The Fifteen series is back in your life. Apologies from myself for the layoff between new editions of the series but, with an AHL team fluctuating between roster moves and road trips, it can be tricky to lock down certain players for interviews. With the Milwaukee Admirals set to embark on a road trip for this week that will see them travel to Manitoba and then Charlotte I have two to share for this week. The first one is one I’ve been meaning to do for awhile because I think this guy deserves a spotlight.
Taylor Aronson was a third round draft pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2010 NHL Draft. That came after his debut season playing in the WHL with a Portland Winterhawks program that has developed and continues to develop very notable talent for the Predators organization. In the time that Aronson was in Portland the California native played alongside the likes of Ryan Johansen and Brendan Leipsic. His career with the Winterhawks lasted two-seasons where he played 142 games, scored 67 points (10 goals, 57 assists), and lost out in the 2011 WHL Finals to the Kootenay Ice.
Upon becoming pro in 2011-12 Aronson spent his first two seasons fluctuating between the AHL and ECHL. He had 26 games of AHL experience with only 3 assists to show for it upon entering his third pro playing season. That season of 2013-14 was spent entirely with the Cincinnati Cyclones and he performed very strongly. He was the Cyclones top scoring defenseman with 38 points (6 goals, 32 assists) in 65 games. His plus/minus rating of +28 ranked him tied for fourth in the entire ECHL that season and he and his Cyclones team would fall in the Kelly Cup Finals to the Alaska Aces.
When the 2014-15 rolled in it did so with an opening for Aronson. The Admirals defense offered no other right-handed shots from the defense other than him. But, that wasn’t the real reason why he ended up earning a spot. His work throughout the season proved exactly why he was brought up from the ECHL ranks. He went from becoming the top scoring defenseman in Cincinnati the previous season to the top scoring defenseman in Milwaukee: 32 points (3 goals, 29 assists) in 73 games.
Of note for Nashville readers, you might recall a situation last year in which a certain Shea Weber was questionable with an illness and another certain kid by the name of Aronson was called up under emergency conditions. All things said, that story didn’t end with Aronson getting an NHL game. Weber played that night. It could have been considered a brief whirlwind moment in the life of an AHL hockey player but for those around the team last season it was a quick wave from the brass topside to a player deserving of an NHL look. He didn’t get the game. But they game him the recognition. That’s something a player who spent the better part of three pro playing seasons in the ECHL doesn’t often get. When that player does it is more of a sign of the player and the man sticking with the program and forcing the big wigs to take note of consistent performances. That same reasoning behind the choice of Aronson as the emergency call up probably came back when the Predators re-signed Aronson to a one-year two-way contract last off-season.
Aronson may have been in the discussion once again with the recent knock to Ryan Ellis but the recall under emergency conditions assignment this time went to Stefan Elliott. That’s not to say Aronson was the lesser of the two options but more so that the Predators have plenty of options should they need them. Aronson is enjoying his best professional playing season in 2015-16 having grown leaps and bounds as a two-way defenseman. He is the Admirals current top scoring defenseman and has career highs across the board: 37 points (4 goals, 33 assists) from 60 games.
The lone thing that I’m sure Aronson would like to see change is the script of his career so far. Before leaving the Winterhawks his team lost in the 2011 WHL Finals. Before being elevated to the Admirals his final season with the Cyclones saw him losing in the 2014 Kelly Cup Finals. After this season Aronson’s contract is up. There are no guarantees as to where he goes from here. Should you believe his story to date the Admirals could well be on their way to a 2016 Calder Cup Finals appearance. The only thing I’m sure he’d like to change is getting to raise some silverware on the back of a hard season’s work.
Cheers to Taylor Aronson for taking the time to do this interview. Programming note for this week will be as follows: Fifteen with Corey Potter (Thursday) and new Cyclones Report on Friday with a guest appearance from Sin Bin Cyclones.
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