Category: Numbers

By The Numbers: Admirals in October

(Photo Credit: Shane Abbitt // Iowa Wild)
(Photo Credit: Shane Abbitt // Iowa Wild)

Welcome to the month of November. I know it is early but I feel it would be fun to already get some minor perspective into just how this year’s Milwaukee Admirals have been performing. We’re one month down into the season with seven games played. So, for fun, let’s gander at how the Admirals have looked under the Dean Evason Era in that opening month’s worth of games.


2012-13: 7 GP, 3-4-0-0 (6 points, 0.429 points percentage)
2013-14: 6 GP, 4-0-2-0 (10 points, 0.714 points percentage)
2014-15: 7 GP, 6-1-0-0 (12 points, 0.800 points percentage)
2015-16: 7 GP, 2-4-1-0 (5 points, 0.357 points percentage)
2016-17: 7 GP, 4-2-0-1 (9 points, 0.643 points percentage)

~Goals Forced vs. Goals Allowed~
*tally for shootout win not included*

2012-13: -5 (17 GF, 22 GF)
2013-14: +2 (15 GF, 13 GA)
2014-15: +8 (23 GF, 15 GA)
2015-16: -12 (15 GF, 27 GA)
2016-17: +1 (18 GF, 17 GA)

~Shots On Goal Per Game vs. Shots On Goal Against Per Game~

2012-13: 27.9 shots on goal per game, 24.6 shots on goal against per game
2013-14: 26.2 shots on goal per game, 28.3 shots on goal against per game
2014-15: 27.4 shots on goal per game, 28.4 shots on goal against per game
2015-16: 33.0 shots on goal per game, 30.9 shots on goal against per game
2016-17: 30.1 shots on goal per game, 29.1 shots on goal against per game

~Special Teams~

2012-13: 18.2% PP (6/33), 90.0% PK (27/30)
2013-14: 11.1% PP (3/27), 83.3% PK (25/30)
2014-15: 23.1% PP (6/26), 86.7% PK (26/30)
2015-16: 16.7% PP (6/36), 71.9% PK (23/32)
2016-17: 8.8% PP (3/34), 82.9% PK (34/41)

~Penalty Minutes~

2012-13: 83 PIM (2 fighting majors, 11.6 PIM per game)
2013-14: 82 PIM (4 fighting majors, 13.7 PIM per game)
2014-15: 97 PIM (5 fighting majors, 13.9 PIM per game)
2015-16: 134 PIM (5 fighting majors, 19.1 PIM per game)
2016-17: 138 PIM (4 fighting majors, 19.7 per game)

There are a few areas that leap out to me and, hey, they’re as expected. This season’s penalty minute and power-play struggles are really bad. That said, as underwhelming as the offense has felt, look at how this year’s team is matching up against last year’s squad that ended up having a record of 48-23-3-2 (101 points, 0.664 points percentage) and won the Central Division. Things actually aren’t as bad as they seem. Much of the same personnel is back. Is this just a sign of learning from an early season lull before launching?

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The Retooled Admirals Defense

(Photo Credit: John Saraya)
Stefan Elliott has provided an instant impact on both sides of the puck since joining the Milwaukee Admirals from the Arizona Coyotes organization in a three-team trade that saw Victor Bartley head to the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo Credit: John Saraya)

The Milwaukee Admirals last four games have had their moments. There have been plenty of real positives to take but, unfortunately, the injury bug has also soured the way the offense operated for the last two of what was a four game road trip. It’s tough to see the likes of Viktor Arvidsson and Vladislav Kamenev miss any sort of time out due to injury considering their dynamic playmaking and scoring ability.

Fortunately, the injuries at the forward position came at a time where the Admirals are playing only a single game over the next twelve days. That rest period should let their bodies heal up and heal up well. The team has returned home to Milwaukee after completing the four game road trip and have a concert night game Saturday against the Grand Rapids Griffins. After that the AHL All-Star break begins with a wait before a two game California road swing against the Stockton Heat and San Diego Gulls awaits.

What the Admirals lost in Arvidsson and Kamenev in the games against the Lake Erie Monsters was pretty evident. Arvidsson was out for both games and the team missed his high energy work rate on both ends of the puck – especially his ability to finish scoring chances. And then Kamenev left the Friday game in the second period due to a lower-body injury after having dished up a primary assist on an Admirals power-play goal in the first frame. He wouldn’t play the follow up contest on Saturday afternoon and it meant adding the third cast member from the Manchester Monarchs (ECHL) to the Admirals’ AHL stage this season, Matt Leitner, on a PTO basis just to have the forward depth to field a complete roster. The moment Kamenev left Friday night the Admirals offense went flat and the Saturday effort lacked real energy or creativity that was eye-popping on the two previous road games against the San Antonio Rampage.

Where the Admirals lacked offense in Lake Erie something well and truly stood out. Yes, a massive amount of credit can be given to Marek Mazanec on his efforts for the weekend. He stopped 40/42 shots on goal in the two games against the Monsters, took an overtime loss on Friday, and earned his third shutout of the season on Saturday. He was brilliant. But equally so was the newly retooled Admirals defense that was playing in front of him.

When the Nashville Predators made trades on back-to-back days that saw both defensemen Conor Allen and Victor Bartley leave for a different pair of defensemen in Patrick Mullen and Stefan Elliott it didn’t necessarily carry the gravitas of, say, the Ryan Johansen trade. It was almost purely a Predators push to strengthen their AHL outfit when you think about it. I don’t feel Mullen will be around past this season. Elliott has the potential to stick around with his great track record behind him. But, for the here and now of the 2015-16 season, the moves were basically meant for the Admirals – not the Predators.

Those trades beg the question to an outside observer which is the following: were Allen and Bartley doing poorly? And the answer to that question is a mix of yes and no.

Allen wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination but he was was pretty one dimensional in his style of play. What I mean by that is Allen has two more points scored as a member of the Admirals this season than Elliott has. Allen had 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 31 games with the Admirals. Elliott has already produced 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 3 games since arriving from the Arizona Coyotes organization – all while defending his position very well to boot.

