: FEB. 6 – FEB. 12

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: FEB. 6 – FEB. 12

BY: The New York Rangers

 

1) Ryan Gropp, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) – Gropp posted a multi-point game in all four games last week, registering 13 points (seven goals, six assists) and a plus-10 rating in the four contests. Gropp recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning goal, on Feb. 7 at Victoria, and he concluded the week by registering four points (two goals, two assists) on Feb. 11 vs. Portland.

The Rangers’ second-round pick (41st overall) extended his point streak to a WHL career-high 12 games, and he has tallied 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) and posted a plus-20 rating over the span. He has recorded a goal in each of the last six contests, registering nine goals over the span. In addition, Gropp has recorded a point in 17 of the last 18 contests, registering 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) and a plus-27 rating in those 18 games. During the 18-game stretch, Gropp has posted a plus-one rating or better in 16 different contests. Gropp leads Seattle in goals (22) and points (56), and he ranks second in assists (34) this season.

2) Igor Shesterkin, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) – Shesterkin represented Russia at the 2017 Sweden Hockey Games last week, a four-nation tournament that includes teams from the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, and Russia. The Rangers’ fourth round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft made 23 saves on 24 shots while helping Russia defeat Finland, 2-1, on Feb. 9, and he was selected as the best goaltender in the tournament.

3) Sean Day, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – Day registered two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-four rating in three games during the week. The Rangers’ third round pick (81st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has recorded three points (two goals, one assist) and a plus-eight rating over the last six contests. Day has tallied 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) and has posted a plus-18 rating in 49 OHL games this season with Windsor and Mississauga. He has established an OHL career-high in goals this season, and he is tied for third among OHL defensemen in goals in 2016-17.

  • Adam Tambellini registered his first career AHL hat trick on Feb. 10 at Springfield, recording all three of the Wolf Pack’s goals in a 3-2 win. The Rangers’ third round pick (65th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has notched five points (four goals, one assist) in the last five games and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the last 12 contests. Tambellini is tied for second on the Wolf Pack in points (28) and is tied for third on the team in goals (11) this season. 
  • Nicklas Jensen recorded a point in each of Hartford’s two games last week (one goal, one assist), and he added to his AHL career-high in goals by tallying his 21st of the season on Feb. 11 at Hershey. Jensen has recorded a point in 21 of his last 25 games in the AHL, registering 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) over the span. He is tied for fourth in the AHL in goals this season, and he leads the Wolf Pack in goals and points (36) in 2016-17. 
  • Brandon Halverson stopped 32 of 34 shots he faced and earned a win on Feb. 10 at Springfield. The Rangers’ second-round pick (59th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has earned a win in three of his last four appearances, and he has made at least 30 saves in two of those four contests. 
  • John Gilmour tallied an assist on Feb. 11 at Hershey. He has notched five assists/points in the last four games and eight assists/points in the last 13 games.

 

  • Gabriel Fontaine, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – Fontaine notched an assist on Feb. 9 at Gatineau. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has tallied a point in six of the last eight games (one goal, five assists), as well as 12 of the last 15 games (10 goals, eight assists). Fontaine has registered 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) and a plus-16 rating in 46 QMJHL games this season (he recorded 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 points in 63 QMJHL contests in 2015-16).
  • Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – Ronning registered a goal and posted a plus-one rating on Feb. 8 at Prince George. The Rangers’ seventh round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has tallied a point in 11 of the last 20 games, recording 15 points (10 goals, five assists) over the span. He leads the Giants in goals (21) and points (43), and ranks third in assists (22) this season.
  • Tyler Wall, G, UMass Lowell River Hawks (NCAA) – Wall earned a win in both of his appearances/starts last week, posting a 2.00 GAA and a .902 SV% in the two contests. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft extended his winning streak to four games, and he has allowed two goals or fewer in three of the four appearances. Wall has posted an 18-8-1 record, along with a 2.20 GAA, a .914 SV%, and 1 SO in 27 appearances this season.
  • Sergey Zborovskiy, D, Regina Pats (WHL) – Zborovskiy tallied an assist and posted a plus-two rating on Feb. 10 at Edmonton. The Rangers’ third round pick (79th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft leads the WHL in plus/minus rating this season (plus-60). Zborovskiy has registered 29 assists and 35 points in 2016-17, both of which are WHL career-highs.

