We are now ten games into the Milwaukee Admirals 2014-15 season. The record is 8-2-0-0 (16 points) and has them second in the Midwest Division and fifth in the Western Conference. Most teams sitting ahead of the Admirals, with the exception of the Texas Stars (14 points), have played extra games in the schedule at this point. The top two in the conference are the Utica Comets (22 points) and Rockford IceHogs (21 points) – both of whom have played thirteen games.
There have been so many positives through the opening ten games. The Ads had a franchise best six-game winning streak to start a season. Marek Mazanec went five-for-five with wins to start the season. Brendan Leipsic is currently better than a point-per-game player in his rookie season with 11 points (all of which are assists). The young Admirals defense, combined with the great goaltending performances behind them, have only allowed 21 goals – only the Utica Comets have allowed less… one less.
Above all, what has excited me the most about our 2014-15 Admirals season through ten games has been the composure of a team that entered as the youngest in the AHL this season. Rarely has age or inexperience looked like a factor for the Admirals. If anything, it is the new brew here in Milwaukee that are the reason for the early success. Only Jimmy Oligny and Jonathan Diaby, of the ten rookies on the Admirals roster, have yet to record a point of offense. Even then, as defensemen, the two have a combined +2 plus/minus.
The sophomores, Colton Sissons and Miikka Salomäki, may not have had the quickest of starts as they may have liked. Sissons: 4 points (4 goals, 0 assists). Salomaki: 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists). That is something that doesn’t bother me all that much, though. The two have a combined 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) in the last two-games alone. These two combined for 94 points (45 goals, 49 assists) of offense last season. It is only a matter of time before they start storming back to last season’s points-per-game form.
In goal, Magnus Hellberg appears to have found the magic he displayed in his 2012-13 rookie season when he was the rock that spearheaded the Admirals into the Calder Cup playoffs. He has only made three starts but has won them all – including the 4-0 shutout in the Admirals most recent game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. He now has an AHL best 0.64 goals against average and 0.973 save percentage. Considering the hot start for Mazanec. This return to form for Hellberg creates a phenomenal problem to have. Which goalie do you start? And does it really matter who starts at this point – all things considered? Spoiled for choice.
Who has impressed you the most through the Milwaukee Admirals opening ten games? Who has impressed you the least? Which Admiral rookie has been the best so far? What does this hot start to the season do for the Admirals in the later stages of the campaign? Who would you say was the Admiral of the Month for October?