Checking in With Kristo and the Wolfpack

Should he be called up? - Bruce Bennett

Danny Kristo is starting to look like a one man wolfpack.

The Hartford Wolfpack are 7-5-2 through the first fourteen games of the season, placing them in third place in the Northeast Division behind the Springfield Falcons and the Adirondack Phantoms and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Obviously that is a disappointing position to be in but the season is still young and let's not forget that the Rangers have plundered Kreider, Miller, and Talbot and only recently returned Jesper Fast to the Wolfpack (Fast unfortunately has suffered an ankle injury and will miss significant time).

The Wolfpack are being led by veteran blueliners Aaron Johnson (3 goals, 13 assists) and Danny Syvret (10 assists) along with young winger Danny Kristo (14 points) but the rest of the team has struggled to score. Taking Cam Talbot away from the Wolfpack has left the team with the duo of Jason Missiaen (0.855 SV%) and Scott Stajcer (0.887 SV%). Both netminders have failed to find consistency in their games and have been poor substitutes for Talbot. Through fourteen games the Wolfpack have scored 44 goals and have allowed 51 goals.

Let's take a look at some noteworthy prospects on the Wolfpack and where they are in terms of standard stats. It goes without saying that we'd like to see more scoring across the board (the exception being Kristo who is in the top twenty in the AHL in scoring) but I see a lot of good signs.

Player

GP

G

A

PIM

S

Notes

Danny Kristo, RW

14

8

6

4

34

Second on the team in points and the fourth highest scoring rookie in the AHL. Time to call him up?

Oscar Lindberg, C

14

3

6

8

36

The two-way forward is really coming along nicely. Would be great to see some more offense but it will come.

Marek Hrivik, LW

13

3

5

4

22

Nice to see Hrivik get on the scoresheet but I'd like to see him shoot more.

Dylan McIlrath, D

14

3

2

63

19

63 PIMs and 3 goals in 14 games? Sounds like McIlrath is fully recovered from last year's injury. Not a bad start after a miserable preseason with the Rangers.

Ryan Bourque, LW

13

2

3

2

23

Starting to look like Bourque will always be an undersized defensive forward.

Conor Allen, D

14

2

3

13

23

A solid start for one of the most interesting players from training camp and the preseason. Smart kid with a bright future.

Andrew Yogan, LW

13

1

4

23

11

First full season in the AHL for the big forward, must shoot more and improve his skating. Nice to see some nasty in his game.

Jesper Fast, RW

3

0

2

0

3

Reassigned in late October, going to miss significant time with an ankle sprain.

With Dominic Moore and Rick Nash close to returning there has been some serious talk about J.T. Miller being sent down to the Wolfpack and I honestly think that is the best thing for him. In my opinion he is absolutely wasted on the fourth line and I'd much rather see him getting first or second line minutes with the Wolfpack than fourth line minutes in the NHL. His high-energy game might also inject some energy and life into the Hartford lineup and could even get some other players going.

The biggest question regarding the Wolfpack, other than finding more consistent goaltending and keeping goals out of their own net, is how long Danny Kristo will be down there given how well he's been playing. If the Rangers do call up Kristo it should only be if they can give him significant ice time and a real chance to succeed. I'd like the Rangers to give Kristo some more seasoning in the AHL unless Nash is out for longer than anticipated and the Rangers find the need to inject talent into the lineup like they did when they called up Chris Kreider. Calling up Kristo right now is understandably tempting but with Nash showing positive signs I'd like to avoid calling Kristo up just to send him back down... but maybe a little taste of the NHL will just make him that much hungrier and motivate him even more. Who knows? It's a difficult decision to make but there's no denying that Kristo has earned a call-up at the first possible opportunity.

What do you guys think? What do you think of Kristo and his hot start? Should the Rangers call him up? Should the Rangers send J.T. Miller down? What are your thoughts on McIlrath? Conor Allen? With all the trade rumors around MDZ do you think either McIlrath or Allen is a in a position to fit in as a bottom pair d-man or the 7th man if the Rangers slot Justin Falk in? Let me know what you think in the comments. Enjoy your Friday!

Let's go Rangers.

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