Today is an off-day for the Milwaukee Admirals. Rather than kick back – and glare into the roster-verse thinking about if the team will get another forward back ahead of tomorrow’s game – I’ve decided to do another Admirals Roundtable Mailbag. Answering any and all of your questions. There were already a few questions asked yesterday via social media but feel free to keep asking away in the comment’s section and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
What do you think of the difference in chemistry is on the ice at the beginning of the season compared to now? ~@awaitingseason
I feel like the biggest difference is simply the time it has taken for everyone in the locker room to settle in. I feel like a perfect example of the early season struggles can come from what a guy like Adam Payerl was experiencing. He was a training camp invitee from the Cincinnati Cyclones. Started the season not knowing really anyone associated with the Admirals. And slowly built his way up in performances that made him worthy of eliminating his PTO contract and signing him up for the rest of the season on a standard contract.
It’s not so easy, even for a team like the Admirals which had a fair amount of familiar faces around, to simply hit the ground running as a cohesive group from game one forward. There still are lots of new players in the mix. New players presents a feeling out process that has to occur for both teammates and coaches. With time to play games together, go through the daily grind together, and repeat the process on and on a few times it makes the comfort level way better. I think that’s been a great strength of the Admirals early in this season. They’re a solid group and they believe in each other enough to play different styles of games (open ice track meet, dump and chase, defensively tight damage limitation). Through it all they’ve managed to get results from those all while the roster has thinned as well. The feeling out process is over. This team is a team now.
How cool would it be if the Milwaukee Admirals played in an outdoor game at Miller Park. I know other AHL teams have done this. Is this something that realistically could happen in the future? ~Aaron Z.
If the weather stays as it has been I’m not sure “cool” is the right word for an outdoor game, actually. In all seriousness, that would be an amazing sight to see a hockey rink set where the diamond would be within Miller Park. The only problem that occurs is that term you used: realistic. Even though the Admirals wear a Milwaukee Brewers patch on the front of their jerseys I’m not so certain the two sides would come together to host an event of that magnitude. I’d think the Admirals want to solidify their future home first (oh hey, hello UW-Panther Arena, hi) before considering something as extravagant as an outdoor game.
How much do you follow former Ads who went to Europe? Any update on Simon Moser? ~@AnnieShoes1
I love keeping track of specific Admirals that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know since I’ve been around this team (2012-13 season). In saying that, HIFK in Finland is by miles my favorite European team because of the former Admirals talent that it has: Juuso Puustinen and the Joonas Brothers (Joonas Järvinen and Joonas Rask).
As for Mr. Simon Moser, he’s had a jolly old time since turning down the Nashville Predators talk of more AHL hockey before getting back up into the NHL ranks. He went to play for his hometown team, SC Bern, and had an injury plagued 2014-15 season. He’s already played more games, scored more goals and assists, and appears to be back to 100% of the player we all rooted on when he played in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
But, in short, yes. I always keep tabs on our former players trekking out to Europe. A lasting fun note to end on? Mark Van Guilder has been better than a point per game player in his first season overseas: 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) in 21 games with Ritten Sport (Serie A // Italy).
How does Petter Granberg look? ~@zallen020
It’s only been three-games and, even then, it’s almost more like two-games for Petter Granberg in this conditioning assignment. The Admirals actually dressed seven-defensemen last Saturday in Manitoba purely because they were being cautious of bringing Granberg in for his first taste of game action this entire season. That’s actually another very important point in all of this. Granberg had been inactive from game time until last weekend. He’s been hurt. And now he’s entering an entirely new system after being claimed on waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Nashville Predators. It’s a whirlwind.
Granberg is known as more of a stay at home defenseman. So far through three-games, two goals have been scored as he’s been defending a shot or a pass and the puck has banked off him and gone in. That’s not a knock on him. That’s just been bad luck. I liked a lot more of what I saw in person Tuesday night. He’s clearly a very strong defender. It was impressive seeing him work along the wall or the boards shoving around members of the Chicago Wolves. I’m not sure where his personal comfort level is at the moment but, hey, this is why the conditioning assignment exists. The more he’ll play, the better he should feel, and I think the better it is he will look.
The real question is just what the heck are the Predators going to do when they get him back? They already have an extra defenseman that never sees the light of day, Anthony Bitetto. When they acquired Granberg they had Bitetto and another extra defenseman that they decided to put through waivers and then reassign him to the Admirals, Victor Bartley. Is Granberg and his 8 games of NHL experience the last two-seasons good enough to be better than what Bitetto or Bartley were doing as outsiders waiting to play? It’s still curious to me.
