Milwaukee Sign Goaltender Brandon Whitney

Whitney-2013-CHI-1

Brandon Whitney participated in the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Training Camo Festival but never played professionally within their system. He now looks set to join the Nashville Predators minor league affiliates with the Milwaukee Admirals or Cincinnati Cyclones.

Consider this signing clean out of left field. For all the conversation and chatter in regards to in-system moves regarding the goaltending position the Milwaukee Admirals have just added Brandon Whitney on a two-year contract. This report comes via the Victoriaville Tigres website.

Whitney was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round of the 2012 NHL Draft. While the photo above suggests otherwise he actually never played within their organization in his professional playing career. His junior career was entirely played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with both the Victoriaville Tigres and Gatineau Olympiques. He was teammates with Jonathan Diaby at Victoriaville from 2010-14.

Last season he not only played with Victoriaville and Gatineau of the QMJHL but also for the Miramichi Timberwolves of the Maritime Junior “A” Hockey League (MJAHL), the Wheeling Nailers of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), and even the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League (AHL). He will turn 21-years old this coming Monday.

It’s still unclear whether or not Juuse Saros will make the leap to North America for the 2015-16 season. If a Magnus Hellberg re-signing, similar to that of Marek Mazanec, comes in the next few days I would imagine it as a signal of Saros staying in Finland for another season. If Saros arrives, paired with Mazanec and now Whitney, it may mean Hellberg is out of work. If that happens I’ll have a rant column the day it happens. As for now, I think we can all agree that this move is even worse news for there being any chance that Rob Madore sticks around as the Admirals ECHL option.

Note. I will update this story when an official press release is out. As of right now it is the Victoriaville Tigres reporting this.

UPDATE. This deal is expected to be an AHL contract through the Milwaukee Admirals and not through the Nashville Predators as I initially wrote due to the wording of the Victoriaville news story. Think of this in the same mindset as Madore and Darling before him except on a two-year basis rather than one.

What does this news mean to you? Is this the end of Hellberg’s time in the Nashville Predators organization or a move with the ECHL and future (considering it is a two-year deal) in mind? Should the Predators consider moving Carter Hutton rather than one of their younger goaltenders?

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Joe Pendenza Re-Signs With Admirals

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Joe Pendenza has only known one pro organization since finishing up his time at UMass-Lowell. That’ll remain the case in 2015-16. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Yesterday there was the news of Marek Mazanec staying onboard with the Nashville Predators by signing a one-year two-way contract. Today there is the first bit of Milwaukee Admirals business done and dusted. Joe Pendenza has re-signed with the Admirals to a new one-year contract.

Press Release via Milwaukee Admirals:

Milwaukee, WI—The Admirals announced today that the team has signed Joe Pendenza to a one-year American Hockey League contract.

Pendenza recently completed his rookie season with the Admirals, totaling nine goals and nine assists for 18 points and just six penalty minutes in 48 contests. The Wilmington, MA native first three goals with the Ads all were game winners and he finished the season fourth among club rookies in goals. He also tallied seven points (3g-4a) in 13 games with Cincinnati of the ECHL.

Pendenza spent four seasons at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell where he led the River Hawks in goals (14) assists (16), and points (30) as a senior, while helping them qualify for the NCAA tournament and make it within a game of the Frozen Four. In four seasons at UMass-Lowell, the Wilmington, MA native recorded 49 goals and a 61 assists for 11 points in 152 games played.

Pendenza joined the Admirals on an ATO contract when his time at UMass-Lowell came to an end in the 2013-14 season. He signed his first professional contract with the Admirals at the conclusion of the season and spent the bulk of his first full pro season in Milwaukee. In 48 AHL games he tallied 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists). With the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL he recorded 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 13 games.

Happy to have Joe Pendenza back with the Admirals? Who do you feel are some of the other names that will be re-signed next?

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Will The New Bucks Arena Include Hockey?

New-Bucks-Arena-2

With all the hype and excitement regarding a proposed new arena and entertainment district downtown centering around keeping the Milwaukee Bucks are we forgetting that the Milwaukee Admirals might not be invited?

