Happy Monday, peoples! With yet another off-day in the works I thought I’d just hop in my ol’ TARDIS, take you back to see some familiar faces from last season’s team, and find out what they’re currently doing. Let’s start in order of who played the most games for the Milwaukee Admirals over the course of their playing career down to the least.
Chris Mueller is tied for sixth in the Admirals AHL history of the team for games played. Both he and Cal O’Reilly have played 262 career games with the Ads. He also ranks second for goals scored by an Admiral in the AHL era with 87 goals – and third in scoring, behind Darren Haydar and O’Reilly, with 173 points.
Last season he suited up for 55 games with the Ads. He scored 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) and played in 2 games during the Calder Cup playoffs. He was able to play in 18 games for the Nashville Predators last season as well: 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists).
In the off-season he made the decision to join the Dallas Stars organization and has played one game in the NHL this season. The bulk of his time though has been with the high-powered Texas Stars offense in the AHL. In 44 games this season, he has 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) – which ranks him in a four player tie for the sixth most points scored in the league this season. If he keeps up his hot season with the Stars he may well top his career best season with the Admirals: 2011-12, 73 games played and 60 points (32 goals, 28, assists).
Jon Blum played in 216 career games with the Admirals. In his tenure, no Admiral defenseman scored more points in the AHL history of the team: 113 points (23 goals, 90 assists).
Last season he split his time between Milwaukee and Nashville. As an Admiral, he played in 34 games and scored 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists). As a member of the Preds he played in 35 games while producing 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists).
Blum made a move to the Minnesota Wild organization over the summer and has played the majority of his time this season in the AHL with Iowa. He’s played 4 games in the NHL this season but has suited up 36 times for the Iowa Wild in the AHL. He is third on the team in scoring with 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists).
Jeremy Smith was an Admirals netminder from 2009-13. He played in 128 games in net, won 66 games, and had a save percentage of 0.916. In his first feature season with the team, 2010-11, he made a dazzling display during two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs. In that playoff run he started 13 games, won 7 games, had a 2.28 GAA, and a 0.931 SV%. He also had multiple games in that run of 40 or more saves: 4/22/11 @ Texas, 40 saves… 5/6/11 @ Houston, 50 saves… 5/1/11 vs Texas, 52 saves. He also famously fought Rob Flick on the April Fools Day bench clearing brawl – which would later be turned into a bobblehead.
Last season was a curious case for Smith and the Admirals. He played in 43 games, won 19 games, 2.77 GAA, and had a 0.907 SV%. He was overtaken as the Ads starting goaltender in the month of February when Magnus Hellberg really came on the scene with some huge performances.
In July of this past summer, he signed a one-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. He’s mainly spent time with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL and is having a successful campaign in terms of winning games. He has played in 28 games, won 17 games, 2.69 GAA, and has a 0.900 SV%. In December, the Blue Jackets called up Smith under emergency conditions – he did not play in-game during that recall.
Juuso Puustinen played in 128 career games as an Admiral over the course of two seasons. In his short time with the team he produced 63 points (31 goals, 32 assists). What stands out the most for me, and what honestly made me a massive fan of his, was his devastating knee injury and incredibly recovery.
On 3/10/12 against the Rockford IceHogs, Puustinen broke his kneecap in half while blocking a shot. He missed the rest of the 2011-12 season – one that was going so well for him: 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in 55 games. He rehabbed over the summer and was back in full game shape by Admirals pre-season camp. In his return from that knee injury he played more games last season than anyone else on this list, 73 games. He also scored 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) – including this hat trick performance in an 8-2 Admiral rout of the Barons on 1/25/13.
This summer he made the move back to his native Finland where he is having fantastic season with HIFK Helsinki. In 44 games he has 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists). Perhaps the move to the comforts of home has suited him well. Otherwise, at only 25-years old with a high-powered season in the works, he may well find himself back in North America in the near future.
Michael Latta was a massive fan favorite in Milwaukee and, quite honestly, still is. He played in 122 games over the course of three-seasons. He produced 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) and 286 penalty minutes as an Admiral.
