2015 NHL Trade Deadline Live Blog

UPDATE 2:05 PM

Minnesota acquires Chris Stewart from Buffalo. No wonder why the Sabres waited so long, the return was just a 2017 second-round pick:

UPDATE 2:00 PM

The clock strikes midnight on the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, or well 3 PM Eastern. Buffalo sent Torrey Mitchell to Montreal for a prospect and pick:

Cam Atkinson was extended with Columbus, aka no soup for you:

Pittsburgh has a trade still pending:

It’s for defenseman Ben Lovejoy, a former Penguin:

Stewart deal being finalized:

UPDATE 1:45 PM

Just 15 minutes to go until the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline. No new trades to report as of now, but a few rumors out there:

UPDATE 1:30 PM

Remember that Olli Jokinen fellow who played with Nashville for a few months? Well he’s on his way back south of the border to St. Louis in exchange for a low draft pick:

UPDATE 1:15 PM

The slew of minor deals continue. Here is the latest rundown, with Jordan Leopold, a commonly moved deadline puzzle piece, going home to Minnesota:

This guy was also traded:

UPDATE 1:00 PM

One hour to go now on a SLOW trade deadline. Admirals broadcaster Aaron Sims shared this happy memory via Twitter:

UPDATE 12:49 PM

Per Daniel Lavender and Hockey Night in Canada, Buffalo, on a full tilt push to tank the season, intends to use a Shooter Tooter for the rest of the season in goal, aka Chad Johnson. They send Michal Neuvirth in exchange for Johnson and a 2016 third rounder.

UPDATE 12:39 PM

As we wait for Chris Stewart to get traded, St. Louis makes another move involving defensemen, acquiring Robert Bortuzzo and 2016 7th round draft choice for Ian Cole:

UPDATE 12:30 PM

A couple of low impact “depth” trades to report involving San Jose: Now journeyman forward Tyler Kennedy was traded to the New York Islanders today:

San Jose is getting a conditional third-round pick in the exchange:

UPDATE 12:03 PM

Trades coming fast and furious now. Ditching the whole Dion Phaneuf plan, Detroit is instead acquiring defenseman Marek Zidlicky from New Jersey for a third-round pick:

UPDATE 12:00 PM

Two hours until the deadline and we have, wait for it, a trade! Chicago makes a hockey deal with San Jose, sending Ben Smith to the Sharks for Andrew Desjardins, via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN/TSN:

UPDATE 11:05 AM

With just three hours until trade deadline, this is what I have to report via TSN’s Bob McKenzie, a couple of MINOR waiver claims by Arizona:

This is officially the dullest post Twitter Trade Deadline on record. Might be worth setting the snooze until noon. Michalek is done deal for Maxim Letunov, plus a conditional pick going along with the Arizona defender to St. Louis:

UPDATE 10:35 AM

A lot of conversation, not much action at this point. Talks going on involving Chris Stewart, the hottest trade chip at the moment, forward Matt Beleskey of Anaheim, goaltender Anntti Niemi of San Jose. defenseman James Wisniewski of Columbus and, of course, Phaneuf:

UPDATE 9:55 AM

Via CBC’s Elliotte Friedman and many other sources, Zbynek Michalek has been acquired by the Blues:

Also, a minor trade involving light scoring forward Brian Flynn of Buffalo going to Montreal in exchange for a 2016 fifth-round pick:

The most interesting thing I’ve read lately is that Detroit and Toronto are working on a possible deal for Dion Phaneuf. Forward Stephen Weiss would be going the other way in that trade, but the Red Wings seem unwilling to move young defenseman, and former Wisconsin Badger, Brendan Smith to make it happen.

UPDATE: 9:00 AM

Word via Twitter is that the trade deadline chatter is very quiet so far.

