The Milwaukee Admirals returned to practice this morning at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and they did so with a new face out on the ice. Mark McNeill has officially arrived and will make his Admirals debut tomorrow night when the team looks to strike back against the Manitoba Moose and end a six-game losing streak.
The first look at the new lineup following the McNeill trade and arrival is this. Cody Bass and Trevor Murphy both did not participate as both have upper-body injuries. Trevor Mingoia was also absent which has me wondering if he is also hurt at the moment.
It shouldn’t really be a matter of Mingoia potentially being reassigned back to his ECHL “contractual rights” team the Norfolk Admirals. The addition of McNeill really doesn’t change Mingoia’s previous scenario in the AHL mix as Tyler Kelleher‘s spot was vacated. The numbers at forward remain the same as before. Plus, Bobby Butler is PyeongChang bound after tomorrow’s game. Seeing Derek Army get reps in at center likely means he rolls into center on the weekend should Bass still be unavailable. Admirals would still prefer to have that extra body around in the three-in-three weekend if they could.
As for the newbie. McNeill slots into the mix with Mark Zengerle and Harry Zolnierczyk. McNeill can play all three forward roles if needed but has frequented as a center throughout his career. This center depth and versatility is always a good thing and he was helped along at practice this morning by former Rockford IceHogs teammate Pierre-Cédric Labrie.
I’ve had the chance to watch McNeill a decent amount with his time as a member of the IceHogs and I don’t know if I ever grasped just hot big of a player he actually is until today’s practice. He registers at 6’2″ and 214lbs and looks like a wrecking ball with a quick and powerful shot. He had been in a tough spot with the veteran rule causing him to get healthy scratched a decent amount with the Texas Stars this season. I feel this change of scenery and return to the Central Division will be a really nice boost for him.
After practice I did get the chance to speak with Mark McNeill. I then spoke with Trevor Smith, Jack Dougherty, Mark Zengerle, and Derek Army. These were all of today’s interview ahead of the Tuesday clash against Manitoba.
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