Bartley was collecting dust, cobwebs, and NHL paychecks in Nashville before he went through the waiver wire process, cleared, and returned to the Admirals for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Including regular season and playoff games Bartley played in 92 games from a possible 193 games played (47.6%). He had been an outsider to the incredible defensive depth in Nashville, sent to Milwaukee, played with some rust and alack of offensive ability he used to show as an Admiral, and also wasn’t looking too sharp on defense. Where he made up for the flaws was his constant professionalism as a teammate and as an individual to work hard first, improve now, and get back to the NHL as quickly as possible.

The obvious here is that both Allen and Bartley are well respected individuals that are great for a team to have on and off the ice in terms of leadership. The sad reality is that they just weren’t providing enough versatility. The Admirals cheat sheet pens them as a team with defensemen unable to really threaten at all from the defensive zone up the ice and into attack. One, that doesn’t sound like mapping and mirroring the Predators attacking philosophy. Two, it puts a firm defensive focus to ignore the Admirals blueliners all together. Teams could simply set sights clear on shutting down Admirals forwards in the neutral zone and attacking zone to slow their pace down, box out around the net, and take away key ice from the forwards. Their only option in attack becomes board play, where they can get outmuscled, or pass back to the blueline to attempt to reset the defensive posture and find new points of attack… which would work if more shots on goal were generated from the defensemen… but that’s not happening with Allen and Bartley… so the defense would hold back and stay tight to the forwards and generate tougher passes and generally turnovers.

Allen’s AHL career numbers for shots on goal have gone down massively this season. He went from 1.43 shots on goal per game from 2013-15 with the Hartford Wolf Pack to 1.00 for the Admirals this season. Bartley’s shots on goal per game number was also steadily declining: 2.05 (2011-12, Admirals)… 1.29 (2012-13, Admirals & Predators)… 0.71 (2013-16, Predators & Admirals).

Now, let’s compare that “shots on goal per game” number to the new additions of Elliott and Mullen.

Elliott: 2.20 (2011-12, Monsters & Avalanche)… 2.00… (2012-13, Monsters & Avalanche)… 2.73 (2013-15, Monsters & Avalanche)… 2.14 (2015-16, Coyotes & Admirals).

Mullen: 1.19 (2009-12, Monarchs & Reign)… 1.44 (2012-14, Wolves-Comets-Senators)… 1.17 (2014-16, Senators & Admirals).

See what a small difference it can make when the added option of shots from the blueline becomes an extra dimension for the new look Admirals defense? Yes, it is great having a balance of three right handed shooting defensemen (hey Taylor Aronson, hi) to three left handed shooting defensemen to work pucks around the wall and provide options and looks from the blueline. But how about just giving any look from the blueline to the net in general? That’s what both Elliott and Mullen have done throughout their careers and it’s an aspect of their game that makes an Admirals offense less forward-centric and more balanced when they’re on the ice.

Elliott has 82 games of NHL experience to his name – which is more than Anthony Bitetto, Petter Granberg, and Allen combined by a hefty 51 games. Mullen has yet to play an NHL game in his career at the age of 29-years of age… but, you know what, neither does anyone else not named Elliott in the Admirals defensive group. His experience and ability shouldn’t be kicked under the rug on that basis alone when comparing him to any of the two outbound Admirals defensemen from two weeks ago. His ability to fit the role the Admirals need, a right handed shooting two-way defenseman, makes him a better fit than either Allen or Bartley.

In four games for the Admirals Mullen has no points of offense, 2 shots on goal, was on the ice when the Admirals scored a goal 3 times, wasn’t on the ice for a goal against once, and participated in two shutout performances.

In three games for the Admirals Elliott has 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists), has 3 power-play points (2 power-play goals, 1 power-play assist), has 12 shots on goal for an average of 4.00 shots on goal per game, 6 penalty minutes (cross-checking, tripping, hooking), he has been on the ice for 5 Admirals goals forced and for none scored against – including Saturday afternoon’s shutout.

I won’t lie. As a spectator I think that going from games the likes that the Admirals played in San Antonio to the ones played in Lake Erie can feel like a buzzkill. The Admirals outscored the Rampage 9-3 in two games and blew the doors off them with pace and precision. That pace and precision wasn’t to be found by the Admirals offense so much in Lake Erie but it was with the Admirals defense. You can credit the same speed and puck skills that Elliott and Mullen possess as defensive assets that helped assist Mazanec in net a great deal for his solid weekend against the Monsters.

There is much to like about what these moves have created. And that’s without even mentioning how great it is to have a completely healthy Aronson back in the mix alongside the defensive group that now stacks its defense three lefties and three righties. That balance is a nice quality for a team to have but the performance level of the players on the ice is all that matters at days end. Elliott and Mullen, for a mid-season introduction to the Admirals roster, are going to provide a well-rounded game that can alleviate pressure both off the forwards and the man between the pipes. It’s only been a small sample size of this retooled defense but the performances speak volumes of positive change. There have been four games played and more shutouts posted than points lost.

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Poll: Grade The Admirals New Look


A full day has passed since the Milwaukee Admirals unveiled their brand new identity. For some that is still not enough time for the logos, colors, or uniforms to sink in. To be honest, I might even still be in the boat waiting to see how the team will look like when they take the ice in the new uniforms. I think everything looks pretty sharp. I just need that kicker to make it feel like that’s well and truly the Admirals.

The word I heard so often from the higher ups in the Admirals front office was that it is an evolution of the previous look. They’re absolutely right. It’s honestly not that different from what the Admirals had before but different enough that it pops and feels very vibrant.

When considering how each step in the Admirals logo history has been very drastic this one somehow manages to meet that without hitting you over the back of the head. I really feel from a design perspective that’s like threading a needle.

So what then of a grade? For me, the pro’s far outweigh the con’s across the entire board of what the team has hauled out. My initial reaction was mixed. Some time has passed and it has already grown on me. My grade for right now is a B and I think it’ll go up once the team takes to the ice.

What is your grade? What are your likes and dislikes about the Milwaukee Admirals rebranding? Are there anythings you would like to see changed, tweaked, or removed?

