As a Formula 1 fan I’ve always loved the term “crazy season” when speculation starts to build in regards to what drivers swapping teams or losing a race seat for the next season ahead. That’s pretty much what this gray area in the off-season kind of is, isn’t it? The playing season is over within the Nashville Predators entire organization yet there is still playoff hockey going on around the globe along with the 2015 IIHF World Championships. To me this is crazy season. The rumor mill is brewing and it will only intensify as the off-season pushes forward.
With that in mind there are three potential names that have surfaced recently that could impact the Milwaukee Admirals next season. All three would be making the big leap from Europe to North America and the likely destination if they did would be right here in Milwaukee. Those players are Max Görtz, Vladislav Kamenev, and Juuse Saros.
There is a reason why I say potential and name this as a rumor piece. It isn’t a set in stone fact yet. They just all appear to be on the verge of actually making this a reality is all. Let’s review some of the evidence as to why and ponder the question of if.
I’ve already touched upon the potential move for Görtz. According to Henrik Leman of GT in Sweden, he is set to leave Frölunda of the Swedish Hockey League for North American hockey in the 2015-16 season. He signed his three-year entry level contract last season but opted to remain in Europe on loan with Frölunda. It appears that spell is now done and he’s ready to embark on his North American professional playing career.
This then gets paired with the recent news that Predators second round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, Russian forward Kamenev, was released of his contract by Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. The two sides came together and mutually agreed to terminate his contract. As of right now he has yet to sign an entry level contract with the Predators. Should that news happen it should say enough of whether or not he’s committed to leaving his native Russia in the near future.
Lastly comes that Finnish goaltending prospect we all have our eyes on, Saros. Will he be here or will he stay in Europe for another year? Well, according to the man himself, he seems likely to arrive in North America for the 2015-16 season:
“There is a high probability I am no longer with [HPK] next season. It looks like I’ll be somewhere in North America.” ~ Juuse Saros, MTV Finland
Does this mean he actually will cross the pond? No, but it does make things look all the more likely that it will happen. What I will find all the more exciting in relation to this news is what will it mean for Magnus Hellberg or Marek Mazanec? Do both stay? Does one get traded at this year’s NHL Draft? I still wouldn’t be against all three being in North America with Saros joining the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL for the 2015-16 season.
This, in truth, is a nice problem for Nashville to have. They have too much talent at one position and can make a move or feel free stay put and wait for a better deal down the road if the see fit. I feel the likely scenario would be one of the Milwaukee goaltending duo from this season gets shipped out at the NHL Draft for a pick should Saros be setting his sights on North American hockey this fall. That’ll be a storyline to sit back and wait to see play out.
Should all three of the above names make their North American debuts next season I think it only makes the Admirals that much more exciting. Saros is very young but has been showing incredibly exciting results at the top tier of Finnish hockey for the past two-seasons. Görtz is coming off of his best professional playing season in Sweden and is a bigger bodied player than most of his European counterparts in Milwaukee. And Kamenev is a very young but very skilled and dynamic forward. All three would only make the Admirals that much better were they to join.
Do you anticipate these three being in Milwaukee next season? How do you expect the goaltending situation to pan out should Saros make the leap? Who would be more likely to leave via trade, Hellberg or Mazanec?