Summer Ramblings, Vol. 12

Triston Grant (Photo Credit: Chris Jerina)

Triston Grant doing Triston Grant things like facepunching and punching people in the face. (Photo Credit: Chris Jerina)

The summer is starting to really drag on in the hockey news circle. Not a whole lot of real news, updates, or player movement going on. Is Scott Ford going to retire? Where will Scott Valentine or Charles-Olivier Roussel land? Will we see more additions to the AHL and ECHL rosters from the Admirals in regards depth and competition for when pre-season camp starts up? Lots of questions to be asked without real definitive answers just yet. All in due time I suppose.

~The Importance of Veteran Leadership~

The last roster move that the Milwaukee Admirals made involved the free agent signings of goaltender Rob Madore and left-winger Triston Grant. Last issue of Ramblings I tapped into the signing of Madore and what that does for goalie competition this season. Today, I want to talk about the importance of having a player such as Grant back in town with the Milwaukee Admirals.

Last season the Admirals veteran core consisted of six players above the age of 26-years old: Scott Ford, Joe Piskula, Bryan Rodney, Kevin Henderson, Mark Van Guilder, and Francis Wathier. As of now, the Admirals currently have five: Rob Madore (26), Piskula (30), Van Guilder (30), Henderson (27), and Grant (30).

The youth of last year’s team, let’s just say players at or below the age of 22-years old who played a good chunk of games, stood at thirteen: Taylor Beck, Zach Budish, Magnus Hellberg, Scott Valentine, Patrick Cehlin, Marek Mazanec, Calle Jarnkrok, Charles-Olivier Roussel, Josh Shalla, Austin Watson, Miikka Salomaki, Filip Forsberg, and Colton Sissons.

That’s a hefty chunk of players but plenty who were around prior to last season. Of that list, guys such as Mazanec, Jarnkrok, Salomaki, Forsberg, and Sissons were enduring their first full-season of professional hockey in North America. This year’s Admirals group is going to be plenty green.

As the roster stands – the Admirals currently have sixteen players at or under the age of 22-years old set to play next season: Jonathan-Ismael Diaby (19), Filip Forsberg (19), Brendan Leipsic (20), Felix Girard (20), Mikko Vainonen (20), Colton Sissons (20), Pontus Aberg (20), Jaynen Rissling (20), Frederick Gaudreau (21), Jimmy Oligny (21), Viktor Arvidsson (21), Miikka Salomaki (21), Johan Alm (22), Austin Watson (22), Taylor Aronson (22), and Josh Shalla (22).

Making their full-season professional debuts in North America will be ten of that sixteen. As I said before. It’s a rather green team for the 2014-15 season. And that is precisely why a signing of Triston Grant is brilliant.

If the veteran leadership and presence conducted from team captain Scott Ford is lacking entering this year’s campaign your replacement leaders will be guys such as Grant, Van Guilder, and Piskula. Those three alone could potentially be your captains this season – with young candidates such as Watson, Sissons, or -dark horse pick- Anthony Bitetto also in consideration for alternate captaincy roles. It’s the way that they conduct themselves on and off the ice that make a difference. With a team that is stacked with green players it’s going to be vital to get veterans, such as the three mentioned, stepping up and taking the rookies under their wing immediately. The sooner the rookies get acclimated to the ice, the AHL level, the locker room, city, you name it — the better.

I have a very strong gut feeling that the Milwaukee Admirals you see on the 2014 side of the calendar will be nothing close to as good as the one that closes out the season. It’s an inexperienced team for the AHL level but a highly promising one for the Admirals 2014-15 season and the Nashville Predators future.

Having Grant, someone that spent two seasons in the system back in 2008-10, is going to be a great complement to the current cast. His last two-seasons have been with the Grand Rapids Griffins where he played 126 games, scored 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists), and gathered up a rocking 299 penalty minutes. Not to mention that 2012-13 Calder Cup he won. His role as a leader on the team is going to be one of the key points to this young Admirals squad being all the wiser as the season crawls through the schedule.

Who would you pencil in as the captains of your current Milwaukee Admirals right now? Do the Admirals need to bring in more veterans or are you confident in a young and talented group such as they have at the moment?

Posted in Ramblings | 5 Comments

Summer Ramblings, Vol. 11

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The BMO Harris Bradley Center has been the home of the Milwaukee Admirals since 1988. With the Bucks search for a new arena in the works – what will become of the Admirals home? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The news has remained fairly slow to this point. That being said, there are two talking points that I would love to bring up.