Late this afternoon Milwaukee Admirals Governor & CEO Harris Turer went on the Mark Belling Show on News/Talk 1130 WISN and the conversation centered around a simple question. Will the proposed new Milwaukee Bucks arena include hockey? As of right now that appears to be a question that hasn’t been answered.

Turer said on his radio appearance that he has had two meetings with the Bucks. One of those was with new Bucks owner Marc Lasry and another one with President Peter Feigin.

“While the meetings were very cordial, and were an opportunity to get to know one another, at no time was I told we’re definitely in or they want us in,” said Turer. “It’s sort of a wait and see attitude.”

“I think for us here at the Admirals there was the recent press conference where the unveiling of the drawings of what the arena would look like as well as the ancillary development around the new arena came out,” continued Turer. “And at the end of the press conference someone asked if the Admirals would be part of the new arena and, at that point, I don’t want to say the question was blown off but it wasn’t answered.”

This all paints a very interesting picture and one that makes me realize something. Have we taken this new arena for granted? Did we assume that if there is a new arena that not only were the Bucks the main tenants but the Admirals were joining along in the fun?

“When I’ve spoken to people they’re like, “Oh, you’re just going to be a part of the new arena,” no not necessarily,” said Turer.

If the new arena goes through it would mean an end for the BMO Harris Bradley Center is very likely. Should a new arena go through with hockey not in the plans what does that then mean for the Admirals as far as their playing facility is concerned?

“We have to look at our options,” said Turer. “The most obvious option would be coming down and playing at the UW-M Panther Arena. That’s something we have to look at and we have to protect ourselves and look at our future.”

The Admirals possible new playing destination could would be a trip down memory lane at an old playing destination. The UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, formerly the MECCA and US Cellular Arena, was the site of Admirals hockey up until 1987 during the franchise’s International Hockey League (IHL) era.

“There are many rinks in our league that are far smaller than that,” said Turer in regards to the Admirals legitimately playing at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. “There would be improvements done to the arena but we definitely think it would be more than large enough.”

This also acts as an answer to another question. What happens if the new arena does not go through and the Bucks leave Milwaukee entirely? The Admirals wouldn’t be financially viable of being the main operating tenants of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Alternative? UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena.

The news in regards to this new arena having Admirals hockey involved is just about as murky as the actual logistics of the new arena actually coming to fruition. What I really love to hear is how committed Turer is to keeping the Admirals in Milwaukee as well as his excitement of new arena for the Bucks and what it could mean for the community.

“I’m in support, personally, of a new arena whether it includes the Admirals or not,” stated Turer. “I think not only the arena but the development around it would be a great thing for our city. If we’re not a part of it there is nothing I can do. I’m not going to be putting $150 million into the arena much like the new Bucks owners have or Herb Kohl’s put $100 [million]. I’m not going to be doing those things. Would we like to at least have a discussion to be part of a new facility? Sure. We’d certainly entertain that, look at what the economics mean of being a part of the arena and being a tenant there, but we’re not going to be putting in huge dollars. At the same time I have said publicly would I at least have a discussion of putting something into the pot, sure. I would definitely talk to them about it.”

Lots of questions. Not too many answers. This is a story that I’ve been following the moment the Bucks ownership change happened a year ago and it has been continental drift slow. I don’t entirely expect that to change too much in the foreground but the background chatter of getting things in-place is happening. Whether any of that chatter includes ice in the new arena doesn’t quite seem to be the case though.

What are your opinions on the new Bucks arena? Should hockey be part of this new arena’s plans or is it entirely on the Bucks and the sport of basketball seeing as it is their project? Would a move across the street to the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena be something you would be alright with? 

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Nashville Sign Mazanec to One-Year Two-Way Contract

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Nashville signing Marek Mazanec to a new contract is the first bit of plenty of more business to come this off-season. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Nashville Predators have just taken the first steps in regards to the goaltending prospects conundrum. Marek Mazanec has just signed a new one-year two-way contract to remain with the organization for the 2015-16 season. The deal is worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level.