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By The Numbers: Admirals Road Rage

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)
The Admirals start their season long six game road trip tonight with a rematch of Sunday’s clash against the Oklahoma City Barons. (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

Not exactly a need for a “Scouting the Enemy” as far as tonight’s game is concerned. We played the Oklahoma City Barons on Sunday so there is a good grouping of pre-game material for you to reflect on: the prior Scouting, Game Recap, and Chatterbox.

With that in mind I feel it would be fun taking a looksie at what’s what with the Milwaukee Admirals as far as their work on the road is concerned. The month of March features ten road games in total. The Ads have already worked through a pair of those to start the month off but are about to embark on a season-long six game road trip. Let’s see how things have gone so far away from Milwaukee.

~Road Warriors Theme Song Because Reasons~

The Admirals overall record this season is 31-19-4-4 (70 points). On the road they are 15-6-3-2 which means that they actually have a better winning percentage on the road (0.673) than they do at home (0.547).

When looking at the special teams numbers things actually manage to improve away from the Bradley Center: PP (overall), ranked 18th in the AHL with a 16.4% (38/232) success rate… PP (road), ranked 2nd in the AHL with a 22.3% (23/103) success rate… PK (overall), ranked 12th in the AHL with an 84.8% (184/217) kill rate… PK (road), ranked 8th in the AHL with an 87.0% (87/100) kill rate.

~Road Scoring~

Immediate apologies because this is going to be a slight bit of a chain. But, for those wondering which players play better on the road than they do at home, than hang with me through it. I’m listing the players in the order that they appear in the Admirals team scoring ranking from top to bottom:

Viktor Arvidsson, (overall): 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 58 games
Arvidsson, (road): 23 points (9 goals, 14 assists) in 26 games

Austin Watson, (overall): 31 points (18 goals, 13 assists) in 58 games
Watson, (road): 16 points (11 goals, 5 assists) in 26 games

Colton Sissons, (overall): 30 points (20 goals, 10 assists) in 58 games
Sissons, (road): 16 points (10 goals, 6 assists) in 26 games

Taylor Aronson, (overall): 29 points (3 goals, 26 assists) in 55 games
Aronson, (road): 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in 23 games

Anthony Bitetto, (overall): 26 points (2 goals, 24 assists) in 52 games
Bitetto, (road): 13 points (1 goal, 12 assists) in 23 games

Pontus Åberg, (overall): 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 52 games
Åberg, (road): 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in 24 games

Ian White, (overall): 19 points (3 goals, 16 assists) in 31 games
White, (road): 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games

Triston Grant, (overall): 18 points (10 goals, 8 assists) in 56 games
Grant, (road): 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 25 games

Miikka Salomäki, (overall): 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 38 games
Salomäki, (road): 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 17 games

Mark Van Guilder, (overall): 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 58 games
Van Guilder, (road): 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in 26 games

Joe Piskula, (overall): 14 points (1 goal, 13 assists) in 49 games
Piskula, (road): 5 points (0 goals, 5 assists) in 22 games

Kevin Fiala, (overall): 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in 19 games
Fiala, (road): 1 point (1 goal, 0 assists) in 6 games

Rich Clune, (overall): 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 44 games
Clune, (road): 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in 19 games

Joe Pendenza, (overall): 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in 34 games
Pendenza, (road): 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist) in 16 games

Zach Budish, (overall): 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 27 games
Budish, (road): 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 13 games

Frédérick Gaudreau, (overall): 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 29 games
Gaudreau, (road): 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists) in 16 games

Félix Girard, (overall): 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 58 games
Girard, (road): 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in 26 games

Johan Alm, (overall): 7 points (0 goals, 7 assists) in 26 games
Alm, (road): 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists) in 12 games

Mike Liambas, (overall): 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) in 38 games
Liambas, (road): 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists) in 18 games

Jimmy Oligny, (overall): 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 41 games
Oligny, (road): 3 points (0 goals, 3 assists) in 17 games

Marek Mazanec, (overall): 4 points (0 goals, 4 assists) in 36 games
Mazanec, (road): 1 point (0 goals, 1 assist) in 17 games

Magnus Hellberg, (overall): 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists) in 27 games
Hellberg, (road): 1 point (0 goals, 1 assist) in 11 games

Jonathan Diaby, (overall): 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists) in 43 games
Diaby, (road): 1 point (0 goals, 1 assist) in 21 games

Firstly, yes… Diaby is still not clear of our goaltenders in scoring on the season. Secondly, White’s statistical breakdown is done purely with his time with the Admirals in both his overall and road numbers.

~Road Goaltending~

Mazanec (overall): 17-13-4-1 record, 2.48 GAA, 0.908 SV%, 4 SO, 36 appearances
Mazanec (road): 9-4-2-1, 2.75 GAA, 0.922 SV%, 4 SO, 17 appearances

Hellberg (overall): 14-6-4-3 record, 2.13 GAA, 0.921 SV%, 3 SO, 27 appearances
Hellberg (road): 6-2-1-1, 2.28 GAA, 0.922 SV%, 1 SO, 11 appearances

Expectations for tonight’s game? Can the Admirals continue their road success? What are your hopes for this long road trip?

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Marek Mazanec: By The Numbers

Marek Mazanec hasn’t just played two games in two days here at the AHL level. He’s also pulled the feat three times for the Nashville Predators. (Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon)

With the Milwaukee Admirals four games and four wins into the season there is plenty of positives worth pointing at. Brendan Leipsic has fit right into the team’s top two lines and leads the team in scoring with his six assists – four of which are primaries. Austin Watson, who had great success on the right wing late last season, has continued playing well in a wing capacity: 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists). Of the thirteen new faces into the team this season – eight of them have scored a point already.

Yet, for all that, what has intrigued me the most is the role of Marek Mazanec in the team’s opening four games. The Admirals played a two-in-two in each of the two weeks of AHL hockey so far. Rather than rotate the goalies in either of the fixtures the team has remained confident in the 23-year old Czech. This has left Magnus Hellberg in a position he became quite familiar with at the end of last season with the Cincinnati Cyclones: the bench.

