Last Friday night, seven minutes into the second period of his start against Springfield, Wolf Pack goal tender Cedric Desjardins was involved in a collision in front of the net where his leg got caught under some players around the net. The diagnosis came down to the public from the voice of the Pack, Bob Crawford@HawkCrawford, on Twitter yesterday, Desjardins has suffered a torn ACL.
An injury that once ended the career of professional athletes. The good news is Desjardins will be back and expected to be fully healed somewhere between the next six to twelve months. He has a two year contract with the New York Rangers so he will be a member of the team next season when he returns from this injury. The bad news, even if the Pack make a deep and or late playoff run Desjardins is out for the entire season including any playoffs.
That leaves the Pack with a dilemma that they thought they had solved when they signed Desjardins back on July 1, 2014. The need for a veteran goalie to help along the development of the Pack’s younger goal tending prospects. Desjardins has been pretty good this season with an 8-3-1 record and a 2.63 goals against average in 15 games.
Luckily the Wolf Pack are not left completely defenseless from the loss of Desjardins. Rookie goal tender Mackenzie Skapski has been solid in 16 games for the Pack with a 7-5-2 record and a 2.25 goals against average. Skapski is currently being backed up by Jason Missiaen whose time in Hartford at best has been inconsistent. Missiaen is on a hot streak for the Greenville Road Warriors. Missaen was recently named ECHL goalie of the week going 4-0 and producing a 0.99 goals against average with a .965 save percentage.
The big question on everyone’s mind is will the Wolf Pack go out and get another veteran net minder or will they roll the dice and play out the season rotating Skapski, Missiaen and possibly a third young prospect Jeff Malcom(11-5-0 with a 2.19 for Greenville of ECHL)? Missiaen should want the job if he can impress the Ranger brass quickly. Missiaen is nearing the end of a one year contract and in order to earn another contract he will have to prove that he can provide consistent value to the New Yorl Ranger organization.
The urgency should be evident from a fan’s standpoint. The Wolf Pack have missed the post season two years in a row. This seasons has seen the team return to a more competitive nature. They sit fourth in the Eastern Conference currently and have shown that they can be a playoff contender this season.
My money would be on the Wolf Pack finding a veteran. The idea of Skapski and Missiaen playing well enough to contribute onto a playoff spot and a possible post season run is a nice thought but its much easier said than done. I think that the fan base and the Rangers have concerns on putting the remainder of the season on the back of the rookie, Skapski, while also wondering which Missiaen will show up in net for Hartford.
If the Wolf Pack are going to look to the waiver wire two familiar names will not be there. Last season’s goaltenders Dov Grumet Morris and David LeNevue are not available. LeNevue signed with HC Slovan Bratislava of the KHL on Decemeber 14 and Grumet Morris has retired from professional hockey. The fans really miss those guys right now.
It won’t be easy to find a goalie with so many teams in full season swing, but there has to be someone. The Wolf Pack have a lot riding on this season and how quickly they make a move will determine how concerned they are going forward into the heart of the AHL season.