The season only just came to a close a few days ago but there is still a fair bit of uncertainty as to what the Milwaukee Admirals will look like for the 2014-15 season. According to Cap Geek, which does have a few names missing from the ones below, the Admirals will have seven restricted free agents and nine unrestricted free agents.
RFA: Taylor Beck, Anthony Bitetto, Joonas Jarvinen, Simon Moser, Joonas Rask, Charles-Olivier Roussel, Scott Valentine
UFA: Paul Crowder, Scott Darling, Scott Ford, Mike Liambas, Joe Piskula, Bryan Rodney, Vinny Saponari, Mathieu Tousignant, Francis Wathier
With those in mind you then start thinking about some of the new faces that should enter the system in the near future. In fact, we’ve had the chance to get a good look at a few of them already: Pontus Åberg, Jonathan Diaby, Felix Girard, Brendan Leipsic, Garrett Noonan, Jaynen Rissling, and Mikko Vainonen.
It has to be said, looking top-side and from our end, boy are we ever stacked when it comes to defensemen! I would be surprised to see us go forward into next season without some sort of veteran mind in that core. Whether it would be Ford, Piskula, or both would be an interesting decision.
I also have to wonder, having watched the Toronto Marlies really out-pace him in the playoffs, if we may have actually seen the last of the Sheriff. It would be painfully sad if that would be the case but I have to imagine, turning 35-years old this December, it could be getting closer to that time when both side have to move on.
As for the Nashville Predators they will have a few RFAs/UFAs as well.
RFA: Michael Del Zotto, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Nick Spaling
UFA: Patrick Eaves, Carter Hutton
Also, joy of joys, the Preds partial hold on Devan Dubnyk‘s contract will also come off of the books. I expect Nashville to gleefully let Eaves walk and I also expect the team to make a push on re-signing Hutton. As for any potential summer moves – what do you think could or should happen?
Who would you like to see stay and who would you like to see go? Will there be a youth-movement on the Admirals blueline in the 2014-14 season? Are there other prospects you feel can add to the mix next season? Should any of our late-2014 ATO players also be considered for next season?
10 thoughts on “Admirals, Predators, and Upcoming Free Agents”
It will definitely be interesting to see who comes back. I think it will depend a bit on what direction the new Preds coach wants to go. When they get one that is. IMO it is time to part ways with Ford. I would love to see Piskula stay and be our new Captain.
Agree that it will definitely be an interesting offseason. I know part of being an AHL team is multiple new faces each year, but the amount for next year that we will see seems crazy (I’m counting those that only played a handful of games with the Ads at the end of this season).
I can easily see the Preds not resigning Ford, Piskula or Rodney. I agree that Ford was getting wiped off the ice by Toronto. The one thing he can continue to offer is great leadership with how many young guys there will be next season. I don’t think that wil be enough, though. Piskula can also offer that leadership, but I don’t see him being resigned either. Just too many younger guys coming up. I think he’ll end up the captain or an alternate on another AHL team, but again with an NHL two-way contract.
A couple guys I think should definitely be resigned, almost definitely to AHL-only deals are Saponari and Liambas. Saponari played really well and if he take strides again next year like he did this year he may find himself with an NHL two-way deal a couple years from now (thought he most likely would almost exclusively play in the AHL). Liambas just adds to much energy to the team. I don’t think he needs to be the king of penalty minutes to do that either. His go-get attitude is great and I think he pumps up his teammates.
Lastly, I’ll say it again. If the Preds don’t sign Darling to a two-way contract, another NHL team will. He’ll end up playing in the AHL again, as he needs to prove he can play well consistently, but I don’t think 30 GMs can ignore how well he played this past season.
D-men that I would like to see back in Milwaukee: Valentine, Piskula and Bitetto. COR and Jarvinen would also be good. I liked Diaby. That leaves one spot open.
I am surprised that Darling didn’t get a playoff start, like in Game 3. I would have played him.
I would love to have Liambas and Wathier back next season. The Admirals need them badly. Vinny, Moser, Rask, Beck, Tousi and Watson are welcome. Crowder may be in Cincinnati again. That leaves room for 4 or 5 forwards. I assume that Calle will be in Nashville. That leaves Forsberg, Cehlin, Sissons, Salomaki and MVG. My guess is that 1 or 2 of them aren’t returning.
The thought of Scott Ford not being in an Ads jersey again seems so wrong but I feel it will ultimately happen he’s been a real great mentor for the guys and genuinely likes the city. I feel all of the defense will be gone maybe Piskula stays as the new Ford and also has call up appeal if the Preds need someone for an injury. I think Bitteto and Jarvinen are really great and if I were in charge they’d be kept here. Look forward to Diaby being here. Beck will be somewhere thats not our system not sure he’s in Nashvilles plans. MVG deserves a third line spot on an NHL team shouldn’t be here anymore. Also I think the Ads should start a hall fame for past players like the Packers do. Maybe it’s something for their new home either the Cell or Bucks stadium.
Most of the signings will depend on Poiles choice of coach and whether he makes a splash in free agency, but I would expect Beck, Bitetto, and Roussel to return as RFAs. No way Rask leaves Europe to play 4th line again much less be a playoff scratch. Valentine, though reasonably solid may have hit his ceiling and get passed over for the youngsters. Jarvinen and Moser, I would think would want some chance at NHL time or they might stay in Europe as well.
Of the UFAs, with all that youth I would think that Piskula would be a solid fit as potentially the new captain, I would love to see the Admirals make Ford an assistant coach as he could really help the youngsters. If Jarvinen doesn’t return I would think that the Admirals sign a veteran defenseman preferably one with puckmoving skills but more defensively sound than Rodney. Darling’s play probably prices him out of the plans as I think that Maz and Hellberg will be the Milwaukee goalies next year. Saponari and Liambas should be back and I would love to see Tousi back as well as Wathier but there may not be room as Leipsic, Aberg, Girard, and Vellieux all should probably be in Milwaukee next year. I would expect to see at least 2 and possibly 3 of the rookie defensemen on the team with 1 or 2 going to Cincinnati.
Doesn’t Nashville have another goalie prospect over in Europe?
Yeah Juuse Saros. Im not sure if he is eligible to come over to the AHL yet or not. He will not be 20 until April of 15. Im not sure how that works for guys coming overseas. I know if you come from the CHL you have to be 20 or have 4 years playing in Major Juniors.
I think the Predators would be foolish to let Taylor Beck go. He seems to finally be “figuring it out”. As far as everybody else I would not be surprised to see 80% of them gone. I think you keep a couple veteran guys around. Piskula and probably Liambas. I really like Tousignants game but I’m not so sure he makes the team unless they need to fill roster spots. I think your going to see the team turned over to the young guys and veterans signed for guidance and roster fillers. Offer Ford a front office position and sign a couple kids to some try-outs. A lot of the guys mentioned have pretty much showed us what they have. Valentine will be a perennial AHL player. Roussel has some potential but probably projects as a Depth Defensemen at the NHL level. Moser is intriguing but he got his shot and did not exactly set the world on fire. Wathier is a career AHL forward and thats a proven fact. Bitteto is probably worth another year as is Saponari. Aside from that I think the Preds lock up Beck and maybe one or two other guys from the list and turn the team over to the young guys. After all it is a development league.
I love the guys but with the hiring of Laviollette I sense the team getting a make over from top to bottom. AHL coaching staff stays the same but look for them to be going into battle with a slew of fresh meat looking to prove themselves.