When you look at the progress of Mazanec as the Admirals #1 choice goaltender it’s worth looking into scenarios such as the two-in-twos that the AHL delivers so often. To this point in his North American professional playing career he has played in twelve of these situations – one of which actually being a fully fledged AHL three-in-three. Here is how he has performed in those situations so far in his career when his named is called upon to handle back-to-back nights of netminding duty.

10/30/13, @ Charlotte Checkers
11/1/13, @ Charlotte Checkers

Game 1: W, 2 GA, 33 SV, 1.88 GAA, 0.943 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 28 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.933 SV%

11/15/13, @ Pittsburgh Penguins
11/16/13, vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Game 1: L, 4 GA, 21 SV, 6.08 GAA, 0.840 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 39 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.951 SV%

11/27/13, @ Columbus Blue Jackets
11/28/13, vs. Edmonton Oilers

Game 1: W, 0 GA, 19 SV, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
Game 2: L, 2 GA, 25 SV, 2.07 GAA, 0.926 SV%

1/11/14, vs. Ottawa Senators
1/12/14, vs. Minnesota Wild

Game 1: OTL, 1 GA, 20 SV, 1.01 GAA, 0.952 SV%
Game 2: L, 4 GA, 19 SV, 4.00 GAA, 0.826 SV%

1/18/14, @ Oklahoma City Barons
1/19/14, @ Oklahoma City Barons

Game 1: L, 2 GA, 23 SV, 2.06 GAA, 0.920 SV%
Game 2: SL, 4 GA, 21 SV, 3.75 GAA, 0.840 SV%

1/24/14, vs. Rockford IceHogs
1/25/14, @ Rockford IceHogs
1/26/14, vs. Rockford IceHogs

Game 1: W, 2 GA, 28 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.933 SV%
Game 2: L, 2 GA, 29 SV, 2.05 GAA, 0.935 SV%
Game 3: OTL, 4 GA, 39 SV, 3.71 GAA, 0.907 SV%

1/31/14, @ Iowa Wild
2/1/14, vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1: W, 2 GA, 24 SV, 1.87 GAA, 0.923 SV%
Game 2: SL, 2 GA, 35 SV, 1.85 GAA, 0.946 SV%

3/7/14, vs. Rockford IceHogs
3/8/14, @ Rockford IceHogs

Game 1: W, 3 GA, 22 SV, 3.00 GAA, 0.880 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 28 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.933 SV%

4/11/14, @ Rockford IceHogs
4/12/14, vs. Chicago Wolves

Game 1: W, 1 GA, 26 SV, 1.00 GAA, 0.963 SV%
Game 2: W, 1 GA, 28 SV, 1.00 GAA, 0.966 SV%

4/25/14, vs. Toronto Marlies
4/26/14, vs. Toronto Marlies

Game 1: L, 4 GA, 22 SV, 4.05 GAA, 0.846 SV%
Game 2: L, 4 GA, 36 SV, 4.02 GAA, 0.900 SV%

10/10/14, vs. Charlotte Checkers
10/11/14, @ Rockford IceHogs

Game 1: W, 3 GA, 24 SV, 3.00 GAA, 0.889 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 29 SV, 2.02 GAA, 0.935 SV%

10/17/14, @ Iowa Wild
10/18/14, @ Iowa Wild

Game 1: W, 3 GA, 27 SV, 3.00 GAA, 0.900 SV%
Game 2: W, 0 GA, 29 SV, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%

These figures of course also include his stint last season in the NHL with the Nashville Predators as well as with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. Here is what the grand total ends up with for his Game 1 and Game 2 split.

Game 1 (total): 8-3-1-0 record, 27 GA, 289 SV, 3.47 GAA, 0.915 SV%
Game 2 (total): 6-4-0-2 record, 27 GA, 346 SV, 3.21 GAA, 0.924 SV%

What does that all add up to? For me, I think the numbers show that Mazanec performs even better in the second half of a two-in-two and he really has to. You would figure on the second game that a team and -specifically- defense would start getting tired. That means more chances in attack and more saves needing to be made. With pressure on him, as well as the back-to-back fatigue going against himself as well, Mazanec has delivered when called upon for a second consecutive night of action between the pipes.

What have you made of Marek Mazanec since his introduction to North America last season? How has he progressed? How do you compare his game to that of Magnus Hellberg’s? Would you expect Hellberg to be given the same chance as Mazanec to perform in a string of games for the Admirals this season?

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By The Numbers: The Admirals Offense

Anthony Bitetto is just one of many Admirals struggling to find the back of the net recently. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Yesterday we took a look into the numbers of Marek Mazanec this season. Today, let’s take a gander at the up-and-down Admirals offense.

I feel as if these last few games, in particular, have been erratic for the team. Some nights there have been limited shots. Then there are other nights when the shots have been there but the finishing touch isn’t.

A player that comes to mind when I pieced this “numbers”story together is our photo boy for this one, Anthony Bitetto. Remember how hot his start to the season was? He started off the 2013-side of the calendar with 9 goals in 29 games – 6 of which were scored on the power-play. Ever since the calendar switched to 2014 – Bitetto has failed to score a single goal from 19 games played. When I see such a sudden drop off it makes me wonder if teams around the league are solving something in the Admirals offense? …or if it is simply a case of the team’s inability to finish at a high percentage? Let’s take a look at the team’s stats from open-play this season.

4-0-2-0 Record, 15 goals, 156 shots, 3/27 PP
9.62 Shooting Percentage, 11.1 PP%

Oct. 11 @ Abbotsford: 2 goals, 26 shots, 0/4 PP.
Oct. 12 @ Abbotsford: 1 goal, 28 shots, 0/4 PP.
Oct. 18 @ Grand Rapids: 3 goals, 20 shots, 2/5 PP.
Oct. 19 vs. Chicago: 2 goals, 32 shots, 1/7 PP.
Oct. 26 vs. Texas: 4 goals, 23 shots, 0/4 PP.
Oct. 30 vs Texas: 3 goals, 27 shots, 0/3 PP.

