Welcome to Wolves Insider, presented by Are You Really Winning?: The weekly report that gives you an inside look at the latest Chicago Wolves news and happenings. Look for a new edition of Wolves Insider each Tuesday.
MALTE STROMWALL making his points
It has been a season of adjustments for Wolves winger Malte Stromwall — and those adjustments are paying off in a big way.
The 28-year-old from Lulea, Sweden, spent the previous five seasons playing overseas — including the last four in the KHL — before joining the defending Calder Cup champions. So it is no surprise it took some time for Stromwall to find his game.
But find it he has. Stromwall is tied with Jamieson Rees for the Wolves scoring lead with 27 points.
“It was almost six years that I was away from the North American style of the game,” said Stromwall, who has eight goals and a team-leading 19 assists. “It was an adjustment in knowing where to skate and knowing how to pick up speed in the right areas.”
Stromwall tops the Wolves with 86 shots on goal and trails only Rees with 0.71 points per game (Rees is 0.77).
“(In the KHL), you can hold onto the puck longer and here we have pressure all the time,” Stromwall said. “You have to make quicker plays and be stronger on the puck. Doing that better has lifted my game. Now, I can just focus on keep being aggressive out there and being creative with the puck and creating offense while playing a good two-way game.”
With 30 regular-season games remaining, Stromwall plans to continue to lead the way offensively.
“Ever since I became pro I’ve been offensive-minded player,” he said. “When I’m producing it means I’m playing well, too. That’s what I expect from myself.”
CAPTAIN MAX LENDS A HELPING HAND
On Monday, Wolves captain Max Lajoie joined other AHL All-Stars to participate in an ice-skating clinic with 20 students from disadvantage areas around Montreal.
Associated with the Bleu Blanc Bouge Program (with the Montreal Canadiens Foundation), the community initiative featured students interacting with the All-Stars as they learned to skate.
That evening, Lajoie took the ice for the Central Division in the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic and earned an assist during the three-on-three tournament.
Brews & Bites
Throughout January, the Wolves spotlighted Mental Health Awareness, culminating in the team donning commemorative jerseys on Jan. 28 and 29 that were then auctioned to benefit local charities to help those with mental health-related issues.
The initiatives were a rousing success, with the Golden Ticket Raffle featuring forward Brendan Perlini’s jersey, special mental health T-shirts, mystery pucks and players’ game-worn Mental Health Awareness jerseys all selling out. Jerseys worn by mascot Skates, goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov and winger Stelio Mattheos drew the highest bids.
“It was just an amazing response from the organizations that came out as well as the fans,” Wolves President of Operations, Courtney Mahoney, said. “I can’t say enough how terrific our fans are and the support they give to our charitable endeavors.”
The organization’s charitable efforts will continue throughout the season, including the upcoming Brews & Bites event Feb. 16 at Crust Brewing in Rosemont. For $60 per person, fans can sample freshly brewed beers, enjoy delicious food, interact with Wolves players Zack Hayes, Josh Melnick, Zachary Sawchenko, Ryan Suzuki, Cavan Fitzgerald, Joseph LaBate and Nathan Sucese (subject to change) and bid on raffle and auction items. Those attending will also receive a free gift and proceeds will go to Chicago Wolves Charities, driven by Kia.
“We are super excited about Brews and Bites as it is a great chance to not only raise money for charity, but to really interact with this great group of players off the ice and get to know their personalities a bit more,” Mahoney said.
To register for Brews & Bites, go here.
Goal of the Week
During the Wolves’ 3-2 victory over the Monsters on Saturday in Cleveland, center Jamieson Rees unleashed a terrific individual effort to tie the game at 2-2 in the second.
Weekly rewind (1-1-0-0)
FRIDAY, FEB. 3
Monsters 2, Wolves 1: Tuukka Tieksola scored for the Wolves but the defending Calder Cup champions fell when Roman Ahcan found the back of the net with 16.5 seconds remaining in the third period to give Cleveland the win.
SATURDAY, FEB. 4
Wolves 3, Monsters 2: Jamieson Rees had a goal and assist while Malte Stromwall and Max Lajoie also scored to help the Wolves split the weekend series in Cleveland.
First Star of the Week
Where we stand
16-22-3-1, seventh in the Central Division.
|Friday, Feb. 10||vs. Iowa||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
|Saturday, Feb. 11||at Iowa||6 p.m.||Wells Fargo Arena||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, Feb. 15||vs. Milwaukee||11 a.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Feb. 18||vs. Cleveland||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
|Sunday, Feb. 19||vs. Cleveland||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2022-23 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.