Rangers believe Wolf Pack goalie Dylan Garand is on ‘right path’ for larger workload

This past May, the Hartford Wolf Pack was facing elimination in the division finals of the 2023 Calder Cup playoffs after it had lost the first two games of the best-of-three series to the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ AHL affiliate.

Goalie Dylan Garand had played all eight postseason games for Hartford up until that point.

He had two shutouts, a 1.76 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage, both of which ranked second among all AHL goalies in the postseason.

Then, Hartford head coach Kris Knoblauch called Garand a couple of days before Game 3 and him that veteran netminder Louis Domingue would get the start against Hershey.

The 21-year-old Garand said he was naturally disappointed, but the Rangers’ 2020 fourth-round pick and top goaltending prospect also understood.

“He really didn’t have to do that at all,” a modest Garand told The Post after the second day of rookie camp in Tarrytown. “I understand why. Not that I played badly in the first two games at all, it was just we have a veteran guy there and he hadn’t gotten to play. We just lost two in a row, so I mean, it was totally understandable.

Matthew Robertson and goaltender Dylan Garand practice during the Rangers’ training camp at Madison Square Garden Training Center.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

“Personally, it was a little disappointing, for sure. I wanted to be out there with the guys. But it was a good learning experience.”

Domingue, whom the Rangers signed to a two-year, $1.55 million deal last July, wasn’t able to make a difference and the Wolf Pack were officially swept with a 3-1 loss.

Under the circumstances at that time, it made sense for the Hartford coaching staff to pivot to Domingue.

Maybe he could’ve given the team a boost and turned the series around.

But it doesn’t change the fact that Garand should be the Rangers organization’s priority, and that should reflect in his workload this upcoming season.

Domingue, a 31-year-old journeyman who has 142 NHL games on his résumé, played 45 games last season, while Garand saw action in 32.

Garand was just OK during his first full professional regular season, in which he finished with a .894 save percentage.

He gave up from five to seven goals five times and posted a 3.01 goals-against average.

Robert Sabo for NY Post

After a promising playoff run, however, Garand should receive the bulk of Hartford’s starts this upcoming season.

“I wasn’t really sure if I was going to get the opportunity,” Garand said of the postseason. “Fortunately, I did. I knew I was ready and my mindset was just to go in there and give the guys a chance to win.”

Domingue may have been a necessary signing for the Rangers’ organizational depth, and winning may be the ultimate goal on all levels, but Garand needs to seize the No. 1 role in Hartford sooner rather than later for the sake of his development.

This summer, Garand said he has focused on the technical side of his game, particularly hand positioning and tracking pucks.

But the Canadian netminder has also worked a lot on his mental game.

Garand began seeing a mental performance coach to eliminate his overthinking and improve his confidence.

“He had a good season,” John Lilley, the Rangers’ Director of Player Personnel and Amateur Scouting, said of Garand. “He grew as a 20-year-old goaltender. It’s very, very tough to establish yourself and he had a good year. He got better as it went along. He’s on the right path. We’re excited about his upcoming year.”



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