Hello Vancouver! Time for the first Chicago Wolves updates of the 2012-2013 AHL season! It’s good to be back writing about Wolves hockey and being able to provide updates for all the Canucks fans out there. First of all I would like to say how much fun I had interacting with you guys last year, coming from an affiliation with AtlantaPeg, it was refreshing to speak with such a passionate fan base who legitimately cares about their AHL level prospects.
The Wolves have an interesting roster to start the season, some players I thought I wouldn’t get to see skate in Chicago again (unless they were pounding the Blackhawks at the United Center) Chris Tanev, Jordan Schroeder and Eddie Lack, weren’t given the chance to crack the NHL roster due to the lockout. You also have guys like Steve Pinnizzotto, Andrew Ebbett and Zach Kassian who are now forced to play down in Chicago due to the lockout. Combine that with quality AHL veterans like Brett Sterling, Darren Haydar and Tim Miller and you have a team teeming with depth and, in my opinion, a team capable of challenging for the Calder Cup.
Earning all six possible points in the first three games, the Wolves are off to a great start after sputtering in the first round of the playoffs last season. They are rolling 4 solid lines and easily have some of the best defense and goaltending in the AHL. Eddie Lack started things off with a shutout in game one against Rockford, and started the following game with two shutout periods before Rockford netted 3 goals in the 3rd while Matt Climie held Peoria to one goal in last night’s game.
Player of the week – Nathan Longpre
Longpre was with the Wolves last season on an AHL contract and was eventually moved to the Springfield Falcons as part of the Pahlsson deal. I saw flashes of a great player and was disappointed to see him go, and based on what I saw, I figured he would be in the AHL again this season, but on a two way deal from an NHL team. Lucky for the Chicago Wolves, he was available to be signed to an AHL deal again this season and he’s started the season off with two goals in the opening three games. I keyed in on him a bit last night at the games and most of the time he looked like the best player on the ice. He did come on strong last season and fade a bit towards mid-season, but right now he looks like he’ll be one of the top options for the wolves all season.
Player Specific Observations
Jordan Schroeder – Jordan was improving constantly as the season wore on last year, and it looks like he’s continued to do so going into this season, I figured he would be on the Canucks roster this year so I’ll just enjoy watching him in Chicago while I can, looks like he’s going to be a stud in the NHL
Zach Kassian – Looks like he could be a physical player who can also provide some scoring, Scott Arniel regularly has him in front of the net and he creates havoc for the defenseman and goalie having to deal with him
Anton Rodin – He seems to be playing with a lot more confidence this season, and he’s also winning a lot more one on one puck battles, he had some great moments last year so I expect this effort will turn into goals in the near future
Eddie Lack – Eddie is just in the zone to start this season, he’s one of the nicest guys to talk to on the team, a goofball on twitter, but he’s intense and focused when he’s on the ice. With the quality of defense in front of him, he could be poised for a monster season
Coming up this week – The Wolves will be traveling to ABBOTSFORD for games on FRIDAY and SATURDAY night, so those of you in Vancouver in need of a live hockey fix should go down there and pack the house to cheer on your future Canucks.
Follow me on twitter @ggooglyboogly for updated wolves news, I also have some signed Wolves stuff to give away (signed by Eddie Lack / Bill Sweatt) and once I figure out a clever way to do it, I’ll tweet it out.