There certainly could be a rant in regards to last night’s 4-3 defeat to the Lake Erie Monsters. It was an ugly looking game that seemed to sucker punch the Admirals after their 4-0 shutout on Tuesday that appeared to be a return to form. Sadly that wasn’t that case.
As optimistically as I can put it. This spell is still a good thing as far as the learning process is concerned for so many of the prospects on the Admirals roster. The good start was just that. But it is seeing these players overcoming adversity, time and time again, that will help long term. The rest of the teams in the AHL have gotten better since the start of the season. So must the Admirals. The answer as to “how” they get out of this funk may just define their season.
~The Then & Now Report~
In another effort to get all of our minds off of last night’s game I thought it would be fun to look at some recent and (possibly) future Admirals. Plenty of names worth discussing and worth giving a look. Let’s start with some former Admirals to start things out.
Scott Ford. What better place to start than with The Sheriff? Since joining the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL he has played 6 games, tallied an assist, has a plus/minus rating of +1, has 12 penalty minutes, and 2 fights.
Braden Pimm. Why talk about him? Because, fun fact, he remains teammates with fellow Fort St. John, BC native Ford with those very same South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. Pimm has played in 20 games, is fourth on the Stingrays in scoring with 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists), and has 8 penalty minutes.
Michael Young. Hey! Remember this guy? He made his professional playing debut with the Milwaukee Admirals last season and was injured in that debut, never to be seen again. At least not until this season where he, you guessed it, joined the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. How trendy? He was actually a roster camp invitee of the Boston Bruins in pre-season. Thus far with the Stingrays he has played 9 games, hasn’t produced offensively, and is a -7 player.
Kirill Gotovets. Hey! Another “remember this guy?” player. He wasn’t really sure how he even became an Admiral last season but, like Young, made his professional playing debut as a member of the Admirals. This season he has been a member of the Indy Fuel of the ECHL and has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games.
Joonas Järvinen. I was always a fan of Järvinen. He was a no nonsense stay at home style defenseman that could hit like a hammer and just seemed to be getting better. He joined the newly formed HK Sochi of the KHL in the off-season and… well, I wonder if he is dreaming of Milwaukee. In 29 games he has an assist, 20 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus rating of -11… which is a 25 point drop off compared to his last season as an Admiral… oof..
Bryan Rodney. The man I nicknamed “Thunderdome” due to his hit and miss, hot and cold, fan reception joined HC Bolzano in Austria in October. He has played 19 games, scored 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists), and has 14 penalty minutes.
Charles-Olivier Roussel. Another likable guy on this list – it has actually proved to be a busy year for Rouss on the loose. He had signed an ECHL deal with the Utah Grizzlies in late September but found himself traded in November to another ECHL squad in the Greenville Road Warriors. In total, his ECHL numbers this season read as such: 21 games, 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists), 8 penalty minutes, and a -2 rating.
Vinny Saponari. He signed a deal with the Hartford Wolf Pack in September and has spent the majority of this season in the ECHL with Roussel and the Greenville Road Warriors. He did get a quick AHL stint where he picked up an assist in 3 games. Yet, it’s been mainly ECHL duty to this point: 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 22 games.
Scott Valentine. Last season ended on a sad note for Valentine. He had a shoulder injury that required surgery and he ended up missing the playoffs. He healed up and signed with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL before getting signed to an AHL contract by the Texas Stars exactly one month later. He has played 10 games for the Stars and has himself 29 penalty minutes so far.
Kevin Henderson. Similar to Ford and Pimm. Let’s stay on the same team! Henderson remains with the Texas Stars, who he won last year’s Calder Cup with, after Nashville shipped him off at the start of the season. He has a single assist from 16 games. 4 penalty minutes, and a -4 rating. In his 15 game stint with the Stars last season he had 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists).
Paul Crowder. The man with the longest neck in the entire world, probably, joined the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) and Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) ahead of the 2014-15 season. His season, like most, has been spent at the ECHL level where he has played 17 games for the Komets, scored 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists), and has 4 penalty minutes
Simon Moser. He wasn’t happy that he wasn’t guaranteed his place on the Nashville Predators NHL roster. So he said, “something something I’m going home.” It’s proving to be a very poor decision on his part because a combination of injuries and bad form has seen him play 9 games for Bern in his native Switzerland and register no points of offense and 4 penalty minutes.
Joonas Rask. Meanwhile, in another tale of going home, Tuukka’s brother is finding some success in his return to Liiga in Finland. He joined fellow former-Admiral Juuso Puustinen at HIFK and has produced 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists), 2 penalty minutes, and is a +12 player in 23 league games. His team is also in the Champion’s Hockey League and Rask has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 4 games.
Francis Wathier. The man we saw effectively get swapped for with Henderson and the Texas Stars last season was a nice addition in the late goings of last season’s playoff push. He joined the Portland Pirates in October on a PTO contract before making the deal an official contract to last the rest of this season. He has played 20 games for the Pirates and has 3 assists and 10 penalty minutes.
That’s last year’s group. Certainly worth looking at many more. Whether it is looking at someone such as Michael Latta who has been up with the Washington Capitals all season. Alexander Radulov getting sent airborne. There’s been some pretty good stuff going on.
There are a certain few players worth keeping a major eye out for. The recent draft class for the Nashville Predators was a solid one. To boot, there is another outstanding Finnish goaltending making major strides in the pipeline.
Kevin Fiala. The 11th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 20 games for HV71 in the SHL this season. He certainly looked impressive in the Predators pre-season. At 18-years old he’s probably playing his final season of hockey in Europe.
Vladislav Kamenev. This was the first of two second round draft selections in the 2014 NHL Draft for the Preds. Kamenev, another 18-year old forward prospect, has produced 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists) in 31 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.
Jack Dougherty. This would of course be the second of those second round picks by the Preds. For all you Wisconsin based readers, you could skip this section and cheer this defenseman on the flip-side of the calendar when the Wisconsin Badgers season gets back and running. (side note. You think the Admirals run is bad? Look at the Badgers record this season.) Dougherty has played in 10 games, is a -11 player, and has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).
Justin Kirkland. Another one of the forwards selected by the Predators in the 2014 NHL Draft, Kirkland has tallied 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 24 games for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. He has some work to do if he wants to match Colton Sissons numbers for the Rockets, though.
Juuse Saros. This Finnish netminder is in his second full season of professional hockey for HPK in Liiga… at 19-years old. This season he has a 2.30 goals against average and a 0.924 save percentage in 24 games. Last season he had a ridiculous 1.76 goals against average in 44 games. Just another quality European goalie in the Predators system.
What players are you most excited to see coming through the ranks in the Nashville Predators prospect pipeline? Any former Admirals you still following? Are there any names listed above, who played last season in Milwaukee, that you wish we kept?