5-5-2-1 Record, 32 goals, 405 shots, 11/68 PP
7.90 Shooting Percentage, 16.8 PP%

Nov. 1 vs. Rockford: 4 goals, 38 shots, 2/7 PP.
Nov. 3 @ Iowa: 5 goals, 27 shots, 2/8 PP.
Nov. 8 @ Texas: 4 goals, 28 shots, 3/8 PP.
Nov. 9 @ Texas: 4 goals, 38 shots, 1/6 PP.
Nov. 10 @San Antonio: 2 goals, 33 shots, 1/3 PP.
Nov. 13 vs. Grand Rapids: 2 goals, 32 shots, 0/4 PP.
Nov. 15 vs. Chicago: 3 goals, 26 shots, 1/6 PP.
Nov. 16 @ Iowa: 1 goal, 34 shots, 0/5 PP.
Nov. 19 vs. Abbotsford: 3 goals, 40 shots, 1/5 PP.
Nov. 20 @ Grand Rapids: 0 goals, 16 shots, 0/5 PP.
Nov. 22 vs. Chicago: 2 goals, 31 shots, 0/3 PP.
Nov. 27 @ Rockford: 1 goal, 34 shots, 0/4 PP.
Nov. 30 @ Charlotte: 1 goal, 28 shots, 0/4 PP.

7-3-1-0 Record, 31 goals, 332 shots, 10/48 PP
9.34 Shooting Percentage, 20.8 PP%

Dec. 1 @ Charlotte: 2 goals, 27 shots, 0/4 PP.
Dec. 6 vs. Oklahoma City: 5 goals, 44 shots, 1/7 PP.
Dec. 12 vs. Oklahoma City: 4 goals, 37 shots, 2/3 PP.
Dec. 13 @ Grand Rapids: 2 goals, 26 shots, 0/2 PP.
Dec. 14 @ Grand Rapids: 0 goals, 31 shots, 0/9 PP.
Dec. 20 vs. San Antonio: 4 goals, 33 shots, 3/5 PP.
Dec. 21 @ Rockford: 3 goals, 31 shots, 1/7 PP.
Dec. 22 @ Chicago: 1 goal, 25 shots, 1/3 PP.
Dec. 26 vs. Grand Rapids: 4 goals, 24 shots, 0/3 PP.
Dec. 27 vs. Charlotte: 2 goals, 31 shots, 0/3 PP.
Dec. 29 @ Iowa: 4 goals, 23 shots, 2/2 PP.

5-5-1-2 Record, 35 goals, 408 shots, 12/61 PP
8.58 Shooting Percentage, 19.7 PP%

Jan. 3 @ Lake Erie: 2 goals, 14 shots, 0/4 PP.
Jan. 4 @ Lake Erie: 1 goal, 23 shots, 0/4 PP.
Jan. 6 vs. Iowa: 3 goals, 31 shots, 2/3 PP.
Jan. 11 vs. Chicago: 1 goal, 26 shots, 1/7 PP.
Jan. 12 vs. Lake Erie: 6 goals, 32 shots, 3/7 PP.
Jan. 16 @ San Antonio: 4 goals, 37 shots, 1/4 PP.
Jan. 18 @ Oklahoma City: 1 goal, 33 shots, 0/4 PP.
Jan. 19 @ Oklahoma City: 4 goals, 45 shots, 1/8 PP.
Jan. 21 vs. Toronto: 3 goals, 46 shots, 3/11 PP.
Jan. 24 vs. Rockford: 3 goals, 36 shots, 0/3 PP.
Jan. 25 @ Rockford: 1 goal, 27 shots, 0/1 PP.
Jan. 26 vs. Rockford: 3 goals, 28 shots, 1/3 PP.
Jan. 31 @ Iowa: 3 goals, 30 shots, 0/2 PP.

February, In Progress
2-3-0-2 Record, 15 goals, 180 shots, 3/25 PP
8.33 Shooting Percentage, 12.0 PP%

Feb. 1 vs. Grand Rapids: 2 goals, 31 shots, 0/3 PP.
Feb. 5 vs. Hamilton: 4 goals, 28 shots, 1/5 PP.
Feb. 7 vs. Utica: 0 goals, 21 shots, 0/1 PP.
Feb. 9 vs. Chicago: 3 goals, 27 shots, 1/3 PP.
Feb. 14 vs. Iowa: 1 goal, 28 shots, 1/4 PP.
Feb. 15 @ Chicago: 3 goals, 26 shots, 0/5 PP.
Feb. 16 @ Chicago: 2 goals, 19 shots, 0/4 PP.

Overall Report
23-16-6-5 Record, 128 goals, 1481 shots, 39/229 PP
8.64 Shooting Percentage, 17.03 PP%

Now, I know what you’re going to be thinking next. These numbers, stats, and figures on the Admirals offense are all jolly exciting. But what on Earth do they even mean? Well, let me give you the official AHL measuring stick to bring this all into proper perspective.

AHL League Averages
9.31 Shooting Percentage, 17.796 PP%

The Milwaukee Admirals are below the AHL league averages when it comes to shooting and the power-play. Add a goaltender, who has been forcing his team to find two or three goals per game to have a chance, and you get the constant win one, lose one, win one sort of behavior the Admirals have battled through this season. The firepower just hasn’t been able to push them over the top for a decent enough stretch of games.

Two of the more successful months this season for the team, October and December, came when they were shooting at a percentage above league average. Since that calendar turned to 2014, much like Mr. Bitetto, the whole team’s ability to finish at a high rate has been lacking. I don’t think I could even care who is in the net for the Admirals if the team continues to fire nearly a percentage point below league average when it comes to shooting. It’s just not good enough. I can safely imagine the coaches and players are fully aware of that sentiment. It’s time for the ship to sail with its guns blazing as the playoff push comes into picture. Either that, or the team will need to play defense at a clip that makes this offense win games.

What can the team really do to turn things around offensively? Is this the Admirals own doing or more to do with teams breaking them down more and more as the season progresses? What worked best in those 2013 months of the season that hasn’t followed in 2014?