Though TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes St. Louis will soon acquire defenseman Zbynek Michalek:

Via Lyle Richardson of the Hockey News, five trade targets in play today are: Defensemen Marek Zidlicky, Jan Hejda and Zbynek Michalek, forward Chris Stewart and goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

UPDATE: 8:30 AM

Former Milwaukee Admirals Cody Franson (pictured) and Mike Santorelli kicked off the NHL's 2015 Trade Deadline in a big way, returning to the Nashville Predators organization from Toronto.

Former Milwaukee Admirals Cody Franson (pictured) and Mike Santorelli kicked off the NHL’s 2015 Trade Deadline in a big way, returning to the Nashville Predators organization from Toronto. Photo via Predators.NHL.com

Good morning Admirals Roundtable readers,

Today is the final day for National Hockey League teams to adjust their rosters via trades prior to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This year’s postseason tournament will most likely feature the Nashville Predators as one of the league’s top Cup contenders, as the team currently carries the NHL’s best record at 41-15-7–89 points.

Nashville was involved in one of the first major trades of deadline season, repatriating former Predators/Milwaukee Admirals Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli, from Toronto in exchange for Olli Jokinen, then-Admirals top scorer Brendan Leipsic and the team’s 2015 first-round pick. That deal was predicated four days earlier by the huge Winnipeg/Buffalo swap of Evander Kane, et al., for Tyler Myers & Drew Stafford, et al.

Beyond those blockbusters, some of the names in play that have already moved included defensemen Andrej Sekera, Tim Gleason, former IHL-Admiral and Predator Kimmo Timonen, John Moore, T.J. Brennan and Jack Hillen, plus forwards Jaromir Jagr, Jiri Tlusty, David Clarkson, Antoine Vermette, Tomas Fleischmann and former Wisconsin Badgers star Dany Healtley. Yesterday saw arguably the best player moved so far in Arizona defenseman Keith Yandle, along with Curtis Glencross, Erik Cole, Lee Stempniak and James Sheppard also changing teams. Late night/early morning deals saw defensemen Braydon Coburn and Jeff Petry, plus forward Brett Connolly all relocate.

It should be a fun an interesting day with some big names with term in their contracts still in play, notably Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessell, while to a lesser extent there are some rental players still available. After their big trade with Toronto, Nashville might be quiet, but Predators GM Poile rarely shies away from a good deadline deal to bolster the club’s playoff chances.

Check back often for our latest updates and feel free to comment throughout the day!

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Anthony Bitetto’s Road To Nashville

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Anthony Bitetto’s path to the NHL is something that has done the AHL and ECHL proud. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

When operating at the American Hockey League level you are always bound to come across some very good stories. Last year, for example, saw two really great stories come out of the Milwaukee Admirals. Scott Darling was able to grasp an opportunity from the organization’s injury woes at the goaltending position and set himself up for the year he has had this season. Darling has made it as an NHL product of his boyhood team growing up, the Chicago Blackhawks, and recently signed a two-year extension. Equally as great of a story was seeing Mark Van Guilder‘s long awaited and deserved first career NHL game after playing 387 career games between the AHL and ECHL before making it to the show.

This season’s feel good story has been the rise of defenseman Anthony Bitetto. It was two years ago when he made his professional playing debut in the Nashville Predators system and he was able to make his NHL debut back in January. What has made Bitetto’s story so great to follow is how greatly it reflects the developmental process of the Nashville system. Bitetto’s career path has seen him go through Milwaukee and Cincinnati en route to logging ice time in the NHL. It says plenty about both the organization and the man himself.

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Tough Sledding Continues; Ads lose 4-1

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Chicago Wolves don’t appear to update their photo gallery much. So here is a photo of a sad Marek Mazanec to nail the feelings home because sad. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals lost 4-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves Sunday afternoon. Outside of a power-play goal from Viktor Stalberg in the second period this was nearly a carbon copy performance for the Ads from Friday night when they were outworked by the Grand Rapids Griffins. Shane Harper took over for the Wolves in the second period with two goals and the game just never came in gear for the Admirals – who are now on a five game winless stretch.

This game kicked off with a dust up. Cody Beach caught Taylor Aronson up high with a check and was called for a rough on the hit. Rich Clune wanted to send the early message back at the Wolves and went right after him for a fight. By doing so, it nullified the power-play because Clune was tabbed with an instigator and misconduct.