“I think I’ve become more of a reliable player defensively and more of a 200-foot guy. I think I’ve really grown a lot in that area this season, especially on the penalty kill. I’ve been doing that quite a bit. Just being good in my own zone and not cheating for offense and things like that.”Ryan Gropp

“He’s a quiet guy that goes about his business by himself, but right now he’s leading by example. When you see a guy like that … that’s definitely leading by example.”Seattle Thunderbirds Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk on Ryan Gropp

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: JAN. 30 – FEB. 5

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: JAN. 30 – FEB. 5

  1. Ryan Gropp, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) – Gropp tallied a point in all three games last week (two goals, one assist). The Rangers’ second-round pick (41st overall) extended his assist/point streak to eight games, and he has tallied 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and posted a plus-10 rating over the span. In addition, Gropp has recorded a point in 13 of the last 14 contests, registering 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) and a plus-17 rating in those 14 games. Gropp ranks second on Seattle in assists (28) and points (43) and ranks fifth on the team in goals (15) this season.
  2. Gabriel Fontaine, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – Fontaine registered a point in two of three games he played last week (one goal, one assist), including the game-winning goal on Feb. 3 at Baie-Comeau. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has tallied a point in five of the last six games (one goal, four assists), as well as 11 of the last 13 games (10 goals, seven assists). Fontaine has registered 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) and a plus-18 rating in 44 QMJHL games this season (he recorded 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 points in 63 QMJHL contests in 2015-16).
  3. Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – Ronning registered his 20th goal of the season on Feb. 3 vs. Calgary. The Rangers’ seventh round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has recorded at least 20 goals in each of the last two seasons (he established a WHL career-high with 31 goals in 2015-16). Ronning has tallied a point in 10 of the last 16 games, recording 14 points (nine goals, five assists) over the span. He leads the Giants in goals (20), is tied for the team lead in points (42), and is tied for second in assists (22) this season.

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NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: JAN. 9 – JAN. 15

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: JAN. 9 – JAN. 15

  1. Gabriel Fontaine, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – Fontaine registered three goals/points in two games last week. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft extended his goal/point streak to four games, and he has tallied eight points (six goals, two assists) over the span. Fontaine has registered 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) and a plus-15 rating in 35 games this season.
  2. Igor Shesterkin, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) – Shesterkin posted a 3-0-0 record, along with a 1.95 GAA and a .923 SV% in three appearances during the week. The Rangers’ fourth round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 29-3-1 record, along with a 1.55 GAA, a .941 SV%, and 8 SO in 35 appearances in the KHL this season. Shesterkin ranks third in the KHL in SV% and ranks fourth in the league in GAA this season.
  3. Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – Ronning registered a goal/point in each of Vancouver’s two games last week, tallying three points (two goals, one assist) over the span. The Rangers’ seventh round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has notched a point in seven of the last eight games, recording 10 points (six goals, four assists) during the stretch. Ronning ranks second on Vancouver in goals (18) and points (38), and he is tied for second in assists (20) this season.

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CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK HEAD TO SYRACUSE TO CRUNCH BEFORE XMAS

PACK HEAD TO SYRACUSE TO CRUNCH BEFORE XMAS

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

CROMWELL, CT – The chill of winter that permeates the air declares the holidays and the heart of the hockey season.

Before departing for the annual holiday break to spend time with family and loved ones, the Pack still have one more game to play on the road.

The Wolf Pack record stands at 9-14-3-1 (22 points) which has them last in the Atlantic Division, next to last in the conference, and 29th out of 30 teams in the AHL. The Pack is in Syracuse to battle the Crunch who, at 16-7-0-3 (35 points), are first in the North Division, second in the conference and third overall in the AHL. They will cross sticks at 7:00 pm Wednesday night at the War Memorial, their second meeting in over a week.

“It was a good weekend with good back-to-back games, but a far cry from where we want to be. They’re not that much different than Hershey. They have pretty good depth as far as skill players, and like Hershey, we won’t have the benefit of the last line change, so that will be a test. We just have to keep playing like we have been,” Pack head coach, Ken Gernander said. “It was very good that we got more scoring than we have on a night-by-night basis. I was happy with our weekend overall we did a lot of good things and even after looking at the video (after the game), there was a lot of positive reinforcement in our efforts.”  Continue reading

CANTLON: (FRI) UCONN WIN IN FINAL 2016 HOME GAME

 VS. 

BY: Gerry Canton, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT On the strength of two Tage Thompson goals and 22 saves from Adam Huska, the UConn Huskies defeated the UMASS-Amherst Minuteman 3-1 at the XL Center Friday night before a crowd of just 3,949.

