The 2009-2010 season was simply a down year across the entire Rangers organization. With the big club finishing outside the playoffs looking it for the first time in a long time, the Rangers’ affiliate club, the Hartford Wolf Pack, managed a similar feat on an even bigger scale. Last season saw the Wolf Pack end their year early for the first time since moving to Hartford in 1997. That makes 12 consecutive successful seasons, highlighted by the 99-00 Calder Cup victory, in which the Wolf Pack was among the AHL’s premiere teams. Just a year after finishing 1st in the Atlantic Division, the Wolf Pack floundered to 6th place in a very competitive season for the division. At 36-33-6-5, Hartford was competitive on any given night, but ultimately unable to scrap together a true contender. By comparison, the 2002 season featured a Wolf Pack team that won only 33 games and accumulated 86 points (just 3 points higher than last year’s 83), but managed to pull out a 3rd place divisional record and secure a playoff berth in a down year for the Atlantic Division. The 3rd place mark had been Hartford’s lowest until this past year, consistently finishing in the top 2 divisionally in 10 of 12 seasons.The season was not without its bright spots, however, as Center Corey Locke finished the year as the AHL’s third leading skater, amassing a total of 85 points on 31 goals and 54 assists, trailing only the Hershey Bears’ dynamic duo of Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux. A second team AHL All-Star a last season, Locke actually saw time at the NHL level, playing 3 games for the Rangers spanning the end of March and beginning of April. Locke looks to take his talents to Ottawa this year, where exemplary play for the Wolf Pack may have earned him a permanent spot on their NHL roster. If things to not go according to plan, he can look forward to squaring off against his former Hartford allies with the Binghamton Senators come to town.
Posted Thursday, August 19th, 2010 at 2:39 pm