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Calgary Wranglers series preview: A playoff rematch against a divisional rival

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Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
6 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers got through their opening weekend of the 2023-24 season with some positives and some opportunities for improvement. They continue their stretch of road games with their first Pacific Division series of the year against the Abbotsford Canucks. Will Jeremie Poirier defend his position as one of the top scorers in the league? Will the Wranglers continue their point streak? This weekend will provide some answers to those questions. 

Lineup notes

There were some reassignments and trades that occurred in the last week that changed some of the available players these teams have. The Wranglers assigned two of their skaters to their ECHL affiliate, the Rapid City Rush. Defenceman Jarrod Gourley and goaltender Connor Murphy made their way to South Dakota on Wednesday. 
On Abbotsford’s side, Jack Rathbone was part of a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Rathbone spent the last two full seasons with Abbotsford and the Canucks organization sent Akito Hirose down to fill in the vacant spot in the defence pairings. 

Projected lineups

Calgary

Connor Zary – Cole Schwindt – Martin Pospisil 
Lucas Ciona – Clark Bishop – Adam Klapka 
Emilio Pettersen – Ben Jones – Mitch McLain 
Alex Gallant – Brett Sutter – William Stromgren
 
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Yan Kuznetsov – Brady Lyle
 
Dustin Wolf 
Oscar Dansk
 

Abbotsford

Vasily Podkolzin – Sheldon Dries – Tristen Nielsen
Arshdeep Baines – Nils Aman – Danila Klimovich
Aidan McDonough – Max Sasson – Linus Karlsson
John Stevens – Aatu Raty – Chase Wouters
 
Christian Wolanin – Jett Woo 
Matt Irwin – Filip Johansson
Akito Hirose – Cole McWard
 
Nikita Tolopilo
Arturs Silovs
 

Leaders

Calgary

Jeremie Poirier – 2GP, 1G, 4A
Connor Zary – 2GP, 0G, 3A
Cole Schwindt – 2GP, 2G, 0A
 

Abbotsford

Tristen Nielsen – 2GP, 3G, 1A
Arshdeep Baines – 2GP, 1G, 3A
Christian Wolanin – 2GP, 0G, 3A
 

Notes and expectations

Both teams had Canadian match-ups to start their season last weekend. The Wranglers faced the Manitoba Moose and earned a split, picking up three of a possible four points with a win and an overtime loss. The Canucks got things started last weekend on the road against the Laval Rocket. They swept Laval and sit undefeated going into their home opener against the Wranglers.
In 12 match-ups last season, the Wranglers had the edge in their season series against each other. The Wranglers finished 8-4-0-0. Three of these games went to overtime and shootout decisions in which the Wranglers were victorious. 
The most notable history between these teams was their meeting in the playoffs in late April to early May. It was a best-of-five series that the Wranglers took a 2-0 lead in the series then fell in game three to the Canucks. Calgary finished off the series in game four with a 3-2 finish. Every score in this series only had a one-goal differential. Abbotsford played a physical game against the Wranglers but ultimately an edge in scoring abilities and goaltending won that for Calgary. 
There are still many of the same players on both these rosters so their first game of the season will show if there are any hard feelings leftover from playoffs. Calgary will start their weekend series on Friday in Abbotsford then continue it into Saturday night. Both games are set to start at 8:00 p.m. MT. You can stream these games on AHL.tv for a fee. FlamesNation contributors Mike Gould and I will have game updates on X (formerly Twitter).

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