Prior to the weekend I thought it would be fun to get another Admirals Roundtable “Mailbag” going to get some early off-season thoughts thrown out there and discussed. I had a few responses yesterday. I’d be happy to add even more today if you want to join in the discussion. Here are your questions from yesterday with my take.
Admirals Roundtable: There are two factors for that to happen. One, Bass actually beginning his season with the Milwaukee. Two, the Milwaukee Admirals locker room votes for their captains ahead of the season so he would need to win the vote. I feel like if he does start the season at the AHL level he would be a perfect candidate for a captain. He is a leader off the ice. Does great things on the ice. You really could not go wrong by having Bass wear the “C” and this past season showed why it shouldn’t be viewed as a negative to wear that at the AHL with thoughts it might hinder NHL opportunities. It doesn’t. Nashville liked what they got out of Sissons and are expecting him to take part next season. I think Bass won over coaches up top for what he brings to the table and, as a low line veteran worker, he won’t play shoot yourself in the foot hockey. That was a high quality depth signing to keep him in the picture between Nashville and Milwaukee over the next two-seasons. He can captain the Admirals and contribute here and there for the Predators when called upon to do so.
Noah Faerber (@PredatorsFan2): How do you think moving to a new arena will affect the Admirals for next season? Will it help them or will it hurt them?
AR: I don’t mean for this to come off wrong but I don’t think it matters. A rink is a rink at the end of the day. That said, for the returning faces and coaches, the new locker room will need to start feeling a bit more like home. It is your cooldown, work out, and let your guard down center after all. Beyond that, the lower ceiling and more intimate setting of playing hockey in the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena should only elevate the noise levels that Admirals fans are capable of and make games feel bigger than in the past. It won’t really impact the players hugely but it might create a fun buzz amongst the fans to play a bigger part in establishing home ice advantage. There won’t be an empty upper tank anymore. Where that was the roof has been lowered. I can’t wait to hear what a goal will sound like with our fans roaring at max capacity in that barn.
Robin (@wannabe21): With all the players going overseas, what do you think the Preds need to do to stock the admirals with quality players?
AR: Same ol’ same ol’ I’d imagine. The prospect pipeline has a beginning and an end point. As some exit others enter. We’re due for some exciting first-year players in Milwaukee next season with Justin Kirkland, Anthony Richard, Alexandre Carrier, and Jack Dougherty. Plus, who knows where the next “out of nowhere” stories come from? Frédérick Gaudreau and Jimmy Oligny were undrafted free agent signings of the Admirals. Adam Payerl was a pre-season roster invitee out of the Cincinnati Cyclones after he signed an ECHL contract with them. Matt White was brought in early last season on a PTO from the Manchester Monarchs (ECHL). More than in the past I feel very confident in how the Admirals roster gets filled with talent. Some names do come and go, sure, but that’s the AHL for you. It’s replacing them that is the tricky part and lately that has been nicely done from the likes of David Poile and Paul Fenton.
Cutler Klein (@CutlerKlein): In your professional opinion, do Frédérick Gaudreau and Jimmy Oligny have a shot at the Preds roster out of camp?
AR: They don’t, especially Oligny because he isn’t signed to any sort of a contract through the Nashville Predators. The next time I see Poile there might be a moment where I implore him to change that. I do think all members of the French Fries start their season in Milwaukee but I do think that Gaudreau being brought up as a member of the Black Aces at season’s end wasn’t a simple pat on the back by Nashville. I think they wanted to see just what all the fuss is about up close. The guy works tremendously hard and made a quantum leap forward in 2015-16. Should he play as well or better this coming season he would be a great call-up candidate in the event of an injury at center or wing because of how defensively responsible he is. I’d say the same for fellow French Fry Félix Girard. That trio, which will be expanding this year with the incoming Québec natives, isn’t just popular for how they are away from the rink. They’re great playing in it. I’d love to see all three get NHL action next season. They would all perform well in a lower line capacity.
Jonathan Nowicki (@frontrowjon): With [Austin Watson]’s departure almost a for sure and other vets in NSH being cleared for youth what is our MKE roster looking like? If they win Saturday is this year’s LE team the best team we’ve seen in the West in years. Sweeping Hershey isn’t easy.
AR: I don’t see a Watson departure. If anything this season, now that Eric Nystrom and Paul Gaustad are on the out, should be all systems go to let Watson off a leash and go. He’s just experienced a full NHL season and has probably all kinds of feedback on what is needed for him to be a more consistent and reliable NHL player. That’s what his off-season should be all about and I want to see him get a strong run out in the Fall. As for those gosh darned Lake Erie Monsters… who saw this coming? They were a good group, yes, but I could never have imagined a playoff run the likes of which they’ve had. Let me update what I said last Ramblings: When you dip back into the regular season the Monsters have gone 26-5-1-0 in their last 32 games played. They are 14-2 in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs having faced the Rockford IceHogs, Grand Rapids Griffins, Ontario Reign, and Hershey Bears. I thought that the 2013-14 Texas Stars were good but they lost 6 games en route to their Cup win. This has been beyond belief for the Monsters. It really has been.
Brandon Marshall (@BrandoWriter): Your prediction for most surprising player to NOT play for Nashville on opening night.
AR: As soon as I saw this question I said, “That’s an easy one.” Because of that I don’t know whether or not saying Kevin Fiala starting the 2016-17 season with the Milwaukee Admirals will really surprise that many people but I think he does. It isn’t a knock against his ability, his behavior, or his maturity. I just feel like if you want to play Fiala in Nashville at the start of the season you need to place him in a role that brings out the best of him. Him in a bottom-six capacity isn’t going to cut it for right now. So, be patient, and let him keep getting sharper and more well-rounded in Milwaukee. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, using the experiences of last pre-season camp, I bet Fiala enters way more relaxed and takes all that comes in his stride. Not making the team last yer hurt him. I think he enjoys pre-season camp more this season, has a better showing, but gets told to keep it up in the AHL and be ready.
AR: Sweet mercy is this question the stuff of legend. First of all, the part of Evason would be played by Stephen Lang. I’m torn between those two but either would be a great pick. After using the CelebsLikeMe website the title role of “Little Bear” Saros would be played by Dylan O’Brien. I think the resemblance is uncanny. And as for that theme song? It already exists with the show title. We just need someone to film Saros trekking through the locker room and rink like that.
Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro): You and 4 AHL-related people (media members, officials, coaches, etc..) head to bar. Who are they and who buys first round?
AR: Let’s make this a very un-hypothetical situation because this generally happens after home games. My people would be Theresea Taylor, Sam Sirna, Dave Boehler (Did you guys know he has a blog?), and -recent entry for this season- Kristen Wooten. Now, anyone of us would be willing to buy a round but I guarantee you -without hesitation- the man to offer up first would be Dave because that’s how great that guy is. Always tends to offer up first.
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