Today we’re taking away even more takeaways after the first three takeaways we took away from the 2021 Hartford Wolf Pack season.
Don’t count Ty Ronning out just yet
Ty Ronning played in 18 of the Wolf Pack’s 24 games this season and finished tied for the team lead in goals, with 10. You could say he was the Wolf Pack’s version of Colin Blackwell in that he was a big underdog who made the most of an opportunity.
Let’s get two things out of the way. First, Ronning shot 25.64 percent — which is nutty. Second, he really cooled down after an explosive start, burying two goals in his last nine games of the season. With that said, Ronning’s season — albeit brief — was pretty special. Remember, he spent more games in the ECHL (53) than the AHL (46) in the previous two seasons.
Ty Ronning. Remember Ty Ronning? PPG for him makes it a 3-0 game... pic.twitter.com/GZ8kOHyDf2— Mike Ashmore (@mashmore98) April 10, 2021
What stands out the most about Ronning’s season and production — other than how unsustainable it was — is that seven of his 10 goals were scored at evens. He was also tied for third on the team with five primary points on the power play. Only Morgan Barron and Tim Gettinger had more. So, Ronning was definitely a big part of the Wolf Pack’s offense and certainly a much bigger part of it than anyone expected him to be. His 9.34 Rel EV GF% is further evidence of the positive impact he had this year. Only Barron and Jonny Brodzinski were better in that department.
Let’s be real here. There’s almost no chance that Ronning climbs up the ladder and lands on the Rangers roster. The list of prospects and players who are ahead of him is simply too long. However, that doesn’t mean Ronning can’t be a valuable cog in the organization. Whatever comes next for Ronning this much is clear, we’ll be watching (again).
That power play though
Was the Wolf Pack’s power play hot or was it good?
Well, it was definitely hot. In their 24-game window, Hartford finished the season with an Atlantic Division and league-leading 27.1 percent success rate on the advantage. That is a massive difference from a woeful 13.8 percent success rate in 68 games last year, which was the fourth-worst in the AHL. In 2018-19, the Wolf Pack’s power play was ranked t-18th in the league at 17.9 percent.
The big contributors on the advantage were Barron and Tim Gettinger, both of whom finished with six power-play goals. But what really stands out the most here is that five different skaters finished with five primary points on the power play, including veteran Paul Thompson. Darren Raddysh led the way among the Wolf Pack’s blueliners with nine points on the advantage, five of which were primary. Reunanen was second with seven points on the PP in 21 games.
Given the sample size we’re dealing with and the number of skaters who shot at suspiciously high levels, it’s safe to say that the success of the power play was more a result of luck than simply being hyper-efficient. In the games I watched, the Wolf Pack moved the puck well on the PP but it didn’t seem exceptionally dangerous, even at the AHL level. Maybe I’m being a bit unkind but it definitely helped that they shared a division with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and their 75.2 percent penalty kill.
Tim Gettinger’s second half
I’ve written about big Tim Gettinger’s big season in Hartford relatively recently for the Banter, so I won’t go into too much detail here. With that said, if Gettinger wasn’t the team’s MVP he was undoubtedly its runner-up. Gettinger did a little bit of everything this year for Hartford and, in the process, made a case for himself being on the Rangers in a fourth-line role next season.
After picking up points in three of his first 10 games of the year, Gettinger finished his season with 15 points in his last 13 games and failed to pick up points just twice during that stretch. That strong finish earned him a late-season call-up to Broadway, where he dressed for two games.
Gettinger averaged 0.46 Pts/GP in his first two seasons in Hartford and scored 30 goals in his first 117 games. So, nine goals and 10 assists in 23 games this year was something of a statement. He continued to use his size to create chances and space for himself and his teammates and stepped up into a leadership role, which is also something to consider when we forecast what the next season holds for him.
Really, you can’t help but root for Gettinger, especially after this season. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him as a former 5th round pick (141st overall, 2016).