Last season he played in 67 games, scored a career best in his AHL career 35 points (9 goals, 26 assists), and also logged 184 penalty minutes (another career best in his AHL playing career). Late in the season he was traded with Martin Erat to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Filip Forsberg. Latta played in 9 games with the Hershey Bears after the trade: scoring 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and picking up 14 PIM’s. He also played for the Bears in the playoffs for 5 games, scoring 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist), and tallying 6 PIM’s.
This season he started out with the Washington Capitals. He made his debut. He then scored his first NHL goal – and produced possibly one of the best photos of the hockey season in the process. In total, Latta played in 17 games with the Capitals while scoring 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) and earning 12 PIM’s. Since then the bulk of his game has been down with the Bears of the AHL: 22 games, 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists), and 83 PIM’s. Of the package that the Capitals received in exchange for Forsberg – Latta has more NHL goals this season than Erat… as has Forsberg for the Predators… both have only scored a goal… just saying.
Jani Lajunen. Remember him? He played in 115 games with the Admirals from 2011-13. In his two-year Ads career he tallied 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists) with a grand total of 32 penalty minutes.
Last season he felt an awful lot like the team’s invisible man. He played in 40 games, picked up 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists), and had 14 PIM’s. But he never really did anything all that impressive… that was until he helped the Admirals bring back former captain Scott Ford when he was traded for him to the Peoria Rivermen. After the trade, he played in 19 games with Peoria while only registering 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).
In the summer, the Fin decided to join the Växjö Lakers of the Swedish Elite League. Perhaps his game was just better suited to Europe where he started his career – because he isn’t doing all that badly with the Swedish squad so far. In 36 games he has 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) and he also have a plus/minus of +12. He’s on his way to having his best season since the year prior to joining the Admirals. In 2010-11 with Blues of the Finnish Elite League he played in 60 games, scored 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists), and also had a plus/minus of +7. Was the North American game the problem for him or are his skills best suited in Europe?
Ben Ryan was an Admiral from the 2010-13 seasons and played in 61 games. He only scored 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in that time – as well as 22 penalty minutes.
Last season was a tough one for Ryan. He only played in 36 games and produced 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists). The reason for his absence? Concussions. It was just such an frequent injury for him that, to my knowledge, he retired from the game of hockey after last season. For those who got to know him, you would know that Ben Ryan was one of the real nice guys of the game as well as a real smart one. Alongside his playing career at Notre Dame he also graduated from the University. No telling where Ryan applies his skills outside of the game – but I hope the very best for him.
Cam Reid’s Admiral career started last season by signing a PTO after playing a lone game with the Peoria Rivermen. Last season he played 54 games with the Ads, produced 19 points (3 goals, 16 assists), earned 13 penalty minutes, and had a plus/minus of -2.
This summer he joined the Colorado Avalanche system and started his season with the Denver Cutthroats of the Central Hockey League (CHL). He played 18 games with the Cutthroats, scored 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists), had 10 PIM’s, and had a woeful plus/minus of -11. He was called up to the Lake Erie Monsters in December and has remained at the AHL level since. He’s played in 11 games, scored 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists), and has 4 PIM’s.
Daniel Bang was one of the nice stories from last season. He joined the Nashville Predators organization after 7 seasons with AIK IF of the Swedish Elite League. In his first taste of the North American game he played in 53 games with the Admirals where he scored 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists). He also earned an NHL call up and played 8 games with the Predators where he tallied 2 assists.
Despite a good first impression state-side, he ended up going back to Europe this past off-season by joining Lausanne HC of National League A in Switzerland. In 44 games this season he has 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists), 35 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus of +6.
Mike Moore was the team’s captain last season. Despite battling through some injuries he was able to suit up for 50 games during the 2012-13 campaign. He scored 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists), had 42 penalty minutes, and had a plus/minus of +3.