What resulted was a poorly executed breakout play that led to a Wolves goal moments later. Kevin Fiala was starting the breakout from behind the net and Adam Burish got a stick to the pass to keep the puck in zone. The bouncing puck kicked on up towards the net and Burish got his shot off in front of teammate Ty Rattie to score his ninth goal of the season.

Things went from bad to worse as the first period went on. Mike Liambas suffered a scary looking leg injury after trying to deliver a check to Jani Hakanpaa following an offensive zone faceoff for the Admirals. Liambas got the check on Hakanpaa, bounced off of him, and crashed legs first into the boards with speed. He immediately clutched his lower shin and called for help off the bench. He required trainer Doug Agnew to get off the ice. Early report from Aaron Sims was that the team has stated Liambas did not suffer a break or sprain.

Having earned a power-play that carried over into the second period, the Admirals got level with the Wolves early through Viktor Stalberg’s eighth goal of the season. Viktor Arvidsson carried the puck down deep into the left wing and sucked the penalty killing unit of the Wolves in on him. He passed over to the opposite wing for the one-timed shot of Stalberg which bashed off the post and off of Jordan Binnington’s back and in for the power-play goal.

It then became the Shane Harper show. The Wolves winger scored two flashy goals back-to-back to give the Wolves a 3-1 lead. His first of the game saw him deke Jimmy Oligny off the right wing, power off Aronson, and poke the puck in past Hellberg. His second was a bit more simple. Harper set up low on the right wing circle and wired a shot against the grain of Hellberg high blocker side. Harper now has twenty-five goals on the season.

In the final minute of the second period the Wolves were able to net goal number four. Yannick Veilleux was able to get a redirect of a Hakanpaa point shot while fending off Aronson to score his sixth goal of the season. With the end of the second period came the end of Hellberg’s game in net. He stopped 17/21 shots on goal before giving way to Marek Mazanec for the third period.

The third period would cruise on by with no real quality chances on goal for the Admirals who are now on a five game losing streak. In their last four games the Admirals have also allowed four goals in each game. The Admirals only have a single win from their last eight games and are seeing the likes of Grand Rapids and Rockford both climb a little bit farther away in the Midwest Division standings.

Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Zach Budish (healthy), Joe Piskula (lower body), and Jonathan Diaby (healthy). After leaving the game with what would probably best be described as a “lower body” injury – Mike Liambas did not return to the game. The Admirals next play on Wednesday night when they take to the road against the Lake Erie Monsters. Of the next nine games on the schedule for the Admirals seven are road games.

What are your reactions from today’s game? What’s it going to take for the Admirals to get back on a roll? Is there any one particular issue that you’re noticing during this bad spell or is it a multitude of problems creeping out at once?

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Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)

Jordan Binnington has had a great first full season in the AHL. After the Admirals were shutout what will it take for them to put pucks past him and the Chicago Wolves this afternoon? (Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)

Remember how the Admirals were shutout by the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-0? Welp, while we were all enjoying a day off, the Griffins and Petr Mrázek did it again. They shutout today’s opponents, the Chicago Wolves, 5-0 to push their point streak to 12 games and lead over the Admirals to 6 points.

~Short & Sweet~

The Amtrak Rivals currently have a record of 27-21-5-1 (60 points) which sees them in fourth place of the Midwest Division and ninth in the Western Conference. They trail the Admirals for third place in the division by 6 points and each have played 54 games on the season.

The Wolves are 6-4-0-0 (12 points) in their last 10 games. They’ve lost back-to-back games in regulation, both at home, by a combined score of 10-2. They have a +9 goal scoring differential (149 goals forced, 140 goals allowed). Their power-play at home ranks twenty-second in the league, 13.8% conversion rate, and penalty kill at home is twenty-eighth with a 79.3% kill rate.

