The Milwaukee Admirals appear to be losing bits and pieces early in free agency. While a Joe Piskula or Magnus Hellberg in an AHL setting might not be too bad in terms of head-to-head competition against their former team you just cannot say the same about this news. Mike Liambas has signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Press Release via Chicago Blackhawks:
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today they have agreed to terms with defenseman Cameron Schilling on a two-year contract, which runs through the end of the 2016-17 National Hockey League season, and defenseman Michael Liambas on a one-year contract, which runs through the end of the 2015-16 NHL season.
Schilling, 26, appeared in four games with the Washington Capitals and recorded 18 points (3G, 15A) in 63 regular-season games for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League last season. The Carmel, Ind., native also notched eight points (3G, 5A) in 10 postseason games with Hershey.
He has skated in six NHL games, all with Washington (2012-15). He has also registered 50 career points (13G, 37A) in 210 career AHL games, all with Hershey (2011-15). Prior to turning pro, Schilling tallied 57 points (8G, 49A) in four seasons at Miami University. He was also named to two NCAA All-Regional teams (2008, 2010) and helped Miami win the 2010-11 CCHA Championship.
Liambas, 26, collected eight points (5G, 3A) and 158 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL last season. He has registered 17 points (9G, 8A) and 499 PIM over 141 career AHL games, all with Milwaukee (2012-15).
The Woodbridge, Ontario, native previously totaled 21 points (3G, 18A) and 403 PIM in 87 games over three seasons in the East Coast Hockey League with the Cincinnati Cyclones (2010-13) and Orlando Solar Bears (2012-13). Liambas also recorded nine points (3G, 6A) and 82 PIM in 25 games for the University of British Columbia in 2010-11 and four points (1G, 3A) and 146 PIM for the Bloomington PrairieThunder of the International Hockey League from 2008-2010. Prior to turning pro, Liambas notched 13 points (5G, 8A) and 357 PIM in 124 games over four seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.
I feel like I must preface this much the same way I did when Scott Darling made this move. You can’t help but feel happy for the guy because of his story, his dedication to getting better and better, and simply the person that he is. Liambas could well be known only for fighting or an incident in juniors but in his time with the Admirals he’s worked so hard on the details of the game and results have come from that. Him getting this deal speaks volumes to just that.
What’s sad now, especially for fans, is he’ll most likely be on the opposite end of one of the Admirals biggest rivals, the Rockford IceHogs. Liambas is the type of player you hate to see playing against you but love having on your team. Imagine him scrapping it out now against former teammates? Well, perhaps that might not entirely be true because the press release by the Blackhawks announced him as a defenseman.
Liambas played his entire career as a defenseman until his time as a member of the Admirals. When injuries hit back in February he even managed to step back into the role on the blue line and looked like he didn’t miss a beat. Liambas has been fine enough as a bottom line winger and penalty killing forward. Him reverting back to defense might peel back some of the fighting with a bigger emphasis on being solid and smart defensively. It won’t be fun playing against him, true, but it will be fun seeing him back in a role he once played and one that could possibly set him up for an even better future.