~The Expiration Date of the BMO Harris Bradley Center~

As I’m certain all of you know by now, the Milwaukee Bucks are under new ownership and the NBA would very much like to see a brand new arena that is up to snuff with their league standards. This is a talking point that I have wanted to discuss for awhile but keep waiting for more details to come out eventually. So far though it has been fairly slow. It seems as if it’s a matter of time before an actual proposition comes out as to (1) where this new arena will be build (2) when it will be expected to be operational (3) and what impact it has on the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

I’ve heard plenty of rumblings in regard to the location for this new arena. Could it be placed near Miller Park? Lakefront? The Grand Avenue Mall location? …no seriously, tear down Grand Avenue Mall and put it there.

It’s a fascinating topic. One with major implications on far more than just the professional sports teams that are looking to inhabit it. I’m really curious to hear your takes on this issue. Where should this new arena be? What would be an ideal location for this venue in Milwaukee?

~Milwaukee Admirals Goaltending Battle~

When the Milwaukee Admirals signed Rob Madore a couple weeks back – I was through the roof. This was a goaltender who had a stunning playoff run within our system in Cincinnati of the ECHL (though, not under contract to us). He didn’t allow the likes of Magnus Hellberg playing alongside him at that level to throw him off. If anything – he flourished in the competition for the net. And that is precisely what you need system-wide. Competition.

I still very much see the goaltending cycle as follows: Marek Mazanec as the Admirals first choice, Hellberg as back-up, and Madore as the lead man for the Cincinnati Cyclones in the ECHL.

What I will say about that lineup though is that it does have parallels to last season with Scott Darling waiting in the wings at the ECHL level. Darling was supposed to be at that level, worked hard, and made the most out of an opportunity through all the injuries at the goaltending position. Pekka Rinne, knock on wood, should see a whole lot more of the ice this season in Nashville. But you never know if Hellberg has a repeat of last season with injuries or if Mazanec gets dinged up along the way. Depth is great. Quality within that depth is even better. And that is precisely what Madore will be to the Admirals this season.

How do you see the Milwaukee Admirals goaltending panning out this season? If Rob Madore continues his playoff form – could he push one of the two properties of Nashville in net down to the ECHL?

Posted in Ramblings | 5 Comments

Ads 2014 Preseason Slate Set

MVP Preseason

Admirals forward Mark Van Guilder battles in front during 2013 preseason action at the Kern Center.

Are you ready for the puck to drop on the 2014-2015 Milwaukee Admirals season?

Look no further than October 3, 2014, when Milwaukee will host rival Rockford in their only home warm up test, 7:00 PM at the Kern Center on the campus of MSOE. The following night you can make the short trip down the road to West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows, Illinois as the Chicago Wolves will welcome Milwaukee at 7:00 PM.

Milwaukee’s regular season home opener is set for the following weekend on Friday, October 10th, though the opponent, like the rest of the schedule, is still TBD. That is just over two months away!

So Roundtable . . . Are you, like me, counting down the days until October 3? What roster battles are you looking forward to at Admirals training camp?

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Summer Ramblings, Vol. 10

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Simon Moser has yet to reach a contract with any professional hockey clubs in North America. Has he turned into the 2013-14 version of Daniel Bang? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Top of the mornin’ Roundtable. Let’s dig into our weekly column with something out of the rumor mill.

Simon Moser, who has yet to find an NHL or AHL contract, is possibly heading back home to Switzerland with SC Bern. A news story on Swiss Hockey News has a quote from the Olympian and former Predators property:

“It looks like, I will start the season with SC Bern. I have not given up hope that there will be a spot for me in the NHL, but at the moment the rosters are almost full and as I was told, they do not have enough confidence in me that I could start in the NHL right away.” ~Simon Moser

With the Nashville Predators stocking up on forwards this off-season a spot for Moser just isn’t feasible. His NHL competition in Nashville right now would be Gabriel Bourque, Taylor Beck, Rich Clune, and Calle Jarnkrok. Add to the prospects that are filling up in Milwaukee and you’re left without much choice but to say, “pass.” Especially when you go deeper into the thought process from both sides of the table.

The Predators did tender a qualifying offer to Moser. He would have made league minimum. Yet, according to this article on that front, the two seem to disagree with where Moser is at as a player:

“To probably play almost a whole season again in the AHL, I view as a step back, which is why I will surely start in Bern. I will see what is going to happen the next one or two months, maybe an opportunity will arise, but otherwise I am sure I will make progress here in Bern as well.” ~Simon Moser

The story goes on to say that he was told by Nashville that they think he will be an NHL player – but probably in one or two years. If that really is the case, I hope that Moser isn’t taking that as a personal jab at his playing ability as much as he should the current state of the Nashville system. There just isn’t a place for him right now.

