Tonight’s game just took a slight swerve. The AHL has announced that Triston Grant has been suspended one-game as consequence for his actions against the Oklahoma City Barons Sunday evening. Grant picked up an instigator in the final five minutes of the third period which results in an automatic one-game suspension under the provisions of AHL Rule 46.22.
Without Grant, the Admirals numbers on the forwards group just became an interesting storyline for tonight’s game. Sunday’s game was the Admirals forward corps stretched as far as they could go without calling up Josh Shalla from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL after Viktor Stålberg was recalled just prior to game time. If Shalla isn’t brought up with Grant being suspended for tonight they will either need to (1) hope that Mike Liambas has had his lacerated lower right leg heal up (2) likewise with Miikka Salomäki‘s upper-body injury that has had him on the shelf since mid-February (3) go the classic Scott Valentine route and dress a defenseman up as a forward for the night.
Interestingly enough, that final option also hinges on one of two things. The first option is that Jonathan Diaby returns to the lineup after missing the previous two games. He did participate in Sunday’s pre-game warm ups, mind you, so it’s certainly possible he’s back tonight. The latter option is that Garrett Noonan, the human yo-yo, returns for tonight after his third reassignment to Cincinnati only a few days ago.
My guess, barring a Shalla recall, is that Diaby returns tonight and that the Admirals for one game only “LIVE ON PAY PER VIEW” will play a defensemen up top with the fourth line against the Barons. Who would be the most likely candidate to step up into that capacity is the $64,000 question. Part of me would think that it would be someone like Anthony Bitetto as a player that is a bit rangy from the blueline as it is. I’d keep a small eye on the AHL Transactions‘ page just in case of a Shalla recall though.
Looks like you won’t need to do as much digging around as I did pure speculation. Aaron Sims reports that Ian White will in fact be the Admirals defenseman stepping up into a forward role tonight. Sims goes on to mention that White will play right wing and has actually played in that capacity for a short time as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 2008-09.