The AHL Transaction Log is reporting that the New York Rangers have recalled 25-year-old center Corey Locke from the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) this morning. Locke has 29 goals and 51 assists for 80 points in 73 games played with the Wolf Pack this season. In fact, the Toronto, Ontario native is having his best year in the American Hockey League of his career. Despite these stats, though, it has been said numerous times that Corey does not have what it takes to play at the NHL level.
Here is more on Locke from the Wolf Pack expert, Mitch Beck of Howlings:
While Locke is a very good and offensively talented AHL player, he is clearly not an NHL caliber competitor.
The Toronto native doesn’t skate nearly hard enough. He avoids contact at all costs, and who can blame him. Generously listed at 5-9, 189 pounds, he’s too small and slight to go into any of the high traffic areas.
It will be interesting to see how and where John Tortorella uses him. He can’t play him on the fourth line. Like P.A. Parenteau, Locke isn’t cut out for that. He needs to be used in an offensive capacity. Maybe the thought process is to use him on the wing in place of Sean Avery?
I think I will agree with Mitch here. The only reasonable spot to put Locke right now is on the wing in place of forward Sean Avery, who is getting examined today and will find out the extent of his injury. Locke may be a center, but the Blueshirts already have a surplus in that position and need wingers with both Callahan and Avery out.
As Mitch said above, Locke's problem seems to be his battle level and effort. Unfortunately, sometimes the most talented of players do not have the desire to compete and give a 100% effort. With that being said, Locke is not the player that should have been called up. Both Avery and Callahan are energy players that provide a spark to this lineup. Locke will not be doing that.
Nonetheless, it will not hurt to see what the kid's got. The Rangers need to be looking towards the future and by calling up youngsters with potential they are doing just that. However, I still would have liked to see Dane Byers called up instead of Corey Locke. Byers has been an impact player each and every time he has been recalled this season.