I feel that Moser showed great spells of form last season. He was well-rounded on both sides of the puck and produced 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) with the Admirals in 48 games. He missed time for the Olympics, NHL duty with the Predators where he recorded a goal and an assist, and he was also injured in the late stages of the AHL season.

There are a few ways to view this. (1) At 25-years old, do the Nashville Predators really see Moser’s ceiling getting any higher than what it was last year? (2) For Moser, would accepting league minimum for a two-way contract really hurt your chances of earning an NHL roster spot with an excellent showing at the AHL level? (3) Remember Daniel Bang? He was in this exact same situation one year ago and opted to join Lausanne HC in Switzerland. Similar player in my book. Potentially a similar outcome with both joining the NLA.

It’ll be worth keeping an eye on the Moser situation. I’d expect him to be joining SC Bern for the 2014-15 season, though. It’s all a matter of time.

Should Simon Moser remain in North America even if it means another season of AHL hockey? What is Moser’s ceiling? Is last season about as much as you would expect out of Moser and would Nashville be best off by not having him on-board?

Posted in Ramblings | 1 Comment

Admirals Sign Rob Madore and Triston Grant

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Rob Madore, who featured in the Cincinnati Cyclones 2014 Kelly Cup run, has inked an AHL contract with the Milwaukee Admirals. (Photo Credit: Cincinnati Cyclones // Facebook)

For those of you that became Scott Darling fans last season, that were bummed out to hear that he had signed a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks organization, and wondered who could be that third-man in when it came to the Admirals goaltending situation – great news! Today, the Milwaukee Admirals have announced the signing of Rob Madore to an AHL contract.

Madore was phenomenal during the Cincinnati Cyclones Kelly Cup playoff run this past season. In 24 playoff games he won 14 games, posted a 2.29 goals against average, a 0.930 save percentage, and took home the MVP honors for the playoffs – becoming the first man in ECHL history to win it on the losing side of the Finals.

In addition to that news, the Milwaukee Admirals have also signed Triston Grant to a one-year AHL contract. Grant was a member of the Admirals from 2008-10. In those two-seasons he produced 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) and amassed 389 penalty minutes. Last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins he played 51 games, scored 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists), recorded 103 penalty minutes, and had a plus/minus rating of +6. At the age of 30-years old he brings much needed veteran experience to an incredibly young 2014-15 Admirals roster.

Also worth noting, for those still awaiting Scott Ford news, the addition of Grant could be a boost for one more season. The two are best buddies after all .

What are your thoughts on today’s signings by the Milwaukee Admirals? What does the addition of Rob Madore mean for Magnus Hellberg?

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Summer Ramblings, Vol. 9

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Filip Forsberg is one of a few players on the outside looking in when it comes to making the starting Nashville roster. If he doesn’t make it – is it such a bad thing? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The news front hasn’t exactly been as booming as it had been when David Poile made four-signings in one-day last Tuesday. That doesn’t mean we can’t keep chatting up what those moves mean for Nashville and Milwaukee, though.

The Predators have added James Neal (trade), Olli Jokinen (free agent), Mike Ribeiro (free agent), Derek Roy (free agent) during this off-season. The moves have not only made a solid impact on the team’s top two forward lines but also the trickle down effect that has on the entire system. According to Thomas Willis of Predlines, this is what a potential 2014-15 Nashville Predators forward line combination could look like:

James Neal-Mike Ribeiro-Craig Smith
Colin Wilson-Derek Roy-Olli Jokinen
Viktor Stalberg-Calle Jarnkrok-Matt Cullen
Eric Nystrom-Paul Gaustad-Gabriel Borque

I feel like that is a pretty safe bet. The talking point I heard a fair bit of when it came to the Ribeiro and Roy signings was the immediate impact it has on the likes of Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons, Miikka Salomaki, Filip Forsberg, and Austin Watson. In my book, Calle makes the NHL roster over Colton to start the season. And the latter should all probably find themselves in Milwaukee barring outrageously good pre-season showings. Also, this shouldn’t be viewed as a set back for the young guns in any way shape or form.

