S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E!!!

Hartford Wolf Pack CT Lottery In Monday morning’s AHL Transactions list comes imagine our surprise to see this little shocker. “03/28/2010 – Corey Locke (C) – Hartford – DEL – Recalled from loan by N.Y. Rangers (NHL)”

Who the diminutive Locke could be replacing is hard to figure. Locke has played in just one game in the NHL where he had no points.

The only realistic estimation in our view is that they are evaluating him in terms of resigning potential for the Wolf Pack.

While Locke is a very good and offensively talented AHL player, he is clearly not an NHL caliber competitor.

The Toronto native doesn’t skate nearly hard enough. He avoids contact at all costs, and who can blame him. Generously listed at 5-9, 189 pounds, he’s too small and slight to go into any of the high traffic areas.

Locke is the AHL’s third leading scorer with 29 goals, 51 helpers for 80 points in 73 games. He also has 44 minutes of time in the penalty box. Most of Locke’s calls are of the Hooking/Holding/Interference variety.

It will be interesting to see how and where John Tortorella uses him. He can’t play him on the fourth line. Like P.A. Parenteau, Locke isn’t cut out for that. He needs to be used in an offensive capacity. Maybe the thought process is to use him on the wing in place of Sean Avery?

If that’s the case, Dale Weise, who, with Parenteau and Locke off the roster, is now the Wolf Pack’s top offensive threat with 25 goals and 21 assists for 46 points in 70 games (68th overall), would have been a far better decision. For that matter so would Dane Byers, who has been good each time he’s been recalled by the Rangers.

The Rangers are in action Tuesday night in Long Island against the Islanders at 7pm on MSG.

Here’s the official release:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that forward Corey Locke has been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Locke, 25, has registered 11 points (five goals and six assists) in the last nine games with Hartford, including a season-high six-game point streak from March 10 at Worcester to March 21 vs. Providence.  He has tallied 29 goals and 51 assists for 80 points in 73 AHL contests this season.  Locke currently ranks third in the AHL in scoring with a career-high 80 points, and ranks fifth in assists and tied for ninth in goals.  He is also tied for the league lead with 18 power play goals, and leads Hartford with 189 shots on goal.  Locke has tied his career-high with a team-high 23 multi-point performances, including two four-point efforts on October 31 vs. Providence (one goal and three assists) and November 19 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (two goals and two assists).  The Toronto, Ontario native was selected to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic for the fourth consecutive season, recording one assist for the Canadian AHL All-Star Team on January 19.  In addition, Locke was named the AHL Player of the Month for November, registering 19 points (five goals and 14 assists) and a plus-six rating in 13 contests during the month.

Locke was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on July 3, 2009.  He was originally Montreal’s fourth round selection, 113th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The Blueshirts continue their six-game road trip tomorrow, March 30, when they will face off against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m.), in an Atlantic Division matchup.  The Rangers won their last meeting with the Islanders, 5-0, on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.  The Rangers power play has registered five goals in 20 attempts (25.0%) vs. the Islanders this season, while the Blueshirts penalty kill has surrendered just one goal in 17 times shorthanded (94.1%) in the season series.  The game will be televised live on MSG Network and can be heard on 1050 ESPN Radio.

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