Press Release via Nashville Predators:

Nashville, Tenn. (May 6, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Wednesday that the club has signed goaltender Marek Mazanec (MAIR-ehk muh-ZAN-ehk) to a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $100,000 at the AHL level for the 2015-16 season.

Mazanec, 23 (7/18/91), played his second full season in North America in 2014-15, posting a 2.26 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in two appearances with the Predators during the month of January, and an 18-18-9 record with four shutouts, a 2.76 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage in 48 appearances for Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate, the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.

Nashville’s ninth choice, 179th overall (sixth round), in the 2012 Entry Draft, played the fifth-most minutes of any rookie NHL netminder (1,369:32) in 2013-14, appearing in 25 contests for the Predators and being named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November 2013 after going 5-4-1 with two shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. The 6-4, 194-pound Mazanec also ranked second among AHL rookie goaltenders, and 10th overall, in point percentage after posting an 18-10-3 record (.629, min. 700 minutes) in 2013-14.

In his final season in the Czech League in 2012-13, he led Plzen to its first title by stopping 48-of-51 shots in a Game Seven double-OT victory in the league final. He ranked fourth in 2013 playoff goals-against average (2.13) and sixth in save percentage (.932), in addition to tying for second in shutouts (2). During the 2012-13 regular season, the Pisek, Czech Republic, native ranked sixth in the Czech Extraliga in goals-against average (2.49).

This now leaves the question as to what the Predators will do with pending restricted free agent Magnus Hellberg as well as if Juuse Saros will sign an entry level contract and make the leap to North America. That’s not to say Mazanec signing instantly pens him as the starting goaltender on opening night for the Milwaukee Admirals 2015-16 season opener or anything. For all we know he could still get moved. Still, it is the first action taken of many possible from the Nashville brass when it comes to the goaltending situation behind Pekka Rinne.

Thoughts on this news? Is this bad news for Hellberg? How will the goaltending shape out in Milwaukee next season?

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The Manitoba Moose Are Back

With a new look to match its NHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose are back in Winnipeg (Photo via Jets.NHL.com)

With a new look to match its NHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose are back in Winnipeg (Photo via Jets.NHL.com)

After a year filled with rumors on where the Winnipeg Jets would relocate its American Hockey League affiliate, Chairman of the Board for True North Sports & Entertainment Mark Chipman announced today that there would be no place like home for the club, as the Manitoba Moose are returning to the AHL four years after a successful 15-year run in the province.

The Moose will also be returning to their old rink as the MTS Centre will play host to the team, along with its parent club, the Jets. Manitoba becomes the second AHL to carry that arrangement, with San Jose as the other team which will house it’s primary development club (Barracuda) in the same rink. Toronto’s AHL Marlies are located in the same city as the Maple Leafs (and also share a practice facility), but play just down the road at the Ricoh Centre.

Moose

The former Manitoba Moose were originally an IHL franchise that began play in Winnipeg in 1996-97. Like Milwaukee, the squad joined the AHL in 2001 (Logo via Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net)

The biggest change for the Moose compared to its former incarnation is the color scheme, as the team will take on the same blues and grays to match Winnipeg, while essentially retaining its former logo. The Moose averaged 8,404 fans per game in their final season prior to relocating to St. John’s when Jets returned to Winnipeg in 2011-2012.

St. John’s which is losing the IceCaps, will gain the franchise formerly known as the Hamiliton Bulldogs, as Montreal’s primary affiliate will play in Newfoundland during the 2015-16 AHL season and another year beyond at minimum. The IceCaps name will carry over to the new team. Thunder Bay, Ontario was originally rumored as a destination for Winnipeg’s AHL franchise, but True North announced that it was moving the IceCaps to Winnipeg in March.

The addition of Winnipeg, means that further geographical redistribution of the AHL will be required this summer by the league.