By The Numbers: Mazanec

Since January, it has been all Marek Mazanec. Is that a positive or a negative? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Marek Mazanec was pulled from yesterday afternoon’s Admirals game where he conceded three goals on twenty shots. The final straw, the reason why he was pulled, came in the third period when two Wolves goals were scored in rapid succession. He has now allowed three goals in his last four starts – all of which resulted in losses. To say it as eloquently as possible: it just hasn’t looked quite like Marek Mazanec lately.

I think one of the more oddball stats of this entire season has been that, in his AHL time with the Admirals, Mazanec has allowed at least two goals per game. In the NHL, that wasn’t the case. He had four NHL games in which he conceded less than two goals – two of those were shutouts.

So, what is the deal with our 22-year old Czech netminder? Why don’t we check out the statistical breakdown of all of his games this season, AHL and NHL, and see what we make of it.

October, 2013

Oct. 18 @ Grand Rapids: W, 3-2: 24 saves, 2 GA.
Oct. 26 vs. Texas: W, 4-2: 27 saves, 2 GA.
Oct. 30 vs Texas: W, 3-2 (OT): 33 saves, 2 GA.

November, 2013

Nov. 1 vs. Rockford: W, 4-2: 28 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 3 @ Iowa: W, 5-2: 28 saves, 2 GA.

Nov. 5 – Called Up To Nashville

Nov. 8 @ Winnipeg: ND, 5-0: 22 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 12 @ New York: L, 3-1: 30 saves, 3 GA.
Nov. 15 @ Pittsburgh: L, 4-1: 21 saves, 4 GA.
Nov. 16 vs. Chicago: W, 7-2: 39 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 19 @ Detroit: W, 2-0: 27 saves, 0 GA.
Nov. 21 @ Toronto: W, 4-2: 24 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 23 vs New York: L, 2-0: 32 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 25 vs. Phoenix: W, 4-2: 29 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 27 @ Columbus: W, 4-0: 19 saves, 0 GA.
Nov. 28 vs. Edmonton: L, 3-0: 25 saves, 2 GA.
Nov. 30 vs. Philadelphia: SOL, 3-2: 22 saves, 2 GA.

December, 2013

Dec. 3 vs. Vancouver: L, 3-1: 30 saves, 3 GA.
Dec. 5 vs. Carolina: L, 5-2: 9 saves, 4 GA.
Dec. 7 @ Washington: L, 5-2: 28 saves, 5 GA.
Dec. 12 @ Tampa Bay: ND, 4-2: 19 saves, 0 GA.
Dec. 21 vs. Montreal: ND, 4-3 (OT): 2 saves, 3 GA.
Dec. 23 vs. Boston: L, 6-2: 25 saves, 4 GA.
Dec. 28 vs. Los Angeles: W, 3-2: 26 saves, 2 GA.
Dec. 30 vs. Detroit: W, 6-4: 21 saves, 4 GA.

January, 2014

Jan. 2 @ Boston: OTL, 3-2: 22 saves, 3 GA.
Jan. 4 @Florida: SOL, 5-4: 25 saves, 4 GA.
Jan. 7 vs. San Jose: W, 3-2: 26 saves, 2 GA.
Jan. 9 vs. Anaheim: L, 4-3: 24 saves, 4 GA.
Jan. 11 vs. Ottawa: SOL, 2-1: 20 saves, 1 GA.
Jan. 12 vs. Minnesota: L, 4-0: 19 saves, 4 GA.

Jan. 17 – Reassigned to Milwaukee

Jan. 18 @ Oklahoma City: L, 2-1: 23 saves, 2 GA.
Jan. 19 @ Oklahoma City: SOL, 5-4: 21 saves, 4 GA.
Jan. 21 vs. Toronto: W, 3-2: 25 saves, 2 GA.
Jan. 24 vs. Rockford: W, 3-2: 28 saves, 2 GA.
Jan. 25 @ Rockford: L, 2-1: 29 saves, 2 GA.
Jan. 26 vs. Rockford: OTL, 4-3: 39 saves, 4 GA.
Jan. 31 @ Iowa: W, 3-2 (OT): 24 saves, 2 GA.

February, 2014, In Progress

Feb. 1 vs. Grand Rapids: SOL, 3-2: 35 saves, 2 GA.
Feb. 5 vs. Hamilton: W, 4-2: 28 saves, 2 GA.
Feb. 7 vs. Utica: L, 3-0: 28 saves, 3 GA
Feb. 9 vs. Chicago: SOL, 4-3: 31 saves, 3 GA.
Feb. 14 vs. Iowa: L, 3-1: 27 saves, 3 GA.
Feb. 16 @ Chicago: L, 3-2: 17 saves, 3 GA.

Overall Report

Total Record: 17-15-2-6 (42 points from 40 decisions)
NHL Record: 8-10-1-3 (20 points from 22 decisions)
AHL Record: 9-5-1-3 (22 points from 18 decisions)

Total Goals Against Average: 2.62 GAA. (NHL, 2.80 GAA… AHL, 2.43 GAA…)

Total Save Percentage: 0.910 SV% (NHL, 0.902 SV%… AHL, 0.918 SV%…)

Total Goal Differential: 108 Goals Allowed by Mazanec (NHL/AHL) vs. 103 Goals Forced from the team in front of him when he plays (54 NHL, 49 AHL): -5 Goal Differential for Mazanec.

Amount of Consecutive Starts Made: 37 games started consecutively during the course of this season (21 NHL, 16 AHL).

Three-In-Three starts: 1, in AHL (1/24 vs. Rockford… 1/25 @ Rockford… 1/26 vs. Rockford).

Two-In-Two starts: 5, in the NHL and AHL (11/15 @ Pittsburgh… 11/16 vs. Chicago… // 11/27 @ Columbus… 11/28 vs. Edmonton… // 1/11 vs. Ottawa… 1/12 vs. Minnesota… // 1/18 @ Oklahoma City… 1/19 @Oklahoma City… // 1/31 @ Iowa… 2/1 vs. Grand Rapids…)

Amount of NHL/AHL Games Played In: 43 games.

Amount of Games Played In for Plzen HC in the 2012-13 season: 21 games.

