With 17 games left in the American Hockey League season as of March 14th, 2014 and their Friday night game against the Adirondack Phantoms, the Hartford Wolf Pack have gradually climbed out of the basement cellar of the Eastern Conference into 12th place, just 2 standings points behind their in-state rival, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 11th place. While the odds look slim for a playoff spot this year, the Wolf Pack have hit a stride now where it would seem most of their cylinders are firing. The team has gone 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games and are 3 games from a .500 season after a very dismal and disappointing December and January stretch.
While the magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 47 points, the Wolf Pack do have a lot of positives to consider as the season winds down.
Oscar Lindberg stands out a team scoring leader in his first year with the Wolf Pack, securing 14 goals and 23 assists in his 59 games thus far. He has proven to be a clutch player in tight games and would certainly be an impact player in coming years for the team if the organization continues to invest in him.
Ryan Borque gets my vote for most-improved player this season, amassing an impressive 17 goals in 57 games. Lately his offense has improved and his numbers have jumped quite a bit. The coaches see a hard working, blue-collar style player that likes to grind it out in the ice and from a fan’s perspective, it’s refreshing to see a player like Ryan Borque get rewarded for doing the fundamental things a strong positional player needs to do to contribute to the flow of an offense that needs to move the puck.
J.T. Miller, returning from the New York Rangers, has contributed 12 goals and 22 assists and is the #2 guy on team scoring. He has filled a gap in offense and the power play unit for sure.
Defensively, the Hartford Wolf Pack can rely on Danny Syvret and team captain Aaron Johnson to contribute with the offense. Danny Syvret is practically a forward in disguise, contributing 7 goals and 23 assists for 30 points while Aaron Johnson has 4 goals and 28 assists.
Rookie Conor Allen is looking very sharp and has a bright future ahead of him as he has earned 5 goals and 21 assists on the blue line this season. Dylan McIlrath continues to be steady and dependable as well.
Dov Grumet-Morris has taken the number one goalie spot so far this season and has been the catalyst of the comeback this far and is season record now is 13-11-5 with a fair .919 save percentage. Dave LeNeveu may still struggle but his save percentage is improving as the team supports him.
Statistics provided by www.theahl.com and www.hartfordwolfpack.com