It is a tad overkill for a fully fledged scouting the enemy today when you consider we did that whole song and dance about two weeks ago on the Iowa Wild. So, let’s do some quick recapping and take a look into our own team in today’s scouting report.
~Be Kind, Rewind~
The Admirals played a so-so game in their first meeting of the season against the Wild. The game finished 4-3 and the Ads nearly coughed up a 4-1 lead. This was followed the next night by a game that wasn’t even remotely close. Marek Mazanec recorded his first career AHL shutout. Viktor Arvidsson scored a natural hat trick. And the Admirals won 4-0.
What has happened since for the Wild? They played two more home games and split them with the Charlotte Checkers. This past Friday the Wild lost 5-1. The next night they were finally able to earn their win of the season, 4-1. They sit at the bottom of the entire AHL with a record of 1-5-0-0 (2 points). In other words, they are the yin to our yang as far as this young season has developed so far. (Don’t take the Admirals hot start and win streak for granted!)
~The Great Gustafsson Mystery~
In his first start of the season, Johan Gustafsson may have allowed three goals but he had an impressive thirty-six saves in a 3-2 road loss against the San Antonio Rampage. Then came the Admirals and back-to-back rough nights in net. He was pulled the first night against the Ads after allowing four goals from eight shots in 21:50 of ice time. The next night he hung around for the distance but, again, conceded four goals.
The spark he, as well as the entire Iowa Wild team needed, was that first win of the season. Gustafsson was the man in net on Saturday night when the Wild took down the Checkers. He made thirty-four saves from thirty-five shots on goal. This includes being the fort in net when the Wild’s penalty kill went six-of-six on the night.
So, which Gustafsson do the Admirals get? The one that was stellar last time out or the one that requires an Iowa Wild team to produce more than four goals to win?
~Admirals Roster Shake-Up~
There’s no telling which line Viktor Stalberg will be injected into but there is no denying his inclusion, on a conditioning assignment, will make this team even better. The Admirals forward lines have stayed pretty consistent during this franchise best start to a season. Unfamiliar? It has looked as such:
I’m sure the top two lines listed there are sort of “1-A, 1-B” but that’s where things are about to get complex. There are a number of possibilities as to what Dean Evason could roll out with tonight.
With how well Mark Van Guilder and Austin Watson have been playing together – Stalberg is a similar style player that could fit in there. But, I question if taking Brendan Leipsic off that line is the best thing for how well he has worked in concert with his linemates. It could be that you see Miikka Salomaki or Pontus Aberg rotate down with the eventual choice of Joe Pendenza or Zach Budish getting healthy scratched with Triston Grant pulling fourth line duty. Shame, as well. Because that fourth-line has also been playing well.
All that and we haven’t even thought of what will happen to Mike Liambas, who is healthy and game ready, should Rich Clune clear waivers and reach Milwaukee. While that works itself out I’ll be enjoying the fact that we now have two players named Viktor and reciting “Smoke Signals” quotes.
UPDATE: Rich Clune has cleared waivers and will be assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals.
What do you expect out of tonight’s game? Scoreline prediction? Can the Admirals winning-streak continue? How would you re-work the Admirals forward lines to incorporate Viktor Stalberg?