AUDIO: Mazanec after the conclusion of his three-in-three against Rockford (Part 1):

AUDIO: Mazanec after the conclusion of his three-in-three against Rockford (Part 2):

So, I don’t know about you folks, but what I see when I look at everything laid out in front of me like this is that Marek Mazanec is being used as a workhorse – in his first North American professional hockey season – and he is being stretched to the limit Again, it is only his first professional North American hockey season. I feel some agitated in his recent play might just happen forget about that. Last season, Magnus Hellberg battled through his struggles with the higher tempo game with smaller ice – and delivered with a great finish to the season. Big difference was, Hellberg was in no way shape or form asked to carry such a load, AHL and NHL, so quickly.

Mazanec has shown plenty of talent this season. I only feel that there is far too much weight being put on top of him all while his past experience doesn’t compare – not to the AHL level – and certainly not to the NHL level. You can easily wag your finger at his NHL numbers, his NHL Rookie of the Month award for November, and say – why not Milwaukee? Well, just as easily, the caliber of players in front of him to help out defensively and offensively aren’t up to par but, even more so, Mazanec really hasn’t had a goaltender to push him and make him earn his net since Hellberg at the start of pre-season camp.

I feel that the sooner we see a Scott Darling return, or even a Hellberg, the better off things will be for the Admirals and all goaltenders involved. Goalies want to play as much as possible – without question. But that’s exactly why having an option 1-A and 1-B to pick from as a starting goalie raises the internal competition meter up and brings out the best of the group. Not to mention, as this season drags down to the finish – you’re not going to want a rookie netminder like Mazanec to have flamed out before April because he has played every-other or more games for the Ads.

At some point this week I expect the Admirals will recall Darling from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL after he won two games (in two days) in his return from a lower-body injury. For all we know, the situation that I just brought up takes place as soon as this weekend where, you guessed it, a three-in-three will be played. Should that happen… who starts Friday in Milwaukee and how do you balance out the rest of the weekend?

What are your thoughts on Marek Mazanec’s season to date? Is he being overworked? Are we expecting too much from him?

Poll: The Admirals 2013-14 Pink Jersey


With a primary assist to the Milwaukee Admirals on Facebook – we have our first real look at the Pink Jersey the team will be wearing tomorrow night against the Iowa Wild. We saw a mock-up of it earlier in the week – now the real deal.

As far as this style of jersey is concerned – we have seen far louder attempts in the past. This is essentially our road blacks with a substitute of Pink for the typical Lake Michigan Blue – with the added Breast Cancer Awareness symbol behind the primary crest and replacing the shoulder anchors. It’s simple. And I like that. Plus, if we mixed in the wrestling promotion from last game, how Bret Hart is this jersey?

Poll: Which Goaltender Would You Chose Down The Stretch?

With the goaltending injuries that occurred this month – Roscoe wonders if he could get a game in net. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

I’ve had a question running through my mind the last few days so I wanted to throw it back to all of you Roundtable readers in the form of this poll and post.

Interesting question right? … Oh. … No? Well let me give you some things to consider.

Marek Mazanec – aka The Healthy One. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Marek Mazanec’s superb start to the season, winning five games from five starts, lead to his lengthy stint up in Nashville. He won the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November by winning five games and posting two shutouts. After the Predators made the move to acquire Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk – he returned to the Milwaukee Admirals during a span that saw both goalies go down to injury. He has started all six games in net for the Admirals since returning from the NHL.

For those who’ve had the chance to watch him play this season, either in Milwaukee or Nashville, I think his positives are very evident. He plays very composed. He has good vision on the ice. He generally handles his rebounds well. Also, he does a decent job dictating the pace of a hockey game when he is on.

Where these positives seem to crash into the ground come with net front traffic. When impeded, his vision, (which is normally quite sharp) seems to go all over the place and, in his frenzy to locate pucks, can give up goals such as the recent overtime game-winner by Adam Clendening – which was almost scored from Admirals bench. Worryingly, in the AHL this season he has conceded 2.33 goals per game. He still has yet to play a game as an Admiral where he has allowed less than two goals in a game.

Before his stint in the NHL he was 5-0-0-0 with a 1.97 GAA (skewed under his two per game average due to an overtime winner 10/30/13 vs. Texas). He also had a 0.933 SV% – 140 saves out of 150 shots from five games.

Since returning from Nashville he has gone 2-2-1-1 with a 2.63 GAA. He has a 0.912 SV% – 165 saves out of 181 shots from six games. His four losses came in scenarios of two-in-two (1/18 and 1/19 in Oklahoma City) and the back end of a three-in-three (1/25 in Rockford and 1/26 in Milwaukee). Are his slight dips in performance more to do with how much he has been playing or does it come down to him?

Audio Callback, Mazanec on playing in all games of a three-in-three (1/26/14):

He’s shown himself to be great at times as an Admiral but was that little bit better for a solid month at the NHL level. The talent and capacity to perform well is there. Right now, he is incredibly consistent. The problem is his consistency means scoring three or more goals a night to win. Should he start to settle back into the Milwaukee flow – perhaps he would be the top candidate, no matter who is healthy, to play in goal for the Admirals as the stretch drive comes into frame.

Magnus Hellberg and Aurora Sports Medicine Institute have gotten to know each other away from the rink this season, and that should make everyone feel sad. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

What a doozie of a season it has been for last year’s breakout star Magnus Hellberg. When he was up with the Nashville Predators for pre-season camp he was injured on the first day of camp – missing most of the fun and practice. From October and November he was the team’s go-to netminder. He played in thirteen games during that span, went 3-5-4-1, 2.82 GAA, and had a 0.912 SV%. In the midst of that – he was called up to Nashville for his first ever NHL recall, made a 12:12 cameo, made 3 saves from 4 shots, and was swapped with Mazanec shortly after.

