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 Calgary Wranglers

Wranglers Notebook: Season Wrap Up

May 13, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Calgary Wranglers News Release

The off-season begins now for many Calgary Wranglers players looking to take the next step.

The Wranglers fell to the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a hard-fought series that wrapped up on Friday night.

The series included an overtime loss in Game 2 and a tight 7-5 contest in Game 3. A win in either game and the Wranglers could still be fighting for the Calder Cup.

But now, the players look ahead to next year and the possibility of making the jump to the NHL.

Off-Season Plan

Many of the Wranglers players are looking forward to being in even better shape heading into camp next year and are also excited about the prospect of trying to make the Flames from the jump.

For Jakob Pelletier, he wants to put on some size and get back to his game after an injury-plagued season.

"Last year, I came into camp and felt great," he said. "I worked on my shot a lot, worked in the gym and felt confident in myself and then had my injury. I came back and felt great until the second injury - and the second injury hurt me more mentally than physically. For me, when I'm not playing hockey, I'm not the same person. I'm more negative and usually I'm more positive.

"I don't think I was the same Jakob Pelletier from last year or the year before," he continued. "It's on me to come back in September and be more strong, more ready to play a full season."

Cole Schwindt had an outstanding playoff, leading the Wranglers in goals with four. He's seen teammates like Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil make the full time jump to the NHL this season and hopes to be added to that list for the Flames come the fall.

"For all players in the AHL, you're just trying to make the jump" he explained. "Trying to find your way into a situation where you can prove what kind of player you are. It's great for both of them. They're obviously two unbelievable hockey players. It's encouraging, for sure, and just for me, I have to make sure I'm doing everything I can to get myself in that position."

Ilya Solovyov had a strong season for the Wranglers and also got his first 10 NHL games under his belt this year. He says working on his strength will be the key to more games with the Flames next year.

"I think it's working on my physical strength," he said. "I have to be in good shape and I will continue to work on my skills, my skating and my mind especially, too. I think you can't just focus on one thing and forget about the others; you have to get better at everything."

The Battle With Coachella

The Wranglers ran into a veteran-heavy group in Coachella for the second straight year. Despite the same result in the playoffs, the young members of the Wranglers squad can build off of the series heading into next season.

Yan Kuznetsov says there are a few things this group can learn and use from their series with the Firebirds.

"They were really experienced," he said. "They're much older than us and have a great roster. They play a type of hockey where they like to play with the puck and don't play with that much speed but were really smart and made plays.

"I think we gave it a good battle with them, we were successful with them when we played physical and played simple. Every team has a different kind of character and the way they play. That was our style of hockey and I think we played pretty well and games were pretty even when we played that way."

Season Takeaways

There were many positives that the Wranglers players took away from this season. There was lots of movement between the NHL and AHL and yet, the Calgary squad was still able to make it to the second round despite being the seventh seed heading into the postseason.

Schwindt got his first taste of playing with the Flames this year, skating in four games. He looked back on his year as a whole.

"It was another year of learning for me," he explained. "It was nice to go up and play a couple games this year and meet everybody in the organization and get a little bit more comfortable in that setting. Another year to learn more about myself and being a pro and trying to soak in as much as I can."

Kuznetsov, meanwhile, gave the keys to his best hockey from this season.

"When I played well, I was playing simple," he said. "I wasn't overthinking too much and I was playing hard. I was getting back quickly on transition, I wasn't inventing anything new. A big positive was my first game in the NHL, it was great to be around the guys and I really enjoyed it.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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