Still buzzing over the 6-3 win in the Admirals season opener? Great news! We get to do it all over again tonight. This time it’s a road tilt against the diabolical divisional rivals, the Rockford IceHogs.
What’s funny to think of when looking at the IceHogs this season is that I feel they may not have the laughable madness in them anymore. Instead, I think they mirror similarly to the Admirals in age and talent. And if I had to hazard a guess, today, who I think could win the Midwest Division this season… it would be the Rockford IceHogs. Why? All you need to do is look at their roster and it will tell you they may have their most talented team in years.
When you think of how thick the Nashville Predators glass ceiling is this season, in terms of leaping from Milwaukee to the NHL, you can’t help but see a team like the Chicago Blackhawks and their AHL affiliate and laugh. There are so many talented young players that could well be NHL talents were they in any other organization. The one that tops the scales for me in that department is 20-year old Teuvo Teräväinen.
Teravainen was selected by the Blackhawks with the 18th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft. He made his professional debut in North America last season for both the Blackhawks and IceHogs after a solid career in Finland with Jokerit. He suited up for 3 games in the NHL and 5 games for the IceHogs in the AHL. It gave him just enough of a look at the game style here in North America for his head to be fastened firmly come this season.
He might be young. He might have his own learning curve at the North American adjustment. But I’m not sure any of that matters with the mind he has for the game. If Colton Sissons is the man with expectations to shoulder a load here in Milwaukee – his equivalent is Teravainen. The difference between the two for me is that the Teuvo has better instincts for attacking. In 133 games of professional hockey in Finland he produced 93 points (33 goals, 60 assists). I think he can hit the ground running at the AHL level this season.
~Fear the Beard~
One of the better stories from last season was the rise of Scott Darling. He started off as the Admirals guy down in Cincinnati. Played a fair amount of games in the ECHL. And then the hectic cycle of injuries at the goaltending position started for the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals. In stepped Darling. And it felt like he was right at home. His strong season with the Admirals put him on plenty of teams radars and he eventually landed with his hometown Blackhawks on a two-way contract.
T.J. Brennan ran rough-shot on the AHL as a member of the Toronto Marlies last season: 72 points (25 goals, 47 assists) in 76 games. He wound up earning something the Maple Leafs didn’t give him last year, an NHL look. He signed a one-way deal with the New York Islanders in the off-season. Then came a trade. The Islanders acquired Nick Leddy in exchange for Brennan and Ville Pokka and Anders Nilsson. After clearing waivers, Mr. Brennan became an IceHog.
There no doubt that Brennan can handle himself at the AHL level: 199 points (76 goals, 123 assists) in 301 career games. With chances to get into the NHL with Chicago just as difficult as it is for our Admirals to get up to Nashville – Brennan should be here the majority of this season. That’s bad for him. And good for the IceHogs.
Thoughts on the Admirals game tonight? Are the IceHogs the top team in our division this season? Scoreline prediction?