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Rumor Mill: Admirals Possibly Gaining Three Big Names

(Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua)

Juuse Saros is currently backing up someone named Pekka Rinne with Team Finland at the 2015 IIHF World Championships. That has a nice feel to it. (Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua)

As a Formula 1 fan I’ve always loved the term “crazy season” when speculation starts to build in regards to what drivers swapping teams or losing a race seat for the next season ahead. That’s pretty much what this gray area in the off-season kind of is, isn’t it? The playing season is over within the Nashville Predators entire organization yet there is still playoff hockey going on around the globe along with the 2015 IIHF World Championships. To me this is crazy season. The rumor mill is brewing and it will only intensify as the off-season pushes forward.

With that in mind there are three potential names that have surfaced recently that could impact the Milwaukee Admirals next season. All three would be making the big leap from Europe to North America and the likely destination if they did would be right here in Milwaukee. Those players are Max GörtzVladislav Kamenev, and Juuse Saros.

There is a reason why I say potential and name this as a rumor piece. It isn’t a set in stone fact yet. They just all appear to be on the verge of actually making this a reality is all. Let’s review some of the evidence as to why and ponder the question of if.

I’ve already touched upon the potential move for Görtz. According to Henrik Leman of GT in Sweden, he is set to leave Frölunda of the Swedish Hockey League for North American hockey in the 2015-16 season. He signed his three-year entry level contract last season but opted to remain in Europe on loan with Frölunda. It appears that spell is now done and he’s ready to embark on his North American professional playing career.

This then gets paired with the recent news that Predators second round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Russian forward Kamenev, was released of his contract by Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. The two sides came together and mutually agreed to terminate his contract. As of right now he has yet to sign an entry level contract with the Predators. Should that news happen it should say enough of whether or not he’s committed to leaving his native Russia in the near future.

Lastly comes that Finnish goaltending prospect we all have our eyes on, Saros. Will he be here or will he stay in Europe for another year? Well, according to the man himself, he seems likely to arrive in North America for the 2015-16 season:

“There is a high probability I am no longer with [HPK] next season. It looks like I’ll be somewhere in North America.” ~ Juuse Saros, MTV Finland

Does this mean he actually will cross the pond? No, but it does make things look all the more likely that it will happen. What I will find all the more exciting in relation to this news is what will it mean for Magnus Hellberg or Marek Mazanec? Do both stay? Does one get traded at this year’s NHL Draft? I still wouldn’t be against all three being in North America with Saros joining the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL for the 2015-16 season.

This, in truth, is a nice problem for Nashville to have. They have too much talent at one position and can make a move or feel free stay put and wait for a better deal down the road if the see fit. I feel the likely scenario would be one of the Milwaukee goaltending duo from this season gets shipped out at the NHL Draft for a pick should Saros be setting his sights on North American hockey this fall. That’ll be a storyline to sit back and wait to see play out.

Should all three of the above names make their North American debuts next season I think it only makes the Admirals that much more exciting. Saros is very young but has been showing incredibly exciting results at the top tier of Finnish hockey for the past two-seasons. Görtz is coming off of his best professional playing season in Sweden and is a bigger bodied player than most of his European counterparts in Milwaukee. And Kamenev is a very young but very skilled and dynamic forward. All three would only make the Admirals that much better were they to join.

Do you anticipate these three being in Milwaukee next season? How do you expect the goaltending situation to pan out should Saros make the leap? Who would be more likely to leave via trade, Hellberg or Mazanec?

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2015 AHL Calder Cup Semifinals Set

(Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

It wasn’t easy but the Grand Rapids Griffins survived an opening round grinder against the Toronto Marlies. (Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

The last of the opening round series came to a close yesterday. Of note, the Grand Rapids Griffins came all the way back from 2-0 hole to defeat the Toronto Marlies in the best-of-five series. The Griffins weren’t alone in getting pushed heavily in the opening round, either. The Chicago Wolves forced a Game 5 against the top seeded Utica Comets before bowing out. Said it once and I’ll say it again. That Midwest Division is the toughest in the AHL. It would have been impressive if Jordan Binnington and company pulled off the upset.