UConn’s record improves to 6-6-6 overall (4-3-3-2 HEA) while UMASS-Amherst  drops to 4-9-2 overall (2-7-1 HEA).

The Huskies will play next in Prescott Valley, Arizona as they take part in the Sun Devil Classic on December 30th against the St. Cloud St. Huskies. The Huskies return home on January 7th where they will go head-to-head with Yale University in their first meeting ever between the two programs.

“We talked about finishing the first half on a high note and play a solid 60 minutes. We played well for 40 and change,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We played well in the first and second, but in the third (period) we took some penalties. I’m proud of the guys that we held on and found a way to win.” Continue reading

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: NOV. 28 – DEC. 4

prospect-reportNEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: NOV. 28 – DEC. 4Three Stars of the week1) Sergey Zborovskiy, D, Regina Pats (WHL) – Zborovskiy established single-game WHL career-highs with two goals, five assists, seven points, and a plus-eight rating on Dec. 3 vs. Prince Albert. He also recorded two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-one rating on Dec. 4 at Swift Current to finish the week with nine points (three goals, six assists) and a plus-nine rating in two contests. The Rangers’ third round pick (79th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has tallied a point in 18 of the 22 WHL games he has played in 2016-17 (six goals, 19 assists), and he has posted a plus-two rating or better in 13 of the 22 contests.

Zborovskiy has already established a WHL career-high in assists and has tied his WHL career-high in points (25) through 22 games this season. He leads the WHL in plus/minus rating this season (plus-38), and he ranks third among WHL defensemen in points per game (1.14). In addition, he is tied for ninth among WHL defensemen in goals, is tied for 10th among WHL defensemen in points, is tied for 11th among WHL defensemen in assists in 2016-17. Continue reading

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: OCT. 17 – OCT. 23

Prospect Report

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: OCT. 17 – OCT. 23

BY: The New York Rangers

Three Stars of the week

1) Brad Morrison, C, Prince George Cougars (WHL) – Morrison notched a point in both of Prince George’s games last week, registering three points (two goals, one assist). He tallied an assist on Oct. 18 vs. Swift Current and recorded two goals, including the game-winning goal, on Oct. 22 vs. Saskatoon.

The Rangers’ fourth round pick (113th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft extended his point streak to three games (two goals, three assists over the span), and he has registered a point in 10 of 13 games this season. Morrison has recorded 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 13 games this season. He is tied for fourth in the WHL in points, is tied for fifth in the league in game-winning goals (three), and is tied for seventh in the league in assists in 2016-17.

2) Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – Ronning registered a point in each of Vancouver’s three games last week, tallying three points (one goal, two assists). The Rangers’ seventh round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft extended his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists over the span), and he has tallied a point in 10 of 12 WHL games this season. Ronning is tied for the team lead in assists (seven), is tied for second on the Giants in points (12) and plus/minus rating (plus-six), and ranks fourth in goals (five) this season.

3) Sergey Zborovskiy, D, Regina Pats (WHL) – Zborovskiy tallied an assist in each of the two games he played last week and posted a plus-five rating over the two contests. The Rangers’ third round pick (79th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has registered a point in eight of the nine games he has played this season (one goal, seven assists) and has posted a plus-17 rating. Zborovskiy ranks second in the WHL in plus/minus rating in 2016-17.

Emerging From The Pack

  • Marek Hrivik registered a point in both of Hartford’s games last weekend, recording one goal and one assist. Hrivik has tallied a point in each of Hartford’s first four games in 2016-17, recording four points (two goals, two assists). He leads the Wolf Pack in points, and he is tied for the team lead in goals, assists, and plus/minus rating (plus-three) thus far this season. 
  • Nicklas Jensen tallied the game-winning goal in overtime on Oct. 22 at Lehigh Valley. Jensen has recorded a point in three of Hartford’s first four games this season, registering three points (two goals, one assist). 
  • John Gilmour registered a goal in the Wolf Pack’s win against Lehigh Valley on Oct. 22. Gilmour leads Hartford defensemen in goals (two) and points (three) in 2016-17, and he is also tied for first on the team in goals thus far this season.

