Wolf Pack Light up Transaction Wire

The Wolf Pack roster had already undergone some significant tweaks over the past couple of weeks, and it got shaken up again today.

The changes were mostly subtractions, but there was one addition, and a notable one at that.  After bringing back former Wolf Pack Dov Grumet-Morris in mid-December, the Pack signed another one of their exes today, 11th-year pro backstop David LeNeveu.  LeNeveu was with the Pack for 13 games back in 2007-08. Ken Gernander’s first season as head coach, after being acquired by the Rangers from Phoenix in the trade-deadline deal that sent Al Montoya to the Coyotes, and had a pretty good run down the stretch that season.  The former Cornell Big Red was 8-3-2 in those 13 outings, with a 1.83 goals-against average, a 92.4% save percentage and one shutout.

David LeNeveu, in 2007-08 action with the Wolf Pack

David LeNeveu, in 2007-08 action with the Wolf Pack

That was LeNeveu’s first experience outside the Phoenix organization, which drafted him in the second round in 2002.  That was after his freshman season at Cornell, where he had two of the best goaltending years in NCAA history.  The Fernie, B.C. native has been a well-traveled man since his first Wolf Pack stint, seeing further AHL action in Iowa, Springfield and Oklahoma City and playing two seasons in Austria.  This year he was out of action until signing an ECHL deal with South Carolina November 27, and quickly proved with the Stingrays that he can still play.  LeNeveu pitched shutouts in both of his first two ECHL outings, and totaled three shutouts, a 1.64 GAA and a 94.0% save percentage in eight games.

With LeNeveu joining the roster, Scott Stajcer was moved back to the ECHL, and to a new destination.  He’ll be joining the Florida Everblades, after playing the first eight games of his ECHL season with Greenville.  Grumet-Morris remained away from the team, having gone back to San Antonio to be with wife Rachel, as they await the arrival of their second child.  As I write this on Tuesday night, haven’t heard any word yet on whether the blessed event has yet occurred.

Along with Stajcer, also deleted from the Wolf Pack roster today was Kyle Jean, who was reassigned to Greenville, and Brodie Dupont, Akim Aliu and Sam Klassen, all released from their PTOs.

Dupont was hamstrung by the AHL veteran rule, with the Wolf Pack finding themselves with two extra veterans after adding T.J. Hensick.  Hensick’s arrival also made the Pack somewhat crowded with centers, which hurt both Jean’s and Dupont’s causes.  Also, the Wolf Pack and Rangers have never seemed to like to carry more than one or two extra players on the Pack roster, and with Michael Kantor getting healthy and Justin Vaive in for a look after a great start with Greenville, I think the feeling was there were just too many extra bodies around.  That’s a tough break for the likes of Dupont and Aliu, but with the way the Wolf Pack’s record has shaken out thus far, it’s certainly no surprise that the organization is shuffling up the deck.

Klassen has given the Wolf Pack some quality minutes, as he certainly did last year, and the fact that he is headed back to the ECHL seems to indicate that Dylan McIlrath is close to a return, and that Bretton Stamler has intrigued the coaches enough that they would like to get a bigger sample size to judge his long-term prospects.

Hensick is the kind of high-end player who could really make a difference in the Wolf Pack’s second-half fortunes, and I posted a feature about him today to the Wolf Pack’s website, at http://www.hartfordwolfpack.com/news/detail/hensick-pumped-to-be-back-in-ahl.

I wondered if the veteran pivot might be upset by his sudden waiver detour to Hartford, after he thought he was headed to Abbotsford, whose presence in the Western Conference would have meant more familiar ground for Hensick.  He was quick to say, though, that just the opposite was true, that he was flattered by the Wolf Pack and Rangers’ interest in him, and that he is excited to get a taste of life in the Eastern Conference, especially given the easier travel out this way.

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