I’ve taken the time to digest Monday’s news because it came in a few waves: (1) There was a trade in the AHL? (2) There was a trade in the AHL this early into a season? (3) The Milwaukee Admirals were the driving force of that trade? It’s been awhile since something such as this has happened and the last time I can remember it going down was the swap of Kevin Henderson and Francis Wathier back during the 2013-14 season. That wasn’t even a trade, though, it was a loan swap deal between the Admirals and Texas Stars that worked like a trade. Even then, when was that semi-trade completed? In early-March heading towards the playoff push. The acquisition of Adam Pardy by the Admirals comes just four-games into the season.
On the surface the Admirals gave away a depth option at forward in Eric Robinson and two players, Teddy Doherty and Brandon Whitney, who were likely not seeing time in the AHL under their banner at all this season due to the numbers above them. Even Robinson was nestled behind the likes of Mike Liambas, Matt White, and Justin Kirkland for a spot to play in Milwaukee this season. It took a mass food poisoning incident for the Nashville Predators for Robinson to get a game with the Admirals this past weekend. Now with all three stationed with the Springfield Falcons organization the path to playing AHL level hockey routinely becomes a lot easier. This was depth for experience with the depth really being Robinson as the one closest to match Pardy’s value.
So in steps Pardy to the Admirals defense. Now what? Well, this is where I find things get pretty fun because -basically- this veteran defensive backing has been a sore spot for the Admirals in the past that wasn’t ultimately addressed until the later go of things in the past. This is just from the Dean Evason Era of the Admirals Era alone: 2015-16, the Predators helped the Admirals by acquiring three experienced defenseman in Patrick Mullen, Stefan Elliott, and Corey Potter. 2014-15, the Admirals bring back Scott Ford on loan from the South Carolina Stingrays. 2012-13, the Predators acquire Scott Ford and Joe Piskula less than ten-days apart in the month of February.
The Admirals already have Matt Irwin. He has shown extremely well in the first four games of the season and it is with that in mind that he was brought up to the Predators during their West Coast road swing that kicks-off tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. Irwin not being with the Admirals would leave a void in which your elder statesman on the defensive side of the puck would be 24-year old Petter Granberg. After him? 23-year old Jimmy Oligny. With all due respect to Jonathan Diaby and Jaynen Rissling it doesn’t take much to see precisely why a trade like this was needed and hugely beneficial.
Should Irwin’s stay topside be a lengthy one, if say Anthony Bitetto‘s injury be very long-term, then it shows the smarts of the Predators brass to have a guy such as Irwin on standby as the veteran go-to guy at the AHL level in the event of just such an injury prognosis. If Irwin returns quicker than you can say “West Coast trip is the location where Points Percentage in the AHL originates from” than we go back to where the Admirals were not too long ago but with an added veteran defenseman in Pardy right there with him. Irwin and Pardy have a combined 493 games of NHL experience. That means a ton to a locker room and defensive nucleus that is very young. The Admirals have a sophomore in Trevor Murphy and two first-year pros in Jack Dougherty and Alex Carrier past the not-so-veteran other veterans in Granberg and Oligny. Knowledge gets to be passed down. Traits, both on and off the ice, get to be learned from. Having another body in the mix willing to be a leader and a role player isn’t just nice – it’s a long-term asset that can pay of in ways other players in the locker room can display in the future.
If Irwin arrives back while Pardy is here the numbers crunch will now unfold defensively much the same way the forwards group has felt out of the gate. You know that Irwin, Pardy, Granberg, and Oligny are locked in. So who fills the last two spots between Murphy, Dougherty, and Carrier? In Evason’s coaching philosophy that worked well last season, having three right-shots paired with three left-shots, it becomes murky having Murphy on his weak side out on the left. Yet, as the sophomore, he’s the favored option and likely would be kicked out to the right side. Dougherty or Carrier becomes the next question. The following question after that gets answered is what do you do with the odd man out? As a first year pro time is better spent playing and learning, like Justin Kirkland recently, than sitting on the outside looking in as a healthy scratch. It’s all a bit of a dilemma. But the sort of one made by having too much of a good thing.
What will Adam Pardy’s addition to the Milwaukee Admirals mean for the likes of the young guns on defense? Who are the odd-men out in this situation and was this a move that you felt needed to be made?
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