Is this a question? ~@SinBinCyclones
Who is the most NHL ready defenseman on the roster? ~@BrandoWriter
There’s this young buck named Bartley down here that could probably play for the Nashville Predators at some point in his career. Him aside, I have been so impressed by Taylor Aronson this season and allow me to explain a bit why.
I have no shame in saying two or three seasons ago I felt Aronson was going to be an ECHL lifer. He came in last season off a great Kelly Cup run with the Cincinnati Cyclones and had himself a fantastic 2014-15 season for the Admirals. As great as he was last season I’m actually even more impressed with him this season because his work defensively has been so strong. He’s been paired most of this season with Kristian Näkyvä for most of this season, who I feel has been disappointing so far, but that partnership has put a spotlight on Aronson’s defense because he has bailed Näkyvä out quite a few times per game. He works all scenarios in defense for the Admirals and does it well. Aronson has gone from deserving to be in the ECHL to rightfully knocking on Nashville’s door. His biggest problem? There are so many defensemen ahead of him as it is and then the Predators acquired Granberg for good measure.
Of the 3 (Sissons, Salomaki, Arvidsson) who would you like to see back in MKE? Benefiting NSH and MKE with the move, obv. ~@bcsmith317
I was about to scream Viktor Arvidsson at you in ALL CAPS but then I saw the second part of the question and I don’t think it would benefit Nashville to lose him. The player I would like to see back the most, despite him probably not wanting to have his NHL time cut short, is Colton Sissons. I feel bringing back another center who can eat up solid minutes, and contribute across the board (offensively, defensively, power-play, penalty kill) would be huge for the Admirals all while the Predators eventually get back someone like Mike Fisher back healthy.
Looking back at the Admirals when their roster was at its strongest? They were so deep down the middle that Frédérick Gaudreau wasn’t even playing at center he was out on the wing. Gaudreau has been the top line center lately. That’s not a bad thing. He leads the team in scoring right now (friendly hint to David Poile – Gaudreau is on an AHL contract and you might want to change that next off-season). But, with no Vladislav Kamenev right now during World Juniors, it means the centers line by line probably goes: Gaudreau, Max Reinhart, Félix Girard, and Joe Pendenza (unless Cody Bass and his “upper-body injury” clear up soon). Adding Sissons would help a ton right now for the Admirals.
What you like to do for the holidays? ~@scouter715
*asks the magic conch shell* Nothing. No, seriously. I think the older you get the more you really appreciate down time to relax and be with family and friends. With the Admirals having a game on Boxing Day I’ll still be gritting my teeth to do a “Scouting the Enemy” late Christmas night so it’s up in the morning. So, my Holiday break is Tuesday-to-Friday next week. I’ll be in full-on hermit mode during that time, I’d imagine (and hope).
How do you see the Ads goalie situation shaking out next season? Hutton’s contract is up, so does someone get the call? ~@OnThePowerPlay
No offense to Carter Hutton, and his amazing television career that he’s built up since joining the Nashville Predators organization, but there is no way he’s back next season. The Predators need to find someone they feel more confident in that they can utilize and spare Rinne every now and then so he isn’t shouldering such a load season-after-season.
Is Marek Mazanec that guy? I think it is entirely possible. It would be the more cost effective way to sign a back up but it’s determined on just how well Mazanec performs this season. I feel he’s been doing a really good job. This season more than his previous two-seasons I have more confidence in what the Admirals will do for a result when his name gets announced as the starter of the night. There were times when I’d hear his name and say, “We need to score three goals at minimum or we’re going to lose.” If he can keep up this season I can easily see him slotting in as the back up next season for the Predators.
For those instantly saying, “But what about Juuse Saros?” No matter how great his season has been with the Admirals. No matter how much better his numbers could end up being than Mazanec’s as the two sort of have their in-house competition this season. He’ll still only be 21-years old when the 2016-17 season begins and on the second-year of his three-year entry level contract. Allow for him the same room to grow and understand the North American game as some other Finnish netminder did down here before unleashing him on the NHL for the next eight-seasons. I’d rather Saros be active at this age, playing and learning, than sitting back watching from a bench only to play once every two weeks or so. These are key development years for Saros regardless of how well his numbers might be in the AHL. Allow for him to develop. Allow for him to play. And wait until you see the fully polished product in Nashville. Hey, it worked the last time right? Rinne played 145 regular season games for the Admirals before his first full-season of NHL hockey. Saros has played 14 games.
Any questions that you would like to ask? Be sure to comment below or to ask away on the social media platforms of your choosing. I’m in a slight hermit mode today so my answers to your questions can come in ASAP.