It’s been a strange season thus far for the Hartford Wolf Pack, made all the stranger because the entire coaching staff recently had to fill in behind the New York Rangers’ bench. Entering April, Hartford is 6-6-1 thanks to a three-game winning streak. The players to watch in Hartford this year have been rookie winger Morgan Barron and Finnish defender Tarmo Reunanen but they haven’t been the story of the Wolf Pack’s three-game winning streak. That story is all about goaltender Adam Huska.
Huska has started in the last three games for Hartford and while his numbers are far from sensational they are leagues better than what the Wolf Pack have gotten out of Tyler Wall. In each of his last three starts, Huska has allowed two goals and has posted a .910 save percentage. Meanwhile, Tyler Wall has a record of 1-4-1 and an alarming save percentage of .853 to go along with a 4.07 GAA. Furthermore, he’s only finished one of his seven appearances with a save percentage north of .900.
The only other rookie goalie in the AHL having a rougher time than Wall is Hunter Jones of the Iowa Wild, who has a .859 Sv% and a record of 2-7-1. Jones was the Wild’s 2nd round pick (59th) overall of the 2019 Draft. Unlike Wall, he’s 20 (Wall is 23) and is playing in the AHL out of the OHL. Wall last played at UMass-Lowell where he posted a .936 Sv% in his senior season.
So, to say that Wall has had a rough start to his first pro season would be something of an understatement. It’s not his fault that he’s not Igor Shesterkin but he definitely has a hand in Hartford allowing, on average, 3.3 GA/GP and 2.38 EV GA/GP. Wall has been in the net for the Wolf Pack about 43.22 percent of the time — a total of 338:52 — thus far, which is more than any other goalie. Huska, who has 236:04 between the pipes is second among all Wolf Pack goalies in minutes played.
It’s pretty much an open competition for starts right now in Hartford but Huska has to feel good about the last three games and so does the Wolf Pack’s coaching staff. And Wall has to feel, well, the opposite of good.
To be fair to Wall, he isn’t the first goalie who has had a rocky start making the transition to the pro game and he won’t be the last. The good news for him and the Wolf Pack is that he doesn’t have to shoulder the burden alone. With that said, one has to imagine that the crease will belong to Huska for as long as the Wolf Pack keep winning.