Sissons made a great first impression with the Admirals as a 20-year old first-year pro: 62 games, 44 points (25 goals, 19 assists), 8 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus rating of -3. He also played a grand total of 17 games in the NHL while producing 4 goal (1 goal, 3 assists). If he has lost out on an NHL role for the Preds to start the season he instantly becomes the Admirals top-line center and will be tasked with playing a multitude of roles and different game situations. He will turn 21-years old in November. Sissons could still benefit from another year of AHL duty. In doing so, the Admirals will also benefit from his all-around services from the center position.

Salomaki and Forsberg are two of the young wingers that can make a push for NHL spots right now. If I had to pick which one is the more NHL ready prospect – I would side with Salomaki over Forsberg. Salomaki didn’t just lead the Admirals in scoring last season with 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists). He also displayed a tremendous ability to make quick plays and play physically along the boards. Those are the types of abilities that would make him useful right now in Nashville on the lower-tier forward lines. Forsberg’s defensive abilities can still use some honing in upon and, as skilled as he is, he probably could use a full-season to display consistency on the offensive side of the puck. Filip, who will turn 20-years old in August, can show his brilliance in spurts. To see him lay it down game after game, think Jarnkrok last season after his acquisition from Detroit, is just what it takes to get to the NHL.

Another name that kicked up during discussions I’ve had or read with the Predators off-season is what it means for Mr. Watson. My answer? It is very important to remember where he finished last season. He was on a scoring binge and really found another gear in the latter stages of the regular season. Why? Because he was no longer playing center – he was playing on the wing. I project Watson, at best, to be a useful third or forth line winger that has that scoring touch you want from a lower-line forward but best of all a good defensive mind on his shoulders. He was too slow on the ice to maintain centering a line combination of himself with Salomaki and fellow Finn Joonas Rask last season. I think him moving on the wing allows him to better focus on the ice and move around a lot more freely. Watson’s focus this season should be to pick up where he left off and on being a solid winger in Milwaukee with a chance to get an NHL call up – something he never earned last season.

Lastly, I can’t help but applaud the Predators on signing guys such as Jokinen, Ribeiro, and Roy on one-year deals. They are all low-risk players with affordable contracts that can be dealt at the trade deadline should the Preds be sellers by then. They managed to cash in on Martin Erat and David Legwand for young prospects the previous two-seasons. Literally the worst case scenario from the free agent signings made by Poile is a venture back to the trade market that has produced for him Forsberg and Jarnkrok. It either works for this season with the veteran forwards or it works down the road with youth under head coach Peter Laviolette – something he tends to handle rather well.

Thoughts on the battle for NHL positions in Nashville? Is Calle Jarnkrok a lock or could we see him back in Milwaukee? Are there any other deserving players that should be under consideration by the Predators for NHL spots?

Posted in Ramblings | 2 Comments

Fiala and Arvidsson Ink Entry-Level Contracts

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Kevin Fiala was the Predators first round draft choice this year. Can he make the NHL roster at the age of 18-years old? (Photo Credit: Nashville Predators)

The Nashville Predators keep producing the paperwork. The Predators have just signed Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson to three-year entry level contracts. Slow news day, eh?

Fiala was the Preds first round selection (11th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft. He will turn 18-years old in exactly a week’s time.

Predators Press Release on Fiala:

Nashville, Tennessee – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed 2014 first-round selection (11th overall) Kevin Fiala to a three-year entry-level contract.

Fiala, 17 (7/22/96), was a finalist for the 2014 Swedish Hockey League Rookie of the Year Award after tying for the lead in points among all under-18 SHL players with 11 (3g-8a) in 17 games for HV71. The 5-10, 180-pound winger started the 2013-14 season with the HV71 junior squad, ranking among the league leaders in goals (10), assists (15) and points (25) in 27 games before his January promotion. The dynamic offensive forward with game-breaking potential spent his first season in Sweden in 2012-13 with the Malmo organization, posting 10 points (6g-4a) in nine games at the under-18 level and 28 points (9g-19a) in 33 games at the junior level.

A native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Fiala represented his homeland at the World Junior Championship, Under-18 World Championship and World Championship in 2014, becoming just the third player ever to participate in all three tournaments in the same year (Andrei Kostitsyn and Vadim Karagan, Belarus in 2003). Fiala led the Swiss in points at both the under-18 tournament (4g-5a-9pts, 5gp), was named one of the nation’s three best players in the process, and World Juniors (1g-4a-5pts, 5gp) as the team’s youngest member. At 17, he was the youngest member of Switzerland’s entry at the World Championship by three years, posting three assists and a team-best +3 rating playing alongside Predators defenseman Roman Josi and forward Simon Moser.