Now that the opening round is done and dusted the semifinals are all set. I think that each conference has a whopper of a match-up this round. The Midwest Divisional battle between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs, who traded blow for blow down the stretch to decide the division crown, should be brilliant. And I’m expecting the top seeded Eastern Conference squad, the Manchester Monarchs, to face a stiff test from top AHL netminder and rookie this season Matt Murray and his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Here is the full slate of games and their schedules:

~Eastern Conference~

(1) Manchester Monarchs vs. (4) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Wed, May 6 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Thu, May 7 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Sat, May 9 – @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 4 – Mon, May 11 – @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 5 – Tue, May 12 – @ W-B/Scranton, 6:05pm CST
Game 6 – Fri, May 15 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Sat, May 16 – @ Manchester, 6pm CST

(2) Hershey Bears vs. (3) Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Wed, May 6 – @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Fri, May 8 – @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Sun, May 10 – @ Hartford, 2pm CST
Game 4 – Mon, May 11 – @ Hartford, 6pm CST
Game 5 – Wed, May 13 – @ Hershey, 6pm CST
Game 6 – Fri, May 15 – @ Hartford, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Sun, May 17 – @ Hershey, 4pm CST

~Western Conference~

(1) Utica Comets vs. (6) Oklahoma City Barons
Game 1 – Thu, May 7 – @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Fri, May 8 – @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Mon, May 11 – @ Oklahoma City, 7pm CST
Game 4 – Wed, May 13 – @ Oklahoma City, 7pm CST
Game 5 – Thu, May 14 – @ Oklahoma City, 7pm CST
Game 6 – Mon, May 18 – @ Utica, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Wed, May 20 – @ Utica, 6pm CST

(2) Grand Rapids Griffins vs. (4) Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Wed., May 6 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 2 – Fri., May 8 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 3 – Wed., May 13 – @ Rockford, 7pm CST
Game 4 – Thu., May 14 – @ Rockford, 7pm CST
Game 5 – Sun., May 17 – @ Rockford, 4pm CST
Game 6 – Tue., May 19 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST
Game 7 – Wed., May 20 – @ Grand Rapids, 6pm CST

Of note, Game 3 and Game 4 of the Bear/ Wolf Pack series will take place in Worcester and not the home confines of Hartford. I assume that is some sort of scheduling issue that impacted Hartford. Hopefully their fans turn up in numbers to still make that seem like a home ice advantage.

Randoms of the opening round: The lone lower ranked seed to advance were the Oklahoma City Barons who swept their divisional foes and division winning San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage were 9-1-2-0 against the Barons in the regular season before getting swept. There were three Game 5’s in this year’s opening round – two of which involved the top seeds from each conference. There were three three-game sweeps in the opening round – Rockford IceHogs over the Texas Stars, Oklahoma City Barons over the San Antonio Rampage, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins over the Syracuse Crunch. The Stars elimination means there will be a newly crowned Calder Cup champion this season. The Stars elimination was the first time a previous year’s Calder Cup champion was swept in an opening round series the following season in eleven years. In what will be Worcester’s final AHL game, due to the Pacific Division coming to fruition, they lost 10-4 to the Bears.

Also, the ECHL semifinals are already underway. Scott Ford and his South Carolina Stingrays are up 2-0 over the Florida Everblades. Gary Steffes and the Allen Americans are tied 1-1 with the Rapid City Rush. I am really pulling for a Stingrays/Americans 2015 Kelly Cup Finals. At least it would be fun if one of our two Admirals from this season get that far.

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The Handy Dandy 2015 Off-Season Schedule

(Photo Credit: John Russell)

Is it the 2015-16 season yet? (Photo Credit: John Russell)

The entire Nashville Predators organization is currently in off-season mode. And, thanks to their cracking staff, have provided a schedule full of the important dates ahead on the off-season calendar.

