Some statistical highlights from the Hartford Wolf Pack season gone by…
The Wolf Pack finished its 12th season with a 46-27-3-4 record for 99 points, good for seventh over all in the league and tops in the Atlantic Division, earning its third division crown in franchise history. Those achievements are even more impressive when you consider that the team was the lone occupant in the division basement as late as November 30th, after getting off to a 9-9-1-2 start through the first month and a half of the season. Things didn’t get a whole lot better in December or January, during which the young team put together a 13-game win-one, lose-one string. But a seven game winning streak that kicked off on February 20th turned the season around and started a 19-4-1-1 run that vaulted them to the top of the division by season’s end.
Rookie netminder Matt Zaba was in the goal for that entire seven game winning streak, and went on to finish the season with a 25-10-0-0 record with two shutouts, wresting the starting job from last season’s rookie sensation Miika Wiikman (21-18-0-4 this season). Zaba’s 2.33 goals against average ranked him seventh over all in the league and fourth amongst rookies. His save percentage of .920 also placed him fourth amongst first-year netminders, while ranking him ninth over all. With 25 wins, the Colorado College graduate placed third amongst rookies and 12th over all, and he was undefeated in three shootouts, stopping 93% of the shots he faced.
Up front, the break-out player of the year was second-year center Artem Anisimov, who lead the team in goals (37) and points (81) and was the only skater to play all 80 regular season games. He finished fifth over all in AHL scoring and fourth in goals, while his 44 assists placed him just inside the top twenty at 19th. The 20-year old sophomore was the only player in the top ten in AHL scoring who was under the age of 24 and he was the youngest player in the top 25. His eight game winning goals lead the team and tied for third most in the league, while his 16 power play goals ranked eighth. A last-minute injury replacement at the AHL All-Star game, where he picked up a goal and two assists, Anisimov more than doubled the 16 goals he scored in his rookie campaign, added 17 assists, and nearly doubled last year’s 43 points.
P.A. Parenteau followed up last year’s break-out campaign with another one just as good, and if not for a late-season concussion (which now looks likely to cause him to miss the start of the playoffs) would have lead the team in scoring and eclipsed last year’s career-high 81 points. As it was, his 29 goals and 49 assists for 78 points in 74 games ranked him second on the team, and placed him 9th over all in league scoring. His 49 assists ranked him 11th in the league, while his 24 power play assists were good for 14th. Snubbed for the mid-season AHL All-Star Classic, the 26-year old winger was voted to the end-of-season AHL First All-Star Team, trumping last season’s Second Team selection.
Rookie defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti got his pro career off to a nice offensive start, putting up 6 goals and 36 assists for 42 points in 78 games. That number was tops on defense on the Wolf Pack, second best amongst all freshman blueliners, and 12th on defense over all.
Fellow defenseman Michael Sauer returned from reconstructive knee surgery in mid-November and before long was the team’s best blueliner, ending the season with a team-leading +29 rating, which placed him third over all in the league. He also more than doubled last season’s point totals with 6 goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 64 games, compared to 11 points in 71 games during his rookie campaign.
Greg Moore had an up-and-down year, and was just starting to come on when he went down to a concussion during a game against Lowell on March 18th. The 25-year old forward, who was selected to serve as the fourth captain in Wolf Pack history by his teammates in late January, still managed to lead both the team and the league with five shorthanded goals. Naturally, on a team that led the league with 19 shorthanded goals, there was no shortage of players who made the top 20 in shorthanded stats. After Moore’s league-leading five shorties, Mike Ouellette was one of ten players tied for second in the league with four, while his penalty-killing partner Jordan Owens tied three others for the most shorthanded assists with four. Patrick Rissmiller and Anisimov each picked up three assists while a man down, joining a group of 11 players who equaled the feat. Eight different players scored shorthanded this season, including Moore, Ouellette, Anisimov (2), Rissmiller (2), Brodie Dupont (2), Mark Bell (2), Owens (1) and Vladimir Denisov (1).
Some other numbers of note: Sophomore Dupont doubled last year’s goal production with 18, and finished the season with 42 points, up from 22 the year before… Fellow second-year forward Tommy Pyatt, who split last season between Hartford and the Rangers’ ECHL affiliate in Charlotte, spent the entire season in Connecticut’s capital this year, and put up 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 73 games, compared to 11 points in 41 games a year ago… Owens, who has played his first two professional seasons on an AHL-only deal, likely earned himself an NHL contract — somewhere — with a 12-15-37 performance in 67 games, up from 14 points a year ago in a season split between Hartford and Charlotte… Ouellette ranked second on the team with a +19 rating, followed by defenseman Denisov at +18 and Owens at +17… Rookie Devin DiDiomete led the team with 239 penalties minutes, good for fourth over all in the league and second amongst AHL rookies… Parenteau was a surprising second in penalty minutes with 142.
Coming up tomorrow: A preview of the Wolf Pack’s first round series against the Worcester Sharks, which gets underway on Thursday.
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