~On To The Next Big Bad Goalie~

Jordan Binnington‘s first full season of AHL work has been rather successful. He’s been first choice goalie over Matt Climie this season for Chicago and has earned that role. Binnington has a record of 18-12-3-1 in net with a 2.42 goals against average, 0.913 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.

In the last month Binnington was the work horse in net. He played in all 9 games for the Wolves last month, won 5 games, had a 2.37 goals against average, 0.919 save percentage, and shutout. It’s worth saying though that he started to wear down by the end of February. He lost his last 2 games and allowed 7 goals in those contests. He started yesterday’s game against the Griffins but was pulled after two periods of play.

~Lacking Their Ignitor~

It’s not that Ty Rattie isn’t on the ice but that he hasn’t been playing like himself for nearly two months. Through the 2014 side of the calendar Rattie had 22 points (15 goals, 7 assists). Since? He has only produced 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 16 games.

When looking into his shots per game totals it isn’t as if things are going too wrong but he is falling off a cliff: October, 4.2 shots per game… November, 3.0 shots per game… December, 3.0 shots per game… January, 2.7 shots per game…February, 4.0.

Could be a slight funk. Perhaps he’s playing with a nagging injury? The fact remains that the biggest weapon in the Wolves arsenal right now has flamed out. Comes as no surprise to see the Wolves results coming and going with Rattie’s form, either.

Expectations for tonight’s game? Which team will rebound with a win tonight? What do the Admirals need to do to get their offense back and rolling?

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Admiral of the Month: February

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Colton Sissons has been one of the most reliable Admirals over the last month. He’s our pick for the Admiral of the Month. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Let’s welcome in the month of March by giving a wave to the best performances from February. When looking back at all that happened in the last month there’s been a lot of hot and cold results but some pretty good performances. The top of which for me comes from my pick, Colton Sissons.

Sissons scored 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 11 games during the month of February. His start to the season in scoring was nothing like what we saw last season. It took him 25 games before even recording an assist. Jump ahead to the present and it feels like he’s game is right back where it was last season. He has played great on both sides of the puck, has been a provider, and his goal scoring touch has picked back up.

Notable Mentions: Viktor Arvidsson, 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists)… Kevin Fiala, 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists)… Triston Grant, 9 points (6 goals, 3 assists)… Mike Liambas, (work on wing and defense)… Jonathan Diaby, (work and improvement on defense).

~Admiral of the Month Award~

October: Brendan Leipsic
November: Magnus Hellberg
December: Marek Mazanec
January: Viktor Arvidsson
February: Colton Sissons

Who was your pick for the top performing Admiral in the month of January? Please write a comment down below as to who and why.

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The Chatterbox, Vol. 71

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

This is what Chris Bruton looked like after fighting Triston Grant. How Bruton looked is also how we all felt inside after the game ended. (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

What can you say? The Grand Rapids Griffins storm rolled the Milwaukee Admirals last night in a 4-0 shutout. It felt like the Griffins had the game on cruise control for the better majority of the contest. There was about a ten minute or less spell for the Admirals to close the second period. The game was 1-0 at that time. Instead of carrying their first whisper of momentum into the third the Griffins took hold of the game and never let go.

At the start of the season the Admirals played a speed and stretch pass game which had them beating teams almost on skill alone. When the rest of the league wised up in December it hit them hard. What followed was January’s “play the right way” campaign and things really appeared to not only be trending upwards for the Admirals but looked as if that’s the type team balance that should be expected moving forward.

February’s slate of games ended with the shutout loss to Grand Rapids last night. The final mark established in the month for the Admirals was 4-4-2-1. They’ve recorded only a single win from their last seven games and of those losses four came in regulation including the last two straight on home ice.

It’s hard to determine what the problem is but it’s easy enough to through darts at the idea board. For example, having the amount of injuries, call ups, PTO signings, etc can’t be the most ideal scenario for a team to get on or maintain any sort of groove. That being said, those moves and injury problems were really targeted at the defense. It’s the offense that has had its share of hot and cold performances in February. At the start of this month there was a three-game winning streak where the Admirals posted a grand total of seventeen goals. This current four-game losing streak that the Admirals are on? Twelve goals.