He speaks five languages – Czech, English, French, German and Swedish – and is on Twitter @KevinFiala22.

The other entry level signing also happens to be a member of the Preds 2014 Draft Class. Arvidsson was selected in the fourth round (112th overall) and is a 21-year old Swedish winger. He and Fiala both made a splash at the recent Predators rookie development camp with some crafty shootout moves:

Predators Press Release on Arvidsson:

Nashville, Tenn. – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the Predators have signed 2014 fourth-round selection Viktor Arvidsson to a three-year entry-level contract.

Arvidsson, 21 (4/8/93), ranked ninth in the Swedish Hockey League in points (16g-24a-40pts) during the 2013-14 season, then helped Skelleftea (along with newly signed Predator Johan Alm) win its second consecutive SHL title by tying for second in assists (12) and ranking third in points (16) during the postseason. During the title-winning season of 2012-13, the 5-9, 172-pound winger was named Swedish junior player of the year and a finalist for the SHL rookie of the year award, in addition to tying for fourth in playoff goals (6).

A native of Skelleftea, Arvidsson tied for eighth in goals (4) at the 2013 World Junior Championship, helping Sweden to a silver medal, and also earned silver at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship. He was a teammate of Predators prospect Filip Forsberg on both silver-medal squads, in addition to playing with prospects Pontus Aberg and Max Gortz at the 2009 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.

As Jason Karnosky alluded to in his recent story, I feel these signings all seem to benefit Milwaukee for the 2014/15 season pretty significantly. It will be a pretty young team but a very talented one.

It’s starting to look like Milwaukee’s starting center roles could shake out as: Colton Sissons (1), Brendan Leipsic (2), Mark Van Guilder (3), and Austin Watson (4). I’m thinking Calle Jarnkrok would have the upper-hand on Sissons for an NHL spot. And it’s important to not forget this in terms of Milwaukee. Watson was pushed out to the wing because his speed was lacking at the center position and really hit stride as a points producer once he joined Van Guilder’s wing. Watson should start the season as a winger – not a center. I also suspect Miikka Salomaki may be pushed back to the center position – where he was tasked to play a fair bit towards the end of last season. Lots of depth. Lots of youth. Lots of talent. And lots of options for Dean Evason and company to work with.

What do you make of the entry level signings of Fiala and Arvidsson? Does Fiala have a chance at making the Predators roster? How do today’s signings impact the Milwaukee Admirals 2014-15 season? Will the Admirals be better or worse than last season?

Posted in News | 2 Comments

What New-Look Nashville Means for Milwaukee

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Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok are among Nashville Predators prospects who may miss out on starting roles at the start of the NHL season. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

In the course of two weeks Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile completed what he set out to do at the start of the preseason: overhaul the team’s center ice position.

As stated in my earlier post, with the additions of Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy, the Predators have all sorts of options to play center: The injured Mike FisherMatt CullenPaul GaustadCraig SmithColin WilsonCalle JarnkrokColton Sissons, and now the inclusion of Ribeiro, Roy and Jokinen.

So what does that mean for the likes of Jarnkrok and Sissons? Not to mention prospects such as Filip Forsberg, Austin Watson, Pontus Aberg, still unsigned restricted free agent Taylor Beck and any other two-way Predator/Milwaukee Admirals forward? There is no way around the fact that this is a bit of a slap in the face.

In his press conference this morning, Poile mentioned some potential Predators roster plans that would have Jarnkrok included:

Then again the good news is that there is always next year for the prospects sent down to Milwaukee, or maybe even just beyond the trade deadline when the Predators may have more than a few job openings. Nashville now has an attractive list of players that are on short-term deals. Five centers: Fisher, Cullen, Jokinen, Ribeiro and Roy. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov. And two-way players Joe Piskula, Mark Van Guilder, and Kevin Henderson. They are all set to become unrestricted free agents at season’s end.

It’s pretty clear that life in Nashville and Milwaukee for 2014-2015 just got a lot more competitive.

My thought is that Jarnkrok will still make Nashville in some capacity, while Sissons will likely have to wait his turn to move on up. The player’s whose NHL hopes might have been hurt the most by these transactions might be Austin Watson, who has now really slipped down on the depth chart. Nashville’s first round pick Kevin Fiala also harbors hopes of making the Predators this season, though that seems a little far fetched.

Certainly, there are going to be some pitched battles in training camp and in Nashville’s preseason games this season, and that’s something Predators coach Peter Laviolette and Admirals coach Dean Evason have to be looking forward to.