Quick Hits

  • Daniel Bernhardt, RW, VIK Västerås HK (Allsvenskan) – Bernhardt registered his first goal/point with VIK Västerås HK while skating in his second game with the team on Oct. 21 against Södertälje SK.
  • Sean Day, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – After being traded to Windsor by Mississauga last week, Day registered a goal and was selected as the game’s First Star in his debut with the Spitfires on Oct. 20 vs. Kingston. The Rangers’ third round pick (81st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft tallied a point in five consecutive games in which he played, registering six points (four goals, two assists) in those contests.
  • Gabriel Fontaine, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – Fontaine recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in three games last week. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft tallied a point in each of his first four QMJHL games this season (four goals, two assists). Fontaine notched two assists, including one on the game-winning goal, and posted a plus-two rating on Oct. 21 at Halifax.
  • Tim Gettinger, LW, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) – Gettinger tallied two points (one goal, one assist), tied for the game-high with five shots on goal, and was selected as the game’s Second Star in the Greyhounds’ 4-3 win against Ottawa on Oct. 22. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick (141st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in 11 games with the Greyhounds this season, including three points (two goals, one assist) in the last four contests.
  • Brandon Halverson, G, Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL) – Halverson earned his first career ECHL/professional win/shutout on Oct. 19 at Norfolk, stopping all 27 shots he faced. In three appearances with the Swamp Rabbits this season, the Rangers’ second-round pick (59th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 2-1-0 record, along with a 1.97 GAA, a .929 SV%, and 1 SO.
  • Tyler Wall, G, UMass-Lowell (NCAA) – Wall earned his third consecutive win on Oct. 21 vs. St. Lawrence. In five games this season, the Rangers’ sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 3-1-1 record, along with a 1.91 GAA, a .927 SV%, and 1 SO.

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“He is a big, powerful, smooth-skating defenseman who can cover the ice at an elite pace and play in all situations. He is just scratching the surface of his offensive and defensive skill set.” – Gordie Clark, Rangers Director of Player Personnel, on Sean Day 

“The object is to not spend time in your end and this guy’s a puck mover, a big, strong skater and he’s going to fit nicely into our top four (defensemen). … He’s a talent too good to pass on even if he’s not yet reached his true potential and one that could be a difference maker for a team challenging for a Memorial Cup title.” – Warren Rychel, Windsor Spitfires General Manager, on Sean Day (Credit: Windsor Star)

CANTLON’S CORNER: HOCKEY SEASON IS ALMOST UPON US

gerry-150x130BY: Gerard Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTTraining camps have opened across North America and that means there are still some last minute signings and movement as the 2016-2017 season prepares to get underway.

ON THE MOVE

Right-wing on last season’s Hartford Wolf Pack roster, Shawn O’Donnell, has signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). O’Donnell, who made the Wolf Pack as a walk-on three years ago, was a healthy scratch for more than half last season. He will be in the Milwaukee Admiral’s training camp.

Luke Adam, now a six-year pro, is at the Calgary Flames’ training camp on a PTO try-out deal. Matt Lindblad has retired. Lindblad had a back injury and the surgery to repair it caused him to miss most of this past season. He cut short his comeback after just eight games. Lindblad is now a pro scout for the Boston Bruins after just three seasons of pro hockey.

17 players from last season’s Wolf Pack roster who played at least ten or more games (two others didn’t) have signed elsewhere for this season.

One-time Bridgeport Sound Tiger Ryan Strome has signed a two-year contract extension with the New York Islanders with a payout of $2 million this year and $3 million next year.

On September 16th, former New Haven Senator John Ferguson Jr. was named the GM for the Providence Bruins. Ferguson has handled those duties for two other AHL franchises in his career, the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Worcester Sharks. He also is the Director of Player Development for the parent Boston Bruins where he handles their pro and amateur scouting.

CRABB RETIRES

Former Wolf Pack Joey Crabb has hung up his skates. The native Alaskan becomes the 67th former player to make the move to the coaching ranks. He will be a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA) this coming season.

Crabb’s tenure could be a short one. The Alaska state legislature is facing a serious economic downturn in the nation’s 49th state. It’s Board of Regents will decide in November, as a part of their overall budget review, whether one or both of it’s state college varsity programs at Anchorage and its conference rival, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, will get the axe.

He could become the school’s second full-time assistant coach as Josh Ciocco, the team’s assistant the last four years, left last week for a job at Brown University.

Crabb is the fifth ex-Hartford player this off-season to retire and move into coaching. The others are Chris McKelvie, who joins his twin brother Zach at Army (AHC), Jason LaBarbera, Calgary (WHL), Manny Malhotra, Vancouver (NHL) and Jeff Woywitka, Sherwood Park (AJHL).

