With the NHL and AHL All-Star breaks fading in the rear-view mirror, the Rangers organization began the process of setting its two teams up for the final push on Thursday with a few minor, but meaningful moves. In New York, little-used spare part Dan Fritsche was shipped to Minnesota for the much-needed seventh defenseman the team has lacked all season. Already 26 years old and with 37 NHL games to his credit, Erik Reitz is a suitable insurance policy who can keep a seat in the press box warm while Corey Potter attempts to re-discover the consistency and discipline he showed a year ago, Bobby Sanguinetti works on improving his team-worst minus-15, Michael Sauer completes his comeback from ACL surgery, and Brian Fahey tries to prove why he should ever be anything more than an AHL defenseman.
The organization solidified the backline on the farm as well, officially signing third-year pro Jared Nightingale to an AHL contract. The 6-3, 205-pound defensman has been a pleasant surprise for the Pack, putting up a goal and four assists in 22 games since earning the call-up from Charlotte on a professional try-out deal in early November. The 26-year old leads all Hartford blueliners with a plus-5. While no one will ever mistake him for Brian Leetch, the Jackson, Michigan native has been solid in his own zone, and isn’t afraid to drop the mitts in defense of his teammates.
Finally, Hartford GM Jim Schoenfeld announced that third-year pro Greg Moore has been named the fourth captain in Wolf Pack franchise history, taking over the role left vacant when Andrew Hutchinson left the club last summer. The honor was bestowed upon the 24-year old forward after a player vote and he’ll be backed up by alternate captains P.A. Parenteau and Corey Potter through the remainder of the campaign. The former University of Maine captain has struggled to reach the bar he set for himself last season when he ranked second on the team in goals (26) and points (66) while earning himself a berth at the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic and multiple call-ups to the big club, where he dressed for six games. Nevertheless, with fellow third-year forward Dane Byers out for the season after ACL surgery, the Libson, Maine native became the obvious choice to captain this young team.
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