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Preview: Wranglers visit Eagles in search of first victory (7:05 p.m. MT)

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Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
Mike Gould
1 month ago
The Calgary Wranglers will wear their red uniforms for the first time on Friday when they take on the Colorado Eagles at 7:05 p.m. MT.
AHL clubs wear white at home for the first half of the regular season before switching to their darks around February — and, unfortunately, the Wranglers came up 0–2–0 in their whites during their season-opening back-to-back against the Coachella Valley Firebirds earlier this week.
The Wranglers will now embark upon a four-game road trip before returning to Calgary to host the Tucson Roadrunners on Nov. 2 and 4. While they’re out of town, the Wranglers will play back-to-backs at Colorado (Oct. 21 and 22) and Coachella Valley (Oct. 28 and 29).
Here’s what you need to know before tonight’s Wranglers game.

Projected lineups

Calgary
Jakob Pelletier – Connor Zary – Matthew Phillips
Radim Zohorna – Ben Jones – Martin Pospisil
Brett Sutter – Clark Bishop – Walker Duehr
Emilio Pettersen – Cole Schwindt – Adam Klapka
Dennis Gilbert – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Nicolas Meloche
Yan Kuznetsov – Ilya Solovyov
Dustin Wolf
Oscar Dansk
Colorado
Shane Bowers – Ben Meyers – Anton Blidh
Charles Hudon – Mikhail Maltsev – Jean-Luc Foudy
Cal Burke – Ryan Wagner – Alex Beaucage
Sampo Ranta – Spencer Smallman – Oskar Olausson
Andreas Englund – Brad Hunt
Keaton Middleton – Rob Hamilton
Wyatt Amodt – Daniil Zhuravlyov
Justus Annunen
Jonas Johansson

Leading scorers

Calgary
1. Brett Sutter — 2 GP, 1 G, 3 A
2. Nick DeSimone — 2 GP, 1 G, 2 A
3. Matthew Phillips — 2 GP, 2 G, 0 A
Colorado
1. Charles Hudon — 2 GP, 2 G, 2 A
2. Martin Kaut* — 2 GP, 2 G, 1 A
3. Mikhail Maltsev — 2 GP, 0 G, 3 A
* Player currently on NHL recall

Last game’s highlights

Stray thoughts

  • I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Coachella Valley Firebirds end up being one of the top teams in the American Hockey League this season. It’s not as hard to build an AHL expansion franchise into a powerhouse as it is in the NHL, and it certainly looks like the Firebirds have the makeup of a potential Calder Cup contender. The key: Seattle doesn’t have a ton of actual prospects down there. The Firebirds are loaded with high-end veteran AHLers — Andrew Poturalski, Max McCormick, Brogan Rafferty, and Jesper Froden say hello — but that looks like a team more concerned with winning than developing prospects. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, and it’s not as though guys like Kole Lind and Joey Daccord don’t still have NHL aspirations. But it seems like the Firebirds want to make an impact in the relatively untapped Coachella Valley market by being a force right away. We’ll see how that plays out over the rest of the year.
  • We’re working on a little piece on Brett Sutter to go live at some point this weekend or next week, but for now: I’m really impressed by how versatile he’s been for this Wranglers team. The guy does everything. He kills penalties, he’s a PP mainstay, and — at age 35 — he leads the Wranglers with four points through their first two games. If he can be a capable Luke Philp replacement, the Wranglers should be in good shape.
  • Jakob Pelletier is a great kid. He’s also a great hockey player. He just hasn’t been able to find any sort of rhythm since Calgary Flames training camp opened last month. The Wranglers’ top line is going to click at some point — with three players of that calibre, it’s a given — but not until Pelletier comes alive. I suspect he might be thinking a little too much out there.
  • Dustin Wolf has a 5.44 goals-against average and an .857 save percentage through his first two games of the 2022–23 season. Here’s how much of that is on him: 0. Wolf has given his absolute all in the first two games of the year, making some truly miraculous saves against an opponent the players in front of him seemingly had no idea how to handle. He’ll be just fine.
  • Bold prediction out of nowhere: Jeremie Poirier and Yan Kuznetsov both score tonight. You heard me. Saint John Sea Dogs legends!

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