You certainly prefer to go through stretches such as this now rather than playoff time. My line of thinking is that, with so many banged up parts getting back into the lineup, the Admirals are better suited to rebounding and getting back to their good vibes of “playing the right way” soon enough rather than sputtering again and again. If you look at what the month of March brings it’s a hefty chunk of games – specifically road games. The Admirals will be playing fifteen games – as opposed to the eleven games they had this month – and nine games of that grouping are all on the road – including a massive six game road trip.

After the game I was able to speak with Dean Evason and Triston Grant before Billy Currington exploded the stage with loud noises. Here is what both had to say following the shutout loss to Grand Rapids.

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Mrázek Does It To Milwaukee Again; Ads shutout 4-0

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

Petr Mrázek has always been solid against the Milwaukee Admirals. That story continued once again tonight. (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

The Admirals were shutout 4-0 by Petr Mrázek and the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night. It’s the third career shutout by Mrázek against the Admirals in twelve career performances. The Ads now have only one win from their last seven games and have fallen down the pecking order in the Midwest Division.

It could have gone much worse but the first period was about as sluggish of a start as the Admirals have had all season. Their first shot came 9:57 into the frame and they were outshot in the period 12-6.

It’s probably no surprise then that the Griffins were able to generate a goal out of that opening period. After a counter rush back up ice for the Griffins, that saw a two-on-one pass for Andy Miele flame out, they capitalized off of an Admirals defense that was scrambling. Scott Czarnowczan stepped up from the point and got to the left side of Marek Mazanec. He fed on over to a wide open back door where Marek Tvrdon had a tap in for his seventh goal of the season.

After Petr Mrazek was called for a trip, the Griffins scored shorthanded in the third period to push their lead to 2-0. Tomas Nosek raced down the left wing and fought off the backcheck of Taylor Aronson before cutting across goal to go forehand to backhand past the extended left pad of Mazanec. The goal was Nosek’s sixth of the season and the Admirals seventh shorthanded goal allowed this season.

Jeff Hoggan scored midway through the third period to make it a 3-0 game. Xavier Ouellet’s stretch pass deflected off of Colton Sissons stick in neutral ice and wobbled its way perfectly in line with the Griffins captain. Hoggan finished off his breakaway with a forehand over the glove of Mazanec to score his eighth goal of the season.

The Admirals finally had enough of being bossed around and things exploded with Rich Clune instigating a small brawl. The fracas spilled into a secondary fight between Triston Grant and Chris Bruton. Grant bloodied up Bruton and the crowd finally had something to cheer about.

In the closing minutes the Admirals burned their timeout and pulled Mazanec in the hopes of a miraculous comeback. That of course didn’t happen. What did happen was a long range empty netter for Landon Ferraro for his twenty-second goal of the season to seal the game at its 4-0 final.

The defeat pushes the Griffins that much further ahead in the Midwest Division. They now have a four-point gap over the Admirals. Combine that with the results out of the Rockford IceHogs tonight and the Ads have fallen to third place in the division.

Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Joe Pendenza (healthy), Joe Piskula (lower body), and Garrett Noonan (healthy). Johan Alm made his return to the Admirals after missing the previous thirty-two straight games due to a wrist injury. Jimmy Oligny returned after missing the last ten games due to a right knee injury. And Ian White returned after missing the last two games with the Admirals due to a family emergency. This was also Anthony Bitetto’s first game in the AHL since 2/15/15 when the Admirals played against the Lake Erie Monsters.

Thoughts on the performance tonight? Could you sum this game up by the Admirals being rusty and the Griffins being hot? What’s happened to the Admirals during the finish to the month of February?

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Griffins: Scouting the Enemy

Team-22615-1

Yesterday’s practice was an eye opener. Every single Admiral on the roster, except for Miikka Salomaki, was on the ice.

