Offense (B-): Clearly, coach Lane Lambert has some work to do with Milwaukee in making the Admirals a more dangerous offensive hockey team. Other than Linus Klasen and a few other players, Milwaukee isn’t blessed with an abundance of firepower. Therefore the offense has to come by way of committee effort–a Nashville trademark. Prior to the road trip, the Admirals got goals from players on their top three lines, but that dried up some in Texas and Oklahoma. Milwaukee averages 2.55 goals per game, which is not going to cut it long term.
Defense (B+): This might have been the hardest grade for me to judge. 90% of time Milwaukee has really impressed me in their own end, preventing their opponent from getting quality scoring chances against. Allowing just 2.36 goals against per game is a testament to the Admirals efforts in the defensive zone. However, lapses at bad times have proved punishing for Milwaukee.
Goaltending (A-): If this only had to do with the performance of Mark Dekanich, I would state it as an A or A+, but No. 2 slot has hardly been reliable so far for Milwaukee. It’s nice to see Jeremy Smith picking up some much needed wins for the Admirals, but Milwaukee really needs Chet Pickard to elevate his game to the higher level he seems more than capable of reaching, but for some reason hasn’t found yet.
Special Teams (C-): Carrying a power play ranked 20th in the AHL at 15.8% and penalty kill ranked 18th working at an 82.1% efficiency just isn’t going to cut it long term. The power play in particular went cold as the Admirals headed south on the road. For a team that struggles at times to score goals, special teams could prove to be a decisive weapon for Milwaukee competing against more offensively gifted clubs.
Final Grade (A-): Milwaukee has far exceeded my expectations through the first quarter of the season, which is a credit to Lambert efforts and the efforts of the team as a whole. The Admirals were a young and unproven club to start the year, but prior the extended road trip the club was starting to form solid identity as a tough team to play against. But don’t mistake young and unproven for a lack of talent. There is plenty of talent in Milwaukee to build a winning hockey club, and so far Lambert has the Admirals heading in the right direction toward to a berth in the AHL playoffs.
So Roundtable, What are your grades for the Admirals so far?