Grading the Admirals Through the First Quarter of the Season

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?

9 thoughts on “Grading the Admirals Through the First Quarter of the Season”

  1. Yes we are only 4 points out of first and if we were able to pull out a few of those shoot outs early on we would be even closer but I still only give us an overall grade of a B.

    (C-) Special team units do need to step it up. I think we were close to having more short handed goals than power play goals on the road trip. That needs to be a bit tighter.

    (A) Goaltending is coming around. Good to see Smith stepping up and playing fairly well when needed.

    (B-) Offense is lacking but some players are stepping up when others can’t seem to find the back of the net.

    (B) Defense is holding it’s own in our own zone but part of taking care of your own zone is breaking out of it to start the offensive rush. I think I see too much of just chipping it out of the zone and the lack of solid tape to tape passes.

  2. Jason,
    I have to give you an “I” for incomplete on your grade card for the goaltenders. Your analysis of Dekanich is right on but your brief blurb on Jeremy Smith is a weak attempt to down play his early success with Milwaukee. In just 3 games, he has won more games than Pickard did in 14 over the last two seasons. No disrespect intended to Pickard but Jeremy Smith deserves a chance to elevate his game to a higher level too without some star struck fan like yourself lobbying for the return of a goalie whose numbers say “hype without substance”. The proof is in the statistics. You owe it to all of us to “check your sources” before you publish. Why would you want to return Pickard to Milwaukee when someone else is outplaying him? Pickard’s numbers in Cincinnati are not very impressive which leans more towards “hype without substance” again. What Milwaukee needs is the goaltending to continue on its’ current path, no matter who the goalies are. You’d see this if you could wipe the star dust out of your eyes.

  3. Mark, in response I would have to say please read the rest of my posts before you go about writing something like this. The way Pickard is playing, no doubt Jeremy Smith deserves a shot and credit to him for taking advantage. But there is a reason why Pickard made the Admirals out of training camp and not Smith.
    Maybe Chet Pickard never will figure it out, but the talent is there. I am certainly NOT lobbying to bring back Pickard, in fact at this point Nashville is probably better off trading Pickard to another team and to another goaltending coach who might be able to help him figure things out.
    Btw…here is my sources: Jeremy Smith in his three games in an Admirals uniform: 2-1-0, with a 3.34 G.A.A. and a 89.1% Save Percentage. Granted those numbers are better than Pickard’s (0-3-1, 3.41 G.A.A. and a 88.5% Save Percentage), but they aren’t as impressive as you might think. I would be willing to bet that Smith wishes he was playing better than he has so far to make sure he takes Pickard’s job away from him. But neither of those goaltenders screams long term solution if Mark Dekanich gets called up, traded, or hurt, hence the A-.

  4. The statistics are what they are. Let’s let the players prove who should be playing. After 14 games or so, let’s look at Smith’s stats vs. Pickard’s. It’s very easy to get caught up in the 1st round pick vs. the 2nd round pick, etc. It seems that Nashville has already done a pretty good job of that all on their own. Pickard has obviously been shown a lighter letter of the law than Smith (probably due to the 1st vs. 2nd round pick scenerio) but even Nashville has to reach a point where they have to second guess their decisions, thus moving Smith up and Pickard down. The facts are that the two most deserving goalies are in Milwaukee right now, and as we all know this can change at any time but until it does…….Let’s give Smith the same opportunity as Pickard has had with Milwaukee. 15 plus games in a patient environment focused on development. FYI- Landlord -Milwaukee’s offensive support for Smith has averaged 3.3 per game in his 3 starts.

  5. We wish both goalies the best. And we’ll love the one we’re with. Hopefully Smith will continue to work hard and improve in practice so that he’ll have the confidence of the coaches to play him more often than one game in 3-in-3 sets.

  6. Something’s not right with Chet. I can’t put my finger on it but he seems like he is not carrying himself on the ice the same way he was in the WHL. I don’t know if it the organizations handling of him or if he is just getting passed up. I hope he gets right for his and the organizations sake but if not I hope he gets traded and finds a better fit like Jones and Santorelli from last year.

    I think Jeremy has done well since the call up and it will be a battle for the two young men as backup. I haven’t seen him play prior to this year so I don’t know how well he is progressing but so far so good.

  7. Goaltending: A. While we can discuss Chet/Smith, whatever. Fact is, without Dex, we wouldnt have anywhere close to the number of wins so far. (Or shootout losses; I kid)

    Defense: B. If Aaron Johnson wasn’t taking his obligatory 2 penalties a game, I would even consider giving an A. Looks like he’s stopped taking them but then again, I haven’t paid much attention to the road trip

    Offense: C. Do we even have offense besides Klasen? I would say I expected more out of Bourque, but at the same time, he’s so young obviously needs time to adapt the the pro level.

    Maybe its the fact we don’t have anyone who seems to consistently put the puck in the net, but this team has done nothing for me this year to get excited. I would say Josi has been impressive, but we’ve only seen what, 2 home games out of him?

  8. B overall. The PP stinks, the PK is okay. Offense B-, Defense B+, Dex A-. Johnson took a stupid penalty last night that allowed the Meese to score their third goal.

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