MORE COLLEGE PLAYERS SIGN PRO DEALS

Another four college players have signed pro deals starting with University of Vermont grad Alexx Privitera who signed with the Manchester Monarchs,(ECHL). Dennis Kravchenko moves from UMASS-Amherst (HE) and signed with Calgary/Stockton (AHL). The Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) picked up Ryan Keller (Michigan State, Big 10) and Jarrett Fennell (Northeastern HE).

The signings of Privitera, Kravchenko, Keller and Fennell raises the number of players who have inked North American pro hockey deals after the collegiate regular season ended in March to 206.

Phil Esposito Jr. of East Haven and a former New Haven Knight (UHL) who stepped down as head coach of Danbury Titans (FHL), has signed to become the head coach of the expansion Watertown (NY) Wolves (FHL).

Former Wolf Pack/CT Whale Jared Nightingale signs for another year to be the captain of Toledo Walleye (ECHL). When he hangs up the blades, he likely to become an assistant coach somewhere.

Dean Yakura, who played in Danbury last season, has signed a one-year deal with Manchester (ECHL). Joining him in the Queen City is former Gunnery Prep player Craig Wyszomirski.

Drew MacKenzie (New Canaan/Taft Prep) has switched from Dornbirner EC (Austria-AEHL) to EC Kassel (Germany DEL-2) this year.

Pat Mullane (Wallingford/Avon Old Farms) moves from Assat Pori (Finland-FEL) to HC Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic-CEL) this year.

Tomas Kaberle, who played two games for the Wolf Pack in 2014-15, announced his retirement after playing last year in his native Czech Republic for HC Brno Comets. He will be living in Toronto where he will get involved in coaching somewhere down the line.

FORMER WHALER PASSES AWAY

Our prayers and thoughts are extended to the family of one-time Hartford Whaler, Richie Dunn, who passed away suddenly at age 59 in the Buffalo area late this week.

Dunn played 76 games with the Whalers from 1983-1985 covering a season-and-a-half. He played a total of 483 NHL games mostly with the Buffalo Sabres and one season in Calgary with the Flames.

Dunn had a stellar AHL career with the Rochester Americans and is an inductee in the American’s Hall of Fame. He was named an AHL first-team All-Star twice and was on the second team once. He won a Calder Cup title with the Americans in 1986-’87 playing a majority of his 428 AHL games there. He won the best defenseman award (Eddie Shore Trophy) with the Binghamton Whalers in 1984-85 and played two seasons with the Hershey Bears.

A Boston-born player played Canadian junior hockey in the OHL in the mid-1970’s for Kingston and Windsor a rarity in that era as few Americans dared to head North and play there.

ANOTHER LEGEND PASSES AWAY

The sport of US hockey lost a legend, Walter Bush. He was a pioneer and it’s not an understatement to call him a true hockey lion. Bush was 86 and just three days shy of his 87th birthday.

His name is all over the US blueprint for the development of the game in the US from the gold medal winning Squaw Valley team in 1960 to the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Bush worked hard to promote women’s hockey to become an Olympic sport in the mid-1990’s. Bush helped craft a US model for hockey development similar to what had been done in Canada. His efforts were instrumental in the growth of youth hockey and helped lead the junior national team in becoming a force and able to compete internationally. He helped start the Minnesota North Stars (nee Dallas Stars) and owned a portion of the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades.

He served with US hockey and its antecedent the AHA  (American Hockey Association) since 1959 and served on the Olympic and IIHF boards as well.

TRAVERSE CITY TOURNEY WRAPUP

It was the Jimmy Vesey show in Michigan.

Vesey registered five goals and two assists for seven points in the tournament. Vesey led the tournament in goals (five) and shots on goal (20), and he tied for first among all skaters in the tournament in points (seven).

Vesey’s five goals were tied for the most any player has registered in one year during the Traverse City Tournament since 2007. Vesey’s seven points were tied for the most any Ranger has posted in one year in the Traverse City Tournament. He notched a point in each of the tournament’s four games. Also, he posted a multi-point game in each of the final three contests, including a multi-goal game in each of the final two contests.

Vesey recorded the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout win over the Dallas Stars on September 17, and he tallied the game-winning goal in the final minute of the Rangers 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on September 19.

It’s a safe bet that Vesey won’t be in the Pack’s opening night lineup against St. John’s.