After his opening stretch, losing five games from thirteen appearances, the door opened for Scott Darling in the month of December. Hellberg’s December saw him start just four games, going 1-2-1-0, with a 2.65 GAA, and a 0.924 SV%. His lone win in that month was a reminder of his incredible talent: 12/12/13 vs. Oklahoma City – 40 save shutout. Though, as has been his 2013-14 season, the good came right with the bad waiting to pounce. His first start of December, that shutout. His last start of December (12/27/13 vs. Charlotte), he was pulled by Dean Evason after giving up 3 goals on 26 shots.

Audio Callback, Hellberg and Evason after he was pulled (12/27/13):

Then came a window of opportunity for Hellberg to play consistently in net. After a practice injury to Darling, Hellberg made a start in San Antonio at the beginning of a stretch of seven games in eleven days. This was his chance to regain form, confidence, but best of all start lots of games to work out kinks. Moment of opportunity? Good. So, where was the bad waiting to pounce? Right in the middle of the overtime against San Antonio – first start in the seven game span – just when we were expecting a heavy dose of Hellberg for the week ahead. He tried to soldier on after getting injured, but his night was over before the game even finished overtime. As far as I know, it is the dreaded lower-body injury. From early reports that I had heard, hinting that he may have had a high ankle sprain, I was shocked to see him walking around without crutches when the team returned from that very same road trip. He’s working out and keeping in game shape. He’s just not back to practice – and there isn’t a time table for him as of yet.

Were he not to get injured it’d have been fascinating to see just how the team could have handled the recent stretch of games – seven in eleven – with both Hellberg and Mazanec in camp. There’s no denying that Mazanec was running on fumes by Sunday when he became the most recent Admiral to start all games in net of a three-in-three. The last Admiral goalie to do that? Magnus Hellberg, in the clutch, in the final three games of last season, winning all of them, and earning back-to-back shutouts to get the Admirals the eighth and final playoff seed (4/19/13 vs. Charlotte, 4/20/13 @ Chicago, and 4/21/13 @ Peoria).

It’s just such a display, at the end of last season, as to what triggered this very question poll. Hellberg did it last year and was locked in from the month of February forward. If he were healthy, could Magnus Hellberg repeat what he did in last year’s stretch drive? Would he be your goalie of choice to start in -the- big games?

Scott Darling doesn’t always fight other goalies but, when he does, it’s awesome. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus ~ Photoshop: Me)

The Admirals are never short a few surprises during the course of a season. For my money, this year’s big surprise was the emergence of Scott Darling after being called up from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.

Audio Callback, Mike Liambas interviews Scott Darling after a shutout (12/20/13):

His first start with the Admirals might not have been the greatest for two reasons. One, he allowed 4 goals from 29 shots. Two, an equipment issue took him too long to get back out onto the ice for the start of the third period – so he didn’t play the third period (coincidentally giving the loss to Magnus Hellberg in that game).

Ever since? Let’s just say goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok must be one happy coach – or Scott Darling is one great student. In December, he earned the the CCM/AHL Player of the Week honors in a stretch where he won both games of a two-in-two, earned a shutout, made 65 saves from 66 shots on goal for a ridiculous 0.985 SV% and 0.45 GAA (12/20/13 vs. San Antonio and 12/21/13 @ Rockford). For good measure, he also picked up the CCM/AHL Goalie of the Month of December: he played in eight games, made seven starts, had a record of 6-1-0-0, 1.12 GAA, 0.964 SV%, and recorded two shutouts.

And then the calendar switched to 2014…

In three games against the Lake Erie Monsters he allowed 13 goals from 80 shots. He won one of those three games – and in that victory he allowed 5 goals from 25 shots. His January numbers, while only three games, drastically hit a Monster wall: 4.60 GAA and a 0.838 SV%.

Then came his injury which occurred during team practice just before the team was going to travel down to San Antonio. His injury? You guessed it. The dreaded lower-body injury. Just like Hellberg though, he doesn’t have crutches and has been actively working out. I’ve had the chance to speak with him around the locker room since his injury and he is in good spirits – making me think he could be back sooner rather than later. He should be back with the team before Hellberg but, as Scott Ford reminded us all this season, hockey players laugh at injuries, can heal up very quickly, and return to game action far beyond any early prognosis or time table might suggest.

When can those two injured goalies of January come back? Your guess is as good as mine. But, when he does come back, will Darling be given the opportunity to play to the same level of consistency as he did in December? Should Hellberg and Darling return at the same time – who ends up in Cincinnati? And, should Darling come back and regain that December form, would he be the man you want to start in net when the games creep closer to the playoffs?

This is Hannu Toivonen. He’s the current back-up goaltender for the Milwaukee Admirals. Just throwing that out there in case you’ve already forgotten. (Photo Credit: Señor Internet)

Hannu Toivonen. That’s a cool name. Just say it out loud a couple of times. … I digress. Anyways, the man signed to a professional try-out (PTO) right after Scott Darling’s injury is really out of the mix in my book. Why? Well, given the nature of last weekend’s series with the Rockford IceHogs: three-in-three // home-road-home :you would have expected him to turn up for one game if only to give Marek Mazanec a breather for a period or two.

Audio Callback, Evason stated he was comfortable with Toivonen in net (1/23/13):

Did he? Nope. And that should say enough about where he stands on his PTO versus Mazanec, fresh from an NHL stint, and with a guy like Darling possibly coming back in the near future. He did make some appearances as an Admiral, though. When Hellberg went down with injury he played a solid four-seconds of overtime – before taking a loss, without facing a single shot in either regulation or overtime, in the shootout – where he stopped four of six shooters (1/16/14 @ San Antonio). His other appearance? The Admirals Celebrity Serve event at Major Goolsby’s this past Tuesday. Hey, might as well have fun right?

Hey, remember Pekka Rinne? He was pretty great. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

With the added Pekka Rinne element to possibly still play out (will he come back this year, would he have a rehab stint in Milwaukee, if so what does that mean for the other goalies, etc etc) there is still much to decipher as we head into February, the NHL’s Olympic Break, and the looming NHL trade deadline and just what the Nashville Predators could be doing then – and maybe even before then. When this all shakes out though I expect Mazanec, Hellberg, and Darling to be your top choices to lead the Admirals in net into the playoffs. Whoever steps up into that role will be fascinating to see given the surrