It’s time once again for…..the annual Admirals Roundtable Paper Plate Awards!
Yeah, it’s a fluff piece as we wait for Game 1 to roll around on Friday….but it gives us a chance to reflect on the last 76 games, toast some players, roast some others, and get the readers into the mix too — there will be a couple READER’S CHOICE opportunities, so be creative and we’ll pick a winner.
2 – Teemu Laakso – “I Don’t Get No Respect” Award – Few gave him much of a chance to make the Preds out of camp. But he started the season with the big club and played in nine games through November 8th. But he was sent to Milwaukee for good at the start of December. Here, he was his usual steady stay-at-home self, but watched guys pass him on the depth chart. No respect, I tell ya.
3—Jeff Foss – Cinncinnati Express Award – Foss accumulated the most miles going between Cincy and Milwaukee this year. And when he has had the chance to play, he has more than held his own. If he has a regular role in Milwaukee next year, I think that might work out pretty well.
4 – Scott Ford – The Wyatt Erp Award – Instead of a “C” on his shirt, it should be an “S” for the Sherriff. Challenged to lead a young group of defensemen, Ford was great in the locker room, and solid on the ice. He’s still responsible in his own end, and will NEVER be confused for Nolan Yonkman. Another solid year from Fordo.
5 – Blake Geoffrion – Most Likely To Be Yesterday’s News Award – The best public relations story last year was significantly below the fold this year. Geoffrion was hurt early in Nashville, and when he was sent to Milwaukee for good, Coach Trotz had said that he didn’t have enough production or impact. And that’s kind of how I feel about his 20 games with the Admirals this year. He didn’t dominate at this level, and he really wasn’t noticeable in doing the little things that don’t end up in the box score either. Can’t help but wonder if Montreal/Hamilton fans will be writing similar things at this time next season.
6 – Ryan Ellis – Most Likely To Be A Human Rocketship Award – Loved the video. Bit of a learning curve early on (and we were very critical early on), but as soon as he started playing with more consistency, his days were numbered in Milwaukee. Also, Ellis has the most dedicated/vocal fans we’ve seen on the blog in a long time. We’re happy for his success.
7 – Jon Blum – The Righting The Ship Award – When he was first sent down, we didn’t like his game. A lot of the readers didn’t either. But I would argue that down the stretch, he was one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Mistakes and bad decisions dwindled, and he was an impact defenseman on both ends of the ice.
8 – Ryan Thang – The Bookends Award – “Time it was and what a time it was, it was.” A hot start to the season, and a hot end to the regular season. Five goals in his first six games, three in his last two games, and ten goals in the 67 games in between. I think expectations were a little higher for him this year, but if he steps it up in the playoffs, I’ll be happy to re-write this one.
10 – Ryan Flynn – “Are You Blazin Hot?” Award – Buffalo Wild Wings sure gets a lot of face time. Chicken dance. Chicken toss. Blazin hot minute. And a scoreboard “make some noise” video starring Ryan Flynn. On the ice, he had some great chemistry with Mark Van Guilder, and late in the season, that line was neutralizing the top lines of opponents.
15 – Kevin Henderson – Ryan Maki Award – For not making the clear day roster, but playing every game down the stretch. And playing very well – he was a great mid-season addition to the team.
16 – Ben Ryan – The Golden Tones Award – For getting to sing TWO solos of the 12 days of Christmas video. Three fighting Irish and twelve sweaty towels.
17 – Michael Latta – READER’S CHOICE! Lots to choose from…something about all the signs fans bring to the arena with his name on them…..something about coming out of the penalty box without a jersey to join the brawl….lots of ways you can go…..submit your best!
18 – Chris Mueller – Coffee Is For Closers Award – Mueller was 3rd in the league in game winning goals, and was scoring a lot of big goals late in games. The 32-goal scorer was without a doubt, the offensive MVP of the Admirals this year.
19 – Gabriel Bourque – “How do you like me now, Hockey’s Future?” Award – In their pre-season Nashville depth analysis article, Hockey’s Future published a story that said this about Bourque: Now in his second season in the AHL, it will be crucial for Bourque to show that he can improve on those totals and continue to prove his doubters wrong.” Right. Those mysterious “doubters.” Bourque got the call-up and has made a huge impact with the big club, culminating with a pair of goals in Game 1 against Detroit. Darren Pang asks in the video opener which of these players is going to be the next great star. I’d argue that Bourque has had the greatest impact so far. In an unrelated story, Hockey’s Future is still absolute garbage.
Part two will be published tomorrow…