2015 Nashville Predators Offseason Schedule

EVENT: DATES: INFO:
2015 IIHF World Championships
(Prague & Ostrava, Czech Republic)
May 1–17 HERE
Predators Amateur Scouting Meetings
(Nashville, Tennessee)
May 4–7
2015 Memorial Cup
(Quebec City, Quebec)
May 21–31
NHL Draft Combine
(Buffalo, New York)
May 31–June 6
Deadline for signing unsigned draft choices/bona fide offers to prior year’s draft picks June 1
Signing deadline for players under contract to federations under the IIHF transfer agreement June 15
Last possible day for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final June 17
First buy-out period begins and deadline for first club-elected arbitration Later of June 15 or 48 hours after conclusion of SCF
NHL Awards
(Las Vegas, Nevada)
June 24 HERE
UFAs may meet with potential new clubs June 25–June 1 HERE
2015 NHL Draft
(Sunrise, Florida)
June 26–27
Deadline for tending qualifying offers to RFAs, first buyout period ends and setting of upper/lower limits of 2015-16 salary cap June 30 HERE
Free Agency begins
(11AM CT)
July 1 HERE
Deadline for player-elected arbitration July 5
Deadline for second club-elected arbitration July 6
Predators Rookie Development Camp (Nashville, Tennessee) July 6–11
Qualifying Offers Expire
(4PM CT)
July 15 HERE
Arbitration Hearings July 20–August 4
Deadline for arbitration decisions August 6
Predators Rookie Camp Opens
(Nashville, Tennessee)
September 10
Rookie Tournament
(Estero, Florida)
September 12–15
Training Camp Opens
(Nashville, Tennessee)
September 17

As you’ll have seen atop the list, the IIHF World Championships started today in Marek Mazanec‘s native Czech Republic. The newest Predators signing Steve Moses made an immediate impression by scoring a ridiculous backhander on soon-to-be teammate Pekka Rinne. I’m sure that will provide an instant laugh once he joins Nashville camp.

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Q&A with Penalty Box Radio’s Justin Bradford

(Photo Credit: John Russell)

The 2014-15 Nashville Predators season was a great one for a team that missed out on the playoffs a year ago. Can they raise the bar once again next season? (Photo Credit: John Russell)

The Milwaukee Admirals and Cincinnati Cyclones didn’t make their respective playoffs. Meanwhile, the Admirals parent club the Nashville Predators concluded their season following an opening round playoff defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks in a tight six-game series.

To get some perspective on the Predators season and some insight on the off-season to come I reached out to Penalty Box Radio’s Justin Bradford to do a Q&A with Admirals Roundtable. I had some Q’s on the mind. He was kind enough to provide some A’s!

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2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals Report Card

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals provided lots of ups and downs during the 2014-15 season. Unfortunately they did so in that order with a franchise best start to a season followed by their first season without playoff hockey in thirteen years. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

This was a very Jekyll and Hyde type of season. The Milwaukee Admirals opened their 2014-15 season by setting a franchise record for a best ever start with a six-game winning streak. Things were really looking great up until December rolled around. There was a seven-game losing stretch and the team pulled a 3-6-2-1 record in the month.

I remember around that time thinking it was just a dip. A small slide that the Admirals needed to go through to better themselves in the long run. January seemed to prove that right because the team rocked a 10-2-0-0 record with a franchise record nine-game winning streak. They were out in front of the Midwest Division and capped off the month by shutting out the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-0 on the road.

When trying to pinpoint where things really trended as badly as this season went I ended up coming to the date, February 15th. The Admirals lost two key components to their team, injuries started to hit within the Nashville Predators organization, and the roster change-over that happened seemed to give the Admirals difficulties. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. The Admirals went 4-14-5-3 after that date and wound up not making the playoffs for the first time since the franchise’s debut season in the American Hockey League of 2001-02.

The frustrating part about the end to the season was how often good efforts or performances were squandered in a matter of a few moments. There would be a mistake, defensive lapse, goaltending mishap, or something as wacky as a bad bounce. That span from February 15th saw the Admirals battle through a game that was decided by a single goal thirteen times. Think about that for a moment. That’s a difference between playing playoff hockey and watching playoff hockey on a couch. Frustrating. That’s perhaps another understatement.

While it’s tough for everyone to miss out on the playoffs that doesn’t by any means make this season a complete write-off. Lots of players left a good first impression and some familiar faces put some solid stamps down.

This report card is purely my grading and assessment of those who played for the Admirals this season. In my grades for last season I made the cut-off for earning a grade at twenty-games. Anything less was an incomplete. I think I’ll hold to that.

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