Admiral of the Month: December

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)
(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

In November, the Milwaukee Admirals rolled through the month en route to a 8-0-1-1 record which pushed them to the best record in the AHL. After the month of December? Things aren’t anywhere near as chipper but it would have been a hard ask to match November.

The Admirals went 6-6-0-1 (13 points, 0.500 points percentage) in the month of December. There was a lot of hot and cold, win three, loss three, up and down kind of play. It is that time of year when other teams who didn’t have it out of the gate start finding -it- and the Admirals were fortunate enough to have had such a strong start to the point that having a lull this month isn’t so bad.

Right now the Admirals record stands at 18-8-2-2 (40 points, 0.667 points percentage). They are second in the Central Division. They are third in the Western Conference standings trailing only the Ontario Reign and Grand Rapids Griffins. What separates the Admirals from those teams is the amount of road games already endured: Admirals (18 road games) and Reign/Griffins (15 road games). Only the Charlotte Checkers by a single game have played more on the road than the Admirals have in 2016.

So, what of the players for the Admirals this month? It has been spotty for sure. I think the defense has been the hardest hit this month with players such as Petter Granberg and Adam Pardy moved out of the equation. It meant defense to offense became that much trickier for the group and it might not have been until later in the month when that transition game started to get back to where it was.

I do feel there are three players who really stood out to me this month. When I break it down more and more though I keep coming back to the same conclusion. Yes, Trevor Smith played great. Yes, Vladislav Kamenev had a stellar month. But how often was Harry Zolnierczyk factoring in for both of those guys and being such a great spark plug for the team? Zolnierczyk has been so consistent this month and to me is deserving of Admiral of the Month for December.

What’s impressed me so much about Zolnierczyk this season has been the pace at which he plays the game. I either really underestimated his speed or he has an extra gear that he can play at and uses it when needed. In December he always seemed to be hustling and around the puck at great pace. And, when seeing how his offensive production ended, he made bigger strides this month than he did coming into it. Zolnierczyk had 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 11 games prior to this month. In December, he produced 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 13 games.  For the Admirals to keep surging moving forward? Zolnierczyk continuing what he did in December could be a big key to doing just that.

~Admiral of the Month Award~

October: Juuse Saros
November: Alex Carrier
December: Harry Zolnierczyk

Who do you feel was the top performer for the Milwaukee Admirals during the month of December? Was it Zolnierczyk, Kamenev, Smith or someone else? Tell me who your Admiral of the Month was in the comment section below.

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