As we get ready for the the 2014-15 season, it may be time to get yourself reacquainted with your team’s minor league affiliates and what could be in store for your team should they need a call-up or two. I’ll go through them team by team in hopes that this enlightens some people to their affiliate teams. Today, after a little alphabet faux-pas by me, the Rangers are up with their affiliates in Hartford, Connecticut and Greenville, South Carolina
HARTFORD WOLF PACK
Affiliate Since: 1990-91 (As Binghamton Rangers)
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 113 miles
Last Season: 37-32-1-6, 3rd in Northeast Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
With two defensemen in the top-five in team scoring, you can tell that maybe offense wasn’t the the key note for the season for the Wolf Pack. Granted, a lot of their possible top offensive guys were called up to New York, and some of their top scorer guys came though too late in the season, but overall– the Wolf Pack did what they could with what they had.
Both Jesper Fast and TJ Hensick brought about the offense late into the season with Hartford, both putting up 34 points in 48 games or less. JT Miller was one of the top offensive guys on Hartford, but his tenure in New York would stop Hartford from getting his point-per-game average he brought to the team. Rookie Danny Kristo did try to pick up the slack with 25 goals on the year, but didn’t prove to be enough and to put Hartford on the plus side of the goal differential.
The defense side also put up some of the offensive side as Danny Syvret led the team in scoring, while only chalking up 9 goals on the year– four on the power play and two shorthanded. Aaron Johnson also was top-five in scoring with 36 assists and 40 points on the year, but Dylan McIlrath’s second year showed his defensive side, as well as his rough side with 165 PIMs on the year.
Both of the top goalie for Hartford didn’t start the season there, but when Scott Stajcer and Jason Missiaen couldn’t get the job done and Cam Talbot being called up after the first five games of the season– Dov Grumet Morris and David Leneveu had to come through and pick up the pieces of what was left after a troublesome start to the season.
Leading Scorers: Danny Syvret (9g, 38a), Oscar Lindberg (18g, 26a), Danny Kristo (25g, 18a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: With Ryan Malone being signed, odds are the Rangers will try him out in Hartford first and then going to New York if he can prove himself. Danny Kristo could also get some shuttle time, along with Oscar Lindberg up the middle. On defense, it could be Dylan McIlrath’s time if he gets off to a solid start in Hartford and keeps his stay-at-home style alive.
Outlook: Goaltending will be the big concern, with Missiaen being the returnee from last year while Cedrick Desjardins will be coming in to provide some veteran presence, with MacKenzie Skapski looking to out duel Missiaen for AHL time overall. Some aid to Kristo and more time for Fast to open up their offensive side of their game will provide more scoring overall for the Pack and to get them back into the playoffs.
GREENVILLE ROAD WARRIORS
Affiliate Since: 2010-11
Distance From Parent Team (Arena to Arena): 724 miles
Last Season: 39-27-2-4, 3rd in South Division, 6th in Eastern Conference
After two straight first round exits, the Road Warriors rallied through the playoffs to get to the Eastern Conference finals. They came through on the season thanks to their special teams, leading the league in penalty kill percentage, while placing 8th in the league on the power play. Marc-Olivier Vallerand lead the Road Warriors with eight power play goals, while he and Andrew Rowe had two shorthanded goals to lead the team. Rookies Michael St. Croix and Josh Nicholls fit in well to their transition to pro hockey, staying in the top-five in team points, with St. Croix being 9th in rookie scoring with 48 points.
In net, Jason Missiaen and Jeff Malcolm held down the fort with Missiaen playing much better in the ECHL than he did in the AHL, with 14 wins in 21 games and taking much of the playoff run to himself, while Malcolm’s rookie season had him win just 13 games in 27 games. Both Ryan Hegarty and Brad Cole provided support for the goalie, both being strong in their own end, with Mike Marcou holding up the offense side of things with 21 assists and 29 points in 65 games.
Leading Scorers: Andrew Rowe (31g, 35a), Marc-Olivier Vallerand (26g, 30a), Jordie Johnston (22g, 33a)
Possible Frequent Flyers: One of the newcomers, Dallas Jackson, will be probably one of the guys on the AHL radar, as he spent plenty of time in the AHL for parts of the last two seasons. Hegarty’s youth is playing to his advantage and could get a look at by AHL teams for help later on in the season.
Outlook: With seven returning players from last season, the Road Warriors are going to be driven to continue with their success from last year. There will be a need for players like Scott Arnold and Bretton Cameron to step up and pick up for the offense they lost in Rowe and Vallerand. Sebastian Geoffrion will be making his next step in his career and will also be looked at to contribute in a big way.