We discussed the potential free agents here at the Roundtable on Monday. Now let’s actually think about what the potential 2014-15 roster and lines could look like.
I think the easiest way to go about constructing next year’s team and line combos would be to work backwards. Example, if you look at that list of upcoming free agents for the Admirals this off-season, let’s forget about them entirely and build from there. That means no restricted or unrestricted free agents as well as leaving off the one real “destined to start in the NHL next season” bloke, Calle Jarnkrok, because I’m pretty sure we have seen the last of him in Milwaukee. This is what I’ve come up with:
Filip Forsberg (LW) – Colton Sissons (C) – Taylor Beck (W)
Miikka Salomaki (W/C) – Brendan Leipsic (C/LW) – Patrick Cehlin (RW)
Pontus Aberg (LW) – Mark Van Guilder (C) – Austin Watson (C/RW)
Kevin Henderson (LW) – Felix Girard (C) – Zach Budish (W)
That could be a potential squad for next season. If you’re like me – you probably already spotted some red flags. (1) there aren’t quite confirmed numbers on defense (2) the only right-handed defenseman accounted for would be Aronson (3) Budish or Aronson would really need to earn their roster spots at the AHL level given their play this previous season (3) experience is very much lacking – if you take away Van Guilder the oldest player on that roster would be Henderson at 27-years old – and there is no guarantee that we’ll even see him back after his loan move to the Texas Stars this season.
There are other players on the cuff to make the Admirals next season and for the years ahead. One of the names I left off of my mock-roster was Josh Shalla – who we have seen but, similar to his pals playing with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL right now, would more than likely need to earn his place on the AHL roster. That said, from the last three draft years alone there are still plenty prospects on the horizon in terms of making it to Milwaukee. Those all include Nashville Predators draft selections that are either in Juniors, College, or in Europe:
North America: Teemu Kivihalme (18, D, NCAA), Tommy Veilleux (19, LW, QMJHL), Wade Murphy (20, RW, NCAA), Jimmy Vesey (20, LW, ECAC), Zach Stepan (20, C, WCHA), Chase Balisy (22, F, NCHC), Brent Andrews (21, C, QMJHL)
Europe: Juuse Saros (19, G, Finland), Saku Maenalanen (19, W, Finland), Emil Pettersson (20, C, Sweden), Janne Juvonen (19, G, Finland), Simon Fernholm (20, D, Sweden), Max Gortz (21, RW, Sweden), Simon Karlsson (20, D, Sweden)
I’m sure there are some players that I missed from that grouping of prospects -but- you can help me fill that in if that’s the case!
So, there are some holes that certainly need to be addressed this summer. I feel the two biggest are getting experience and a right-handed shot on defense to get that balance that you want from a team. Perhaps Scott Ford has another season left in the tank after-all.
How do you see the 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals shaping out? What is needed the most? Where are the holes? What new players would you be most excited to see?