Last season’s head-to-head against the Iowa Wild was a big bright spot for the Milwaukee Admirals. The Ads went 8-2-0-0 from the season series. Of their eight wins they had three shutouts – all of which came with Scott Darling in net. To boot, this match-up featured the biggest win in the Admirals 2013-14 season when they won 9-1 during the first day of PekkaMania.
All things told. The Ads outscored the Wild last season 36-15 in 10 games. Through the Admirals opening 2 games this season they have 9 goals. The Wild? They have 4 goals in 2 games. The Ads won both contests. The Wild lost two games: 3-2 @ San Antonio, 4-2 @ Texas. So, same old same old? Let’s take a look.
~New Season, New Leaders~
The Admirals aren’t the only one missing a quality leader this season to last. The Wild and former-captain Jake Dowell parted ways in the off-season and the ex-Badger now plays for the Hamilton Bulldogs. Dowell had played 94 AHL games in the organization.
Taking over the captaincy of the Iowa Wild is 32-year old veteran winger Stéphane Veilleux. Their new captain has 494 career games of NHL experience to his name to go along with 338 career AHL games. He’s been with the Wild organization since the 2011-12 season.
In Hockey’s Future’s Top 20 Prospects for the Minnesota Wild you will find a good majority of Iowa products. Of that Top 20 there are eight in the AHL right now and that list is topped by Gustav Olofsson.
The 19-year old Swedish defenseman was selected by the Wild in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. Thinking there might be an adjustment for him to North America? Think again. He has had a young career with the Colorado Thunderbirds, Green Bay Gamblers, Colorado College, and had an 8 game cameo with the Iowa Wild last season. Olofsson gives the Wild plenty of skill from defense and, being so young, is 6’2″ with room to grow into a a real force in Minnesota. That aspiration starts this season in Iowa.
The top rated forward prospect in Iowa this season is a former first round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, Jordan Schroeder. After a series of injuries in his professional career (high ankle sprain, shoulder surgery, left ankle fracture) the Canucks decided not to tender him and Schroeder became an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. The Wild signed him to a two-year, two-way contract. And he is hoping to rebound from a season in which he played only 27 games between the NHL and AHL.
What can we expect out of the Admirals against the Wild in 2014-15? Can the Ads continue last season’s success against Iowa? With another Friday-Saturday two-in-two for the Admirals… Would you start Marek Mazanec in both games as the team did last weekend?