Malte Stromwall tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two), points (three), and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. Stromwall, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on April 17, 2016, registered two goals in the Rangers’ 5-4 win against the Stars on September 17.

Robin Kovacs, who was Stromwall’s linemate in Sweden last season, was tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two) and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. The 19-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, tallied a goal in each of the Rangers first two games of the tournament.

Cristoval Nieves tied for second on the Rangers in assists (two) and points (three) in the Traverse City Tournament. Nieves, who served as the Rangers’ captain in the tournament, notched the game-tying goal with less than one minute remaining in regulation to help the Rangers defeat the Stars on September 17, and he tallied an assist on both of New York’s goals in the team’s 2-1 win against Minnesota on September 19.

John Gilmour led the Rangers – and tied for fifth among all skaters in the tournament – in assists (three), and he tied for second on the team in points (three). Gilmour, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 18, 2016, tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in assists and points.

Sean Day tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in goals (two) and tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in points (three). The 18-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (81st overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, recorded two goals on September 20 against Columbus.

The Rangers kick off training camp this weekend here is the training camp roster.

*Portions of a Rangers press release was used in this segment 

 

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK SEASON COMING UP SOON

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTFor Hartford Wolf Pack fans, the excitement is beginning to rise as the season is getting closer by the day.

WOLF PACK SIGNING

The Pack made another signing mid-week inking forward Matt Carey to a contract for the ’16 – ‘17 season.

Carey led the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) with 25 goals and 47 points in 49 games. He also spent 21 games with the Iowa Wild (AHL) garnering two goals and four points for what turned out to be the AHL’s worst team last season.

He played with the Rockford IceHogs the previous season and left St. Lawrence (ECACHL) after just one college season where he compiled 37 points in 38 games. Carey scored his first NHL goal in his second game with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Carey is a 6’0, 190lb. winger who played Junior A hockey in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (OJHL). He is also the younger brother of Greg Carey, who played with the Springfield Falcons last season. The elder Carey has signed to play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for this coming season.

The New York Rangers formally announced the signing of BU forward and defenseman, Ahti Oksanen, to an AHL deal. Cantlon’s Corner reported this signing back in June.

ON THE MOVE

Former Pack forward Nick Tarnasky has signed with the San Diego Gulls. Tarnasky moves into the slot vacated by Brian McGrattan, who signed with Nottingham (England-EIHL). Former Wolf Pack and Ranger, Stu Bickel, and former Yale player, Antoine Langaniere, re-signed with San Diego for another year.

Tarnasky represents the 12th player from last season’s Hartford roster to sign elsewhere. Just five players from that team have yet to be signed. They are Shawn O’Donnell, Tyler Brown, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons.

Joining McGrattan in heading to Europe is forward Matt Fraser who split last season between Rockford and the Manitoba Moose. Fraser is going to Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) while goalie Joni Ortio, who played with the Stockton Thunder and had some time with the Calgary Flames, heads to Skelelftea AIK (Sweden-SHL).

The list of AHL to Euro players is up to 78. Now 28 of the 30 AHL teams have seen at least one player head overseas. To this point, only the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Ontario Reign have not seen any roster players head across the pond.

The new Laval team, scheduled to launch in the AHL next fall when the Montreal Canadiens move their farm team there from St. John’s in the soon to be completed, Place Bell Centre, now has a name. 51 percent of those responding to the, “Name The Team” contest selected, “Rocket” over Patriotes and Rapides (French spelling). The name of course, honors Montreal Canadians great, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games in NHL history.

The team name “Rocket” has been used once before when it was the name of a QMJHL franchise that played out of the Maurice Richard Arena (which is now used for speed and figure skating) and the Bell Centre from 1999-2003. The team was sold and moved to Charlottetown, PEI and retained the name, Rocket, until last year when the team was renamed, “The Charlottetown Islanders.”

Former Wolf Pack Vinny Saponari, who played most of the last year with the Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and who had three AHL recalls for a total of 18 games, was released in training camp by KHL Dynamo Riga, but has signed with Frisk Asker (Norway-NEL).

Samuel Noreau, an ex-Pack who played for three ECHL teams last season including Greenville, was cut loose by the Rangers and signed with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL).

Former Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Lukas Sutter, the son of Rich Sutter from the NHL’s legendary Sutter clan, after a sitting out a year playing senior hockey with the Prairie Outlaw of the Fort Carlton Senior Hockey League (FCHL), suits up in Canadian collegiate hockey with the University of Sasketchewan Huskies (CWUAA) this season.