After a good six days between games, the Milwaukee Admirals are back in action tonight with the new leaders of the Midwest Division in their sights. The Grand Rapids Griffins played on Tuesday night on the road against the Iowa Wild. Once the Wild figured out that they were playing a team that wasn’t from Milwaukee or named the Admirals they simply stood no chance and the Griffins claimed sole possession of the Midwest Division for the first time all season with a comfortable 6-2 win.

~Long Story Short~

The Griffins overall record is 31-17-5-1 (68 points) and they’ve been riding a 10 game point streak (8-0-2-0). Their goal differential of +38 (174 goals forced, 136 goals allowed) is the best in the Western Conference and second to only the Manchester Monarch’s +41 (160 GF, 119 GA) in the AHL.

 ~The Mrázek Factor~

The last time we saw the Griffins I was having what I would consider a minor panic attack when seeing that Petr Mrázek was on the Grand Rapids roster. The coaching staff saw it best for him to be re-introduced to their lineup slowly rather than straight into the firing line and he sat on the bench for that game. We will probably not be so lucky tonight.

Mrázek has played in 3 games for the Griffins since his recent reassignment from the Detroit Red Wings. Gasp. Shock. Awe. He has won them all. His statline from those games sees him holding a 1.30 goals against average, 0.957 save percentage, and a shutout. So, same ol’ same ol’ for him.

As mentioned in the previous scouting report on the Griffins – Mrázek is a known Admiral Killer. His career totals in the head-to-head against Milwaukee is: 11 games, 7-3-0-1 record, 1.66 goals against average, 0.934 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.

If he has hit the ground running back at the AHL level it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him in net, sucking the life out of a packed concert night crowd, and making life miserable on Admirals shooters. The game plan, as you could say with any goalie of this caliber, is rather simple. Screen him, take his sight-lines away, throw pucks early and often, and crash the net for loose pucks. To beat Mrázek will mean generating and capitalizing on second and third chance opportunities. Bank on it… but, mostly, just hope that Jared Coreau starts instead.

~No Pulkkinen, No Callahan, No Problem~

The run that the Griffins have been on has basically been accomplished with out two of their best forwards. Teemu Pulkkinen remains up in the NHL playing for the Red Wings. And, in a bit of sad news, Mitch Callahan will be done for the rest of the 2014-15 season with a third-degree ACL tear in his right knee.

So who has been picking up all the slack? Who has been the man that has taken the reigns? Look no further than the last time we faced the Griffins and the guy who scored with 0.4 seconds remaining to tie the game and then won it in overtime, Andy Miele. This month the 26-year old forward has produced 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 10 games. His scoring currently leads active players on the Griffins roster.

~The Admirals Revamped Defense~

There will be a few returning faces to the Admirals defense tonight. Johan Alm is set to play his first game since early-December. He has missed 32 consecutive games with a wrist injury. Also returning from injury will be Jimmy Oligny who had tweaked his right knee on a scary collision into the end boards at the end of January. He missed the Admirals previous 10 games. For one more addition, Ian White -who had missed the last two games following the loss of his grandmother- will also be back in the lineup.

In total, you’ll have three returning faces to the Admirals defense. That’s not even counting the returning Anthony Bitetto from his latest spell in the NHL. The biggest of those returns will be Alm who was going to be a big player in the system this season. It feels like it has been forever since he was in a game. Alm has only played 21 of the Admirals 53 games this season. While the injury itself was unfortunate the positive spin to take from this is that it means a 100% healthy Alm at the start of the playoff crunch. That’s a very welcome boost.