In the off-season he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Boston Bruins. He’s played with the Providence Bruins from the start of the AHL season and has remained healthy – playing in all 47 games for the team. So far, he has 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) and also has a hefty 72 penalty minutes while building up his 2013-14 Fight Card.
Matt Halischuk! Alright, so he played two games last season on a conditioning assignment but still – he was on the team and left the organization. In the first game of his conditioning assignment he scored 2 goals from 10 shots on goal. The follow up game he tallied an assist with a lone shot on target.
In his Admirals playing career he registered 39 games. The bulk of that came from the 2010-11 season where he played 37 games, scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists), had 12 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus of +6.
He became a free agent last summer and signed a one-year contract with the Winnipeg Jets. Halischuk has played 30 games in the NHL this season and has scored 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). He’s still just 25-years old, but I do wonder if his best moment is already behind him.
Brad Winchester, aka The Winchester, joined the Admirals on a PTO midway through last season. His veteran impact on the team last year was a brilliant addition as the team headed into the playoff push. The Wisconsin native and former Badger played in 37 games with the Ads, scored 27 points (9 goals, 18 assists), and picked up 66 penalty minutes.
In late July, he signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks organization. That meant joining the rival Rockford IceHogs. He’s played 47 games for the IceHogs, scored 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists), has a plus/minus of -10, and enjoyed 79 minutes in the penalty box.
Jack MacLellan may have spent more time last season on the jumbotron pitching Virtual Aspects than actually playing hockey. He played 35 games with the Admirals and scored 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist). He found his way down to the Cincinnati Cyclones as well – playing 10 games – scoring 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists). That said, he did get unknowingly get goofed on during the bulk of last season’s “Gangnam Style” parody video by Roscoe.
Poor guy! Anyways, the Ivy Leaguer from Brown University has spent the entirety of his 2013-14 season in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers. He has played in 28 games (missing a total of 16 games) and has scored 15 points (9 goals, 6 assists).
Brian McGrattan was an Admiral for 6 games last season before being traded to the Calgary Flames organization for current Admiral and Wisconsin native Joe Piskula. In that short span, McGrattan earned 4 penalty minutes. That’s it.
Since joining the Calgary Flames, McGrattan has played in 70 NHL games – including 51 of 55 games this season. His numbers with the Flames since the trade, this year and last, are 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) and 142 penalty minutes. He has had 10 fights in the NHL this season alone: Fight Card. Also, he was a darn good mediator between Jon Tortorella and Clint Malarchuk not too long ago.
Zach Hamill was a very late season loan deal to the Milwaukee Admirals from the Florida Panthers organization. The eighth overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins was able to make a good contribution to the Ads in their playoff push. He dressed for 6 games, scored 4 points (3 goals, 1 assists), played in 4 playoff games, and scored 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in the playoff series against the Texas Stars.
His 2013-14 campaign has been busy – but more to do with his travel arrangements more than anything. He began the season with the Utica Comets where he played in 21 games and scored 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists). He was then placed on unconditional waivers before signing with Barys Astana of the KHL (source). In Russia so far he has played in 10 games, scored 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists), has a plus/minus of -2, and has tallied 8 penalty minutes.
Andre Bouvet-Morrissette. Remember him? No? Wouldn’t surprise me if you didn’t because, heck, he was the lone player of this whole group that I needed to pull photos from the now defunct Peoria Rivermen photo archive. He only played in 2 games with the Admirals before being dealt to Peoria in exchange for future considerations.
After leaving the Ads he played up and down between Peoria and the Evansville Icemen of the ECHL. Last season he played in 17 games with the Rivermen in the AHL, scored 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists), and had 4 penalty minutes. He also played in 6 games with the Icemen of the ECHL, produced 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist), and picked up 6 PIM’s.
This season he has remained with the Icemen of the ECHL. He’s played in 23 games, scored 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists), and explored the penalty box for 16 minutes.
Any surprises from last season’s departures and where they are or how they’re playing? Are there any players that you wish, from this list, were still with the team?