When the Milwaukee Admirals signed Stephen Perfetto yesterday it raised a few questions among the readership of: what exactly does that mean and how would the lines look? Well, assuming that Frédérick Gaudreau sticks around with the Nashville Predators out of their pre-season training camp, Perfetto’s addition yesterday would mean that AHL group just received their prospective twelfth forward for the 2017-18 season. That is just enough to fulfill a complement of four forward lines. In short, there really is still much to be done to not only help the Milwaukee Admirals but the Norfolk Admirals in the ECHL.
Push comes to shove, and if really needed to give an assessment or guess of an Opening Night lineup for the Milwaukee Admirals with the current roster right now, I’d think you see something close to the following.
You would have only one healthy scratch at this point due to numbers and that would be the first-year pro on defense, Frédéric Allard. When looking at that. When knowing that there is that tight on the numbers amount of bodies that would be turning up for Opening Night if the season started tonight. Yeah, that’s nowhere near good enough just yet. The options on defense are rather nice, for sure, but the hodgepodge happening at forward is sloppy right now and there is still concern –for myself– in net.
Derek Army looked really good in his longest run of AHL hockey last season while suiting up in Milwaukee. Perfetto, in a smaller dose than Army, also appeared to really fit the part. Though both could still be considered question marks as far as reliability and consistency of offensive contributions. It was almost pure shock for me when Emil Pettersson turned back up on the radar when he signed his entry-level contract just shy of four-years after being drafted by the Predators. In fact, there might be some reading this now who may have forgotten that he signed a two-year contract or that he was drafted by the Predators in 2013. Out of all of the fringe talents bordering on AHL/ECHL hockey, Tyler Kelleher included – no matter how impressive he was at 2017 Nashville Predators Rookie Development Camp, it’s Pettersson who might be the biggest mystery man of everyone arriving to the organization this season. He’ll be 24-years old once the 2017-18 season ends – his first professional playing season in North America after having played 107 games in the top tier of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and a further 96 games in the second tier known as the Allsvenskan.
Army, Kelleher, Perfetto, and Pettersson are all depth players to be that can be serviceable this season but shouldn’t necessarily be counted upon. It’s those names that could be playing time with the other Admirals in the ECHL should the Predators bring back names such as Harry Zolnierczyk or Adam Payerl on two-way contracts. Even with those two names alone, if they were brought back, it would do a tremendous amount for the Admirals’ AHL forward group and assist the Admirals’ ECHL efforts as well by providing them with players who are AHL capable but could benefit even more from being given bigger roles in Norfolk that they might not otherwise be afforded the opportunity to have in Milwaukee.
So, are the signings of Army and Perfetto good? Absolutely. I believe both can and did so they can handle a role with the Admirals in the AHL last season and would both be able to walk into a familiar environment and likely deliver well again. It’s just not Payerl. It’s just not Zolnierczyk. They are both guys trending up out of the ECHL into the AHL rather than a Zolnierczyk type who is trending from the AHL to the NHL. And that’s a big difference.
This off-season had been dragging along as badly as the plot to “Valerian” up until this last week when all sorts of signings, both from Nashville and Milwaukee, started to take place. I’m still sitting back and awaiting new contract announcements for players such as Ryan Johansen or Viktor Arvidsson. I would have assumed that got wrapped up before getting to Pontus Åberg but it’s seeing that which has me on edge for more of -those- sorts of signings at the moment. As you can see from that current attempt of an Opening Night lineup in Milwaukee – it does make sense for that area to keep being thickened. Currently, it’s not good enough for either Milwaukee or Norfolk.
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