According to the NY Post, 20-year-old Connecticut Whale forward Marek Hrivik is gaining interest from NHL clubs, including the New York Rangers. Hrivik joined the Whale on an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement on March 30, and made his pro debut the next day in a game against the Adirondack Phantoms.
Hrivik appeared in eight regular-season games with the Whale, scoring a goal and totaling 19 shots while playing on a line with Casey Wellman and fellow rookie Steve Moses. Hrivik was a first-round playoff hero for the Whale, scoring four goals in three games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He leads the Whale in playoff goals and is tied for the team lead in points entering round 2.
The Slovakian-winger played three seasons in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats before joining the Whale, and he amassed 93 goals, 111 assists and 204 points in 179 games played with Moncton. Hrivik has already attended two NHL training camps, but has yet to sign a deal. In 2010, Hrivik was invited to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ camp, and in 2011 he received an invite from the Phoenix Coyotes.
Hrivik possesses an abundance of skills, including his speed, strength, quick-release, and hockey sense in all zones. Hrivik’s size is a bonus, as the winger skates at 6-foot-2, 197-pounds. The second-round of the playoffs begins Wednesday for the Whale when it visits the Norfolk Admirals for game 1, and Hrivik may play an important role in Connecticut’s quest for the Calder Cup.
Another Whale rookie that the Rangers, among other NHL clubs, have interest in is 5-foot-9, 175-pound, forward Jonathan Audy-Marchessault. The Rangers invited Audy-Marchessault to training camp last September, and his performance with the Whale this season is proof as to why teams are interested in the talented forward.
Audy-Marchessault, 21, finished the season as the only Whale skater to appear in all 76 regular-season games. He finished the year tied for first on the team in scoring, with 24 goals (second on the team), 40 assists (team leader) and 64 points. During the first-round of the playoffs, Audy-Marchessault recorded a goal and a team-leading 16 shots in three games.
Before joining the Whale on a Standard Player (AHL) Contract this summer, Audy-Marchessault spent four seasons in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts. He totaled 98 goals, 141 assists and 239 points in 254 games with Quebec.
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Larry Brooks writes in the NY Post that the Rangers are interested in bringing in free agent Marek Hrivik.
Hrivik, 20, is 6-2, 185.
CLICK HERE to see updates on Hrivik from his time in the AHL.
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“It’s definitely a huge weight off my back,” said Christian Thomas after Friday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Manchester, during which the former second-round selection of the New York Rangers recorded his first professional goal, assist and points. “Getting that first one is always nice, but hopefully I can get some more.”
Thomas, 19, wasn’t the only player to register his first pro goal on Friday, as 22-year-old winger Steve Moses beat Thomas to the milestone one period earlier. Moses, who scored twice against the Monarchs, had a similar reaction to the exciting feat.
“It feels good,” he said after game. “The first couple of games I had a lot of chances but couldn’t get a bounce…it was nice to finally get a few bounces tonight and get on the board.”
Moses’ first goal came at 5:25 of the second period, when the 5-foot-9, 170-pound, forward drove Manchester’s net and buried a Casey Wellman rebound. Moses explained after the game that many of his goals generally come in the form of rebounds and by crashing the net.
“I try to get to the front of the net and create some opportunities,” he said. “Casey (Wellman) and Marek (Hrivik) were able to create some good chances tonight and I was able to finish them off.”
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The Connecticut Whale played three times over the weekend, winning once and losing twice (once in overtime).
On Friday, the Whale hosted the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and lost 3-0. Chad Johnson played for just 9:01 of the game before allowing three goals on 13 shots, and being pulled from the net. Cam Talbot made 18 saves in relief.
Then on Saturday, the Whale hosted the Adirondack Phantoms and defeated them 3-0. Talbot improved his shutout streak to 110:59, stopping all 26 shots-against; earning his third shutout of the season and 13th win. Forward Kelsey Tessier scored twice in the win, while Casey Wellman added a goal and an assist.
Connecticut hosted the Providence Bruins on Sunday, and lost 3-2 in overtime on a goal scored with just 2.1 seconds remaining. Talbot’s shutout streak was snapped at 145:35 (minutes: seconds), but he still provided the Whale with a solid 28 save effort. Kris Newbury had a goal and an assist in the game, and rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault added helpers on both goals. Wade Redden also scored in the overtime loss.
The Whale’s record now looks like 34-24-7-5 (80 points), and they are seated second in the Northeast Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. They need six points to clinch a playoff berth with six games remaining in their regular season.
“(Right now) everyone is watching the standings for points, and it becomes more important to win games,” Whale head coach Ken Gernander said following Saturday’s win. “At this point our margin of error is such that you’re not afforded mistakes,” he added on the playoff topic after Sunday’s game.
The Whale will play another three games this weekend, beginning with a home game on Friday at 7pm (ET) against the Manchester Monarchs. Then on Saturday, the Whale visits the Penguins for a 7:05pm puck-drop, followed by a 5pm game in Hershey against the Bears on Sunday.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (83 points; first in the Northeast) play three times week, with home games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Adirondack (72 points; third in the Northeast) will play three times this weekend, while both Springfield (72 points; fourth in the Northeast) and Albany (71 points; fifth in the Northeast) play once mid-week, and twice over the weekend.
If the Whale can win all three of its games this weekend, then a playoff berth will be clinched. Depending on how the teams mentioned above, along with the Portland Pirates, perform during the week, Connecticut’s road to the playoffs may become easier and quicker.
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From the NHL:
Group 2 RFA:
- Mat Bodie, Emerson Etem, Jesper Fast, Marek Hrivik, Carl Klingberg, Oscar Lindberg, Dylan McIlrath, J.T. Miller, Derek Stepan.
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The Rangers have not extended a qualifying offer to Conor Allen and he will be a free agent. (Gross)
Allen, 25, played in 7 games for the Rangers over the past two seasons, averaging 13:10 per game, with four shots on goal and a minus two rating.
He played 72 games in each of the last two seasons for the Wolf Pack and had 17 goals & 48 assists. He had 1 goal and 1 assist in 12 playoff games for the Wolf Pack.
For everything on Allen since he was signed, click HERE.
All other Rangers (Derek Stepan, JT Miller, Jesper Fast, Emerson Etem, Dylan McIlrath, Oscar Lindberg, Marek Hrivik, Mat Bodie) received qualifying offers and the Rangers retain their rights.
On the RFAs, Jeff Gorton said on Saturday, “we have talked to them all and to try and get the landscape. We aren’t down the road too far with any of them. We have a good idea of what everyone is looking for.”
The upper limit of the salary cap will be $71.4 million for 2015-16. (NHLPA)
The Rangers have $59.525 million committed to next season. (Brooks)
The Rangers are projected to have around $11.9 million in cap space and the following players are free agents this summer
RFA: Jesper Fast, Derek Stepan, JT Miller, Carl Hagelin, Dylan McIlrath, Mat Bodie, Oscar Lindberg, Conor Allen, Marek Hrivik.
UFA: Marty St. Louis, James Sheppard, Matt Hunwick
With the likely trade of Cam Talbot the Rangers will have around $13.35 million in cap space.