~We Talking About Practice, Man~

I had attended practice yesterday and everyone was on the ice for the Admirals except for Miikka Salomäki – who remains sidelined with an upper body injury. Joe Piskula was back on the ice skating and could be a week or so away from making a return to the team. The good news for him and the Admirals is that there is no rush to get Piskula back on the ice now that so many bodies are back on defense. I think it would be best for the Admirals captain to fully heal before returning to game action. Early projection on him was four to six weeks. Doubt it even makes four weeks. But I think it best for the team that

Interested in what the lines looked like? Some lines really kicked around wildly – especially on defense. These are more-or-less what they looked like throughout the practice:

Stålberg-Sissons-Fiala
Arvidsson-Watson-Åberg
Clune-Van Guilder-Grant
Liambas-Girard-Budish (Pendenza)

Alm-Bitetto
Diaby-White (Noonan)
Oligny-Aronson

And you’re usual suspects were both in net. Garrett Noonan cycled a few times. Joe Pendenza also played a bit of center and wing with that fourth line. I get the impression those two will be the odd men out tomorrow night.

Interview with head coach Dean Evason (2/26/15):

Expectations for tonight’s game? Was this time off what the Admirals needed as a team to regroup and get back to winning games? How will the re-introduction of Alm, Oligny, White, and Bitetto go on defense?

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Anthony Bitetto Reassigned to the Admirals

Bitetto-21915-1

From the ECHL to the NHL, Anthony Bitetto has enjoyed quite the ride this season being able to play games for the Nashville Predators. That includes a game that had him starting in his home state of New York to play the Islanders.

Ahead of tonight’s Nashville Predators game at home against the Colorado Avalanche they’ve made a roster move. Anthony Bitetto will be returning to the Milwaukee Admirals. Our defensive core is starting to get its numbers back and bodies healthier all of the sudden.

Bitetto has played 7 games in the NHL this season with the Predators. He hasn’t picked up points on offense yet but has a plus/minus rating of -1 and 7 penalty minutes – all of which came from his fight with Brett Connolly in his Nashville home playing debut. I would go as far as to say that his highlight so far would be getting the start in the Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders. Had to be quite a cool moment for a guy from Island Park, New York to be able to do that.

With Bitetto back the Admirals defensive numbers just went up. Jimmy Oligny is expected to return this weekend. There’s a good chance Ian White also rejoins the team. And Johan Alm should be closing in on a return from his lengthy injury as well. Jared Nightingale‘s services were no longer required. Jaynen Rissling was returned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. If the bodies keep getting healthy, looking at you now Joe Piskula, it could mean seeing Garrett Noonan returning to Cincinnati. I feel as if the team would rather keep guys on the outside looking in to play big minutes in the ECHL rather than not at all. How the team pans out once Oligny, Alm, and Piskula are all back to game shape is a tricky question to figured out actually. Good problem to have that depth, though.

How big of a boost will it be to have the names mentioned above returning to the Admirals soon? How big of a loss was Johan Alm to the Admirals this season and will having him return fresh for the playoff push be a massive bonus to the team? Is Ian White possibly an odd man out with the names above due to return?

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Admirals Release Nightingale, Reassign Rissling to Cincinnati

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Jared Nightingale provided the Admirals a veteran touch on defense in a desperate time. That’s basically been the story of his entire season as he’s played for four different AHL teams on PTO contracts. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals defense looks set to be getting bodies back soon. Jimmy Oligny has been cleared for game action and was actually a healthy scratch last game with the team electing it best to give him this current week off to prepare for his return back Friday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Johan Alm has also returned to skating and could be coming back soon enough, as well.

The result of these updates, combined with a potential Ian White and Anthony Bitetto return to the Admirals at some point, are probably what signaled the moves that followed Saturday night’s game. Jared Nightingale was released from his PTO contract with the Admirals and Jaynen Rissling was reassigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.

Nightingale made the Admirals his fourth AHL pit stop of the 2014-15 season. He had previously played with the Hartford Wolf Pack, Norfolk Admirals, and Grand Rapids Griffins in addition to some time with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL. In his time with the Admirals he played in 6 games, didn’t score a point of offense, had a plus/minus rating of -2, and 4 penalty minutes.

Rissling paired with the veteran Nightingale during his first ever taste of the AHL. Rissling had spent his entire 2014-15 campaign with the Cyclones until the injury spell in the organizations up top got him the look up here in Milwaukee. He played in 5 games, didn’t score, also had a -2 rating, and -also- had 4 penalty minutes.

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