MANNY CALLS IT A CAREER

Ex-Pack and Ranger, Manny Malhotra, is now officially retired. Incredibly, Malhotra played in 991 NHL games tallying 295 points. Malhotra was a number one pick for the Rangers, 7th overall in 1998. It seems like just yesterday that he was at Wolf Pack practice when it was held at Avon Old Farms Jennings-Fairchild Arena.

Malhotra never became the type of player the Rangers hoped he would be. He was an example of drafting a talented player and heaping unrealistic expectations and projections on his skill set and assets. It was also an example of too much over-handling in a player’s development. He was really a solid second round pick, but his leadership skills remained intact throughout his playing career and was a mentor to the younger players the past few years.

He never became the big scorer the Rangers envisioned he would be. Under the Ranger GM at the time, Neil Smith, the organization could never make up its mind about him and that caused many problems.

At the end of training camp in 2000, Malhotra was told he was being switched from a center, where had played all camp, to left wing – With no notice! Malhotra was genuinely peeved.

Malhotra would evolve into one of the best checking and best faceoff centers in the NHL, let alone in New York. He led the NHL in face-off percentage in 2009-10 with a 61.4% ratio while with the Vancouver Canucks and despite suffering a near career-ending injury, he played in the Stanley Cup final for a Canucks team that went on to lose to the Boston Bruins in seven.

His eventual departure from Vancouver didn’t go well either. He still played in the NHL with both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets and ended his career playing for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) last season before being released on March 1st. He didn’t get to play for the eventual Calder Cup champions. Malhotra played in 71 AHL games in his career and scored 10 goals and 23 points overall.

He won his only championship in 2000 as a member of the Calder Cup Champion Wolf Pack. Malhotra played in all 23 playoff games that year but in his career only played 40 regular season games with the Pack. He registered 17 points on six goals and 11 assists. Malhotra also won a bronze medal with Team Canada that same year at the World Junior Championships.

Malhotra junior career was in Guelph (OHL) where he went to the Memorial Cup final in 1998, but he and his teammates failed to win a title. Despite that disappointment, Malhotra was named to the All-Tournament team with the likes of Marian Hossa and former Pack tough guy, Frankie Lessard.

After 206 games with the Rangers where he registered just 19 goals and 41 points, Malhotra was traded to Dallas along with ex-Pack Barrett Heitsten for Martin Rucinsky, and the late Roman Lyashenko.

While in juniors, Malhotra was selected number one and 17th overall by Guelph where he was coached by the Wolf Pack’s first head coach, the late E.J. McGuire during his first year. Malhotra was named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year (Bobby Smith Award) in his second season.

Malhotra, who is of Pakistani descent, grew up in Toronto was one of the first Eurasian players to ever play in the NHL. A player following in Malhtora’s footsteps as a second generation player of sorts will skate for the Rangers this upcoming season. Mika Zibanejad is an Iranian-Swede who was born and raised in Sweden.

Malhotra was a consummate pro who was among the most thoughtful and truly articulate interviewees in the Wolf Pack’s twenty-year history.

He will make Vancouver his post-career home, but won’t be totally out of hockey. According to the Vancouver Province newspaper, Malhotra is expected to be taking a coaching position with the Canucks for the upcoming season.

If this happens, it’s possible that Malhotra would be used as a skill development coach this coming season and could be on the bench as an Assistant Coach in the 2017-18 season for the Canucks AHL affiliate in Vancouver.

OLYMPIC HOCKEY NOW SET

Norway, Slovenia, and Germany will fill out the last three Olympic spots for the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Games as all three countries won the qualifying pools last weekend.

Group F saw Norway, paced by ex-Pack and current Ranger, Mats Zuccarello, beat France 2-1 in order to advance. Zuccarello, who was the top scorer for all players with five points, scored the equalizer just 5:10 after the French took the lead. They were the only host nation to win their pool.

The Germans knocked off the host Latvians 3-2 as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Thomas Kuhnhackl scored a powerplay goal with 5:09 left in regulation to advance. The Germans, along with Norway, will be in Pool C at the Olympics.

Slovenia beat Belarus 3-2 winning Group D in penalty shot style.

Denmark, one of the tournament favorites to win Group D after a strong World Championship showing in April, didn’t win a game until their final one last Sunday placing third in the Group D pool.

