Welcome to the month of May, everyone. It is sad knowing that the Milwaukee Admirals season is at an end but, that being said, we still need to round out that final month of the season with Admiral of the Month for April.
The way the results panned out in April weren’t pretty. Between the end of the regular season and playoffs the Admirals finished with a run of 3-5-3-0 in April with two of those overtime defeats coming at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins in their opening round match up in the 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The Admirals were trying to round out their game and integrate new pieces to the team before the playoffs started. There were simply inconsistencies in form from a team and individual perspective from the start of April to the end of the Admirals 2016-17 season.
That’s not to say there weren’t some solid efforts and performances by those on the team to finish on a positive note on an individual basis. Marek Mazanec perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for what he meant for this year’s team and did shoulder the load for the Admirals in net through to the finish line. Mike Ribeiro ended his time with the Admirals by recording 8 assists in the Admirals final 9 games which includes scoring an assist in all 3 games against the Griffins in the playoffs. Frédérick Gaudreau may have only scored a single point, which was a power-play goal, in the final 8 games of the regular season but ended as the Admirals leading scorer in the playoffs with 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist).
Plus, there are other individuals I feel well worth giving a mention without even thinking about what’s being done offensively. Trevor Smith, Justin Florek, and Adam Payerl all did such great and gritty work down the stretch for the Admirals. Florek especially stood out to me purely in how active he was defensively to generate lots of pressure and get sticks to puck to negate passes and shots on net. I also feel that Jack Dougherty and Justin Kirkland both started to really hit a stride at the end of the season and look very comfortable across the board. Dougherty was a lot more mobile and was showing signs that he could be kicking up another gear for his sophomore season.
Ultimately though I was most impressed by a single player this time around. Someone that didn’t really have a lull along the way in April through all the ups-and-downs that the team was still running through. My Admiral of the Month for April is Vladislav Kamenev.
Kamenev has had some bumps along the way in his sophomore season but you certainly get a good sense for a player when they end a season strong. Gaudreau did it in 2014-15. Pontus Åberg did it in 2015-16. And Kamenev did that to end the 2016-17 season. He played the game at a higher pace and looked more aggressive than I feel I’ve seen him play since joining the Admirals last season. He was physical with checking when he needed to be, hounding down puck carriers, and looking to make plays up ice while also crashing towards the net to get the dirty goal – not the highlight reel goal. Kamenev tallied 7 points (5 goals, 2 assist) in 8 games to finish the regular season off. He also scored a goal in Game 2 against the Griffins at the Van Andel Arena. He appeared to thrive at the highest pressure points for the Admirals at season’s end. And he was doing that operating in all facets of the game at center.
~Admiral of the Month Award~
October: Juuse Saros
November: Alex Carrier
December: Harry Zolnierczyk
January: Marek Mazanec
February: Frédérick Gaudreau
March: Pontus Åberg
April: Vladislav Kamenev
That ends the monthly awards here on Admirals Roundtable for the 2016-17 season. I’m big on giving the award to the one I really feel stamped the best month out be it offensively, defensively, or in net. And, for a second successive season, I’ve just completed a season in which a different player won each and every month. There is something about that which I find great and also highly promising.
Next on tap here at Admirals Roundtable we will be doing more 2016-17 season recap material. I’m effectively going to be doing this all on the fly this go-around. No set plans of what or when but I plan on lumping end season awards into the final report card column. That would be the last of the recap write-ups before calling it a job well done for the season. Keep the eyes out for all that -and- with the Nashville Predators who really have something special going for them at the moment.
Who do you feel was the top performer for the Milwaukee Admirals during the month of April? Was it Kamenev, Gaudreau, Mazanec, Dougherty, or someone else? Tell me who your Admiral of the Month was in the comment section below.
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