So Roundtable: How do the final Predators/top Admirals roster spots stack up? What battles are looking forward to most at training camp, and where do you think the dust will settle?

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Nashville Signs Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy

(Photo Credit: James Guillory)

Having watched free agents come and go with a high price tag, Nashville Predators GM David Poile picked up two experienced centers today. (Photo Credit: James Guillory)

What a difference a day makes. Prior to today, the Nashville Predators depth chart looked rather thin of the “top-six variety” at the center ice position. Example, here was Yahoo’s dated take on the Predators lineup. Today, Nashville has a log jam of epic proportions at center with the free agent signings of Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy.

Predators GM David Poile announced the signings today and both Ribeiro and Roy are signed to one-year deals: Ribeiro for $1.05 million – Roy for $1 million.

Two weeks ago Poile signed center Olli Jokinen meaning that the Predators now have ten capable centers at their disposal. That includes Jokinen as well as Mike Fisher (injured), Matt Cullen, Paul Gaustad, Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons, and now the inclusion of Ribeiro and Roy.

The three new faces, Jokinen, Ribeiro and Roy, plus Fisher and Cullen can all leave the team as unrestricted free agents after the season.

So Roundtable:  What do you think of the new-look 2014-2015 Nashville Predators? What does that mean for those on the cuff of making the Predators or playing with the Admirals? Do you think Calle Jarnkrok and/or Colton Sissons can still win a spot with the club? Are you getting more excited about the players available for Milwaukee this season?

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Summer Ramblings, Vol. 8

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Magnus Hellberg, Colton Sissons, and Miikka Salomaki were a few of the Admirals on the winning side of the Scott Nichol Pigeon Cup winning rookie team on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Scott Nichol)

Top of the morning, Roundtable. All going well with your summer I trust? Excellent!

By now we’re all missing hockey a great deal. The good news? The Nashville Predators rookie development camp has came to fill the void. There were plenty of Milwaukee products at the camp. And it is all looking promising for future products of the Nashville system.

The camp started off with a scavenger hunt around Nashville a week ago. Making a splash in the social media circle was Marek Mazanec during the day. Having gotten to know him last season – it’s fun seeing him that little more loose and not overwhelmed by being in another country. He even was filmed for an interview and his English sounded really improved. Great to see for him!

FYI: Fairly certain Jonathan Diaby‘s troop won the scavenger hunt. I think they used his height to find things. Just a guess.

The real focus comes out of the scrimmage game that was held over the weekend on Saturday. It was all about the Scott Nichol Pigeon Cup! …as well as some feels about being back in the Bridgestone Arena.

There were some good notes for plenty of guys in the scrimmage game. Kristopher Martel of “The Predatorial” commented on the likes of Tommy Veilleux (note) and Jonathan Diaby (note). Robby Stanley of Smashville 24/7 made comment of the possible new goal song for the Preds (note) and a one-liner in regards to Filip Forsberg‘s game (note). Jeremy K. Gover of Section 303 has a story in regards to the musical change.  Max Gortz showed off some experienced grit by getting patched up on the bench and getting back on the ice – as quick as you like. Friend of the Roundtable Seth Lake also had a keen eye for Janne Juvonen rocking Admiral colored goalie gear during the game (note) – though it could have been his gear with the Lahden Pelicans sans advertisements. There was also the great sight of seeing Magnus Hellberg up to his old tricks as an interview bomber extraordinaire. Add that, as Mr. Lake mentioned in regards to tendy swag, Mag’s new custom Warrior goaltending gear in Admirals colors – which are a 10/10 in my book.

The game capped off with some absolute gems by Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala in the shootout:

Just to point at the obvious, how about the 17-year old Fiala pulling a Forsberg move on Mazanec? Pretty filthy stuff from the Preds first round pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

All in all, another real fun rookie development camp held in Nashville. If you follow enough of these prospects on Twitter you’ll see how many truly do enjoy being in the Nashville system: Sissons, Diaby, Stephan, and Leipsic to name a few. Great to see. And it’ll be great seeing plenty of the names that circulated throughout this year’s camp trickle through Milwaukee this year or the years ahead.

If you haven’t already, I suggest giving a look at the Nashville Predators website and watching all their 2014 Development Camp player interviews. It’s good stuff.

What player excites you the most out of the upcoming prospects in the Nashville Predators system? Who do you feel could make an instant impact in Nashville this season at the NHL level? Who should make the biggest impact for the Milwaukee Admirals?

Posted in Ramblings | 1 Comment