Current Wolf Pack Nicklas Jensen paced a 5-2 win over Poland with three primary assists and four shots on goal. Ex-Sound Tiger Franz Nielsen had three assists for the Dames in the tournament.

Mike Cichy, the New Hartford, CT native, had one assist (primary) a backhand pass on a goal by Kamil Kalinowski for the Polish team.

DRURY NEW ASSISTANT GM

Trumbull, CT native Chris Drury has always been successful and has taken another step up the ladder in the Rangers organization. He’s done so with the same speed he had as a player coming out of Boston University.

Drury was named the team’s new assistant GM where he will gain one of the portfolios Jim Schoenfeld has held along with being the GM in Hartford. This could be a signaling of the changing of the guard in the Rangers’ organization that has been whispered about since Glen Sather stepped down as Rangers GM a year and a half ago.

Drury’s work with the young forwards of the Wolf Pack paid dividends last spring with the revitalized team having a strong second half. The team would fall short though of their goal of making the playoffs. Drury spent time with Nicklas Jensen, Marek Hrivik and the now departed Jayson Megna in developing their down low games.

Drury’s career highlights professionally are highly impressive. After being drafted in Hartford in 1993 by the Quebec Nordiques (nee Colorado Avalanche), he would shine in a 12-year NHL career. Drury skated in 892 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the Rangers. He registered 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points and added 468 penalty minutes. Drury captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000-01 when he ranked second in the NHL with 11 goals in 23 games during that team’s playoff run.

In 1998-99, Drury received the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points with Colorado. Drury recorded at least 20 goals in nine different seasons in his career and recorded at least 50 points in eight different seasons.

In addition, Drury’s team reached the playoffs in nine of his 12 seasons in the NHL and advanced to the Conference Finals on six occasions. In 135 career NHL playoff games, Drury tallied 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 46 penalty minutes. Over his 12 NHL seasons (1998 – 2011), Drury led the league in playoff game-winning goals (17), ranked second in playoff overtime goals (four), ranked fourth in playoff goals, and ranked ninth in playoff games played.

Drury played four seasons with the Rangers (2007-2011) after signing with the team as a free agent on July 1, 2007. In addition, Drury served as the Rangers captain for three seasons (2008-09 – 2010-11) as the 25th captain in franchise history – as well as the second American-born captain in franchise history – on October 3, 2008. In 264 regular season games with the Blueshirts, Drury recorded 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes. Over his first three seasons with the Rangers, Drury led the team in goals (61) and points (146), ranked second in assists (85), and tied for second in game-winning goals (10). In addition, the Rangers made the playoffs three times during Drury’s four seasons with the team.

Prior to joining the NHL, Drury completed one of the most impressive collegiate hockey careers in NCAA history.

Over four seasons at Boston University Terriers (1994-1998), Drury tallied 113 goals and 101 assists for 214 points in 155 games. During his collegiate career, the Terriers captured the National Championship in 1994-95, appeared in the National Championship Game twice (1994-95, 1996-97), and appeared in the Frozen Four three times (1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97).

Drury was selected as a First Team All-American on two occasions (1996-97, 1997-98), a Hobey Baker Finalist as the Top Player in College Hockey on three occasions (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98), and he became the first Terrier to receive the Hobey Baker Award in 1997-98. Drury is Boston University’s all-time leader in goals and ranks third on the school’s all-time points list.

Internationally, Drury represented the United States in numerous tournaments and earned several medals. He participated in three consecutive Winter Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), capturing a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Drury was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Drury started his illustrious career at Fairfield Prep High school in Fairfield winning a state title his sophomore year beating an unbeaten and untied Hamden team 3-1 at the Hartford Civic Center (nee XL Center) and appeared in one other final against Greenwich which they lost. His number 18 which he and his older brother Ted, an ex-Hartford Whaler wore, is retired and a banner hangs to honor him in the corner of the Jesuits home rink, Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.

A second generation Drury is following in their footsteps in his nephew Jack Drury’s (Ted’s oldest son) who’s playing this season for Waterloo (USHL) and is an early college commit to Ted’s alma mater, Harvard University.

*Portions of a Rangers press release was used in this segment

 

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF-SEASON WEEK 10

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – This past week and the week ahead are perhaps the business and maybe even the most important couple of weeks for teams in the National Hockey League. It’s not an exaggeration to say that many times Championships are won and lost as the General Managers build their respective teams and their farm system during this time frame. Continue reading