Before the Providence series, Rangers sent prospects Maxim Barbashev(2022 round 5, 122nd overall) and reassigned Ryder Korczak(2021 round 3, 75th overall) to the Wolf Pack.
Barbashev,19, exploded for a career campaign in his third year playing North American hockey. The Russian winger’s 32 goals and 65 points in 67 games ranked fourth on the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. Barbashev tallied four goals and eight points in 12 postseason games before the Wildcats were defeated in the second round, falling to the Halifax Mooseheads in six games.
Korckzak, 20, began the 22-23 season with Hartford but was quickly returned to the Moose Jaw Warriors after five games, where the 20-year-old responded for 28 goals and 69 points in 48 games. The center continued his stellar play in the playoffs, recording three goals and eleven points in 10 games before the Warriors were dispatched in six games by the top-seeded Winnipeg Ice in the second round.
Neither of the players appeared in any of the Wolf Pack’s games against the Bruins but could receive ice time against the Bears.
ICEMEN IN TROUBLE:
The Rangers ECHL affiliate Jacksonville Icemen split their first four tilts of their first-round series against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits(Los Angeles Kings affiliate).
Then, they won 5-4 in game five and 4-2 in game 6 to advance to the South Division Finals against the reigning Kelly Cup Champions, Florida Everblades(Florida Panthers affiliate).
The Everblades had a pedestrian regular season but have shown their championship metal thus far. They defeated the top-seeded South Carolina Stingrays(Capitals affiliate) in round one in six games.
The Everblades’ momentum carried over into game one as they took the series opener in Jacksonville 5-2.
Then in game two, Cam Johnson stopped a playoff career-high 40 shots, propelling the Everblades to a 4-3 victory and a commanding 2-0 series lead.
At the other end, Parker Gahagen made 24 saves on 28 shots in his return to the team after being called up to Hartford for emergency duty following Louis Domingue’s call to the Rangers.
Olof Lindbom held down the fort in the first round while Gahagen was away.
OTHMANN TO OHL FINALS:
The Rangers have one remaining prospect in the Memorial Cup race, their top one, Brennan Othmann(2021 round 1, 16th overall).
In game 3 of the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference final, the 20-year-old winger scored the opening goal and added a primary assist propelling the Peterborough Petes to a 3-2 win and 2-1 series lead over the North Bay Battalion.
Othmann also proved clutch in game six, setting up the game-tying goals before scoring the overtime winner to stave off elimination on Sunday and force a game seven on Monday.
Then in the decider, Othmann added a go-ahead goal and assisted as the Petes advanced to the OHL finals, where they’ll face the London Knights in a series that begins Thursday in London. Othmann leads the team in seven goals and 20 points in 17 playoff games.
The winner of the series represents the OHL in the Memorial Cup and faces off against the champions of the QMJHL(Halifax Mooseheads Vs. Quebec Remparts), WHL(Seattle Thunderbird Vs. Winnipeg Ice), and the host team, Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.
The four clubs each play each other once before the top two teams compete in a best-of-seven series to decide who’s the best junior team in North America.
Othmann, 20, registered 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points in 56 games with the Flint Firebirds and Petes in the regular season. He’s expected to join the Wolf Pack, where he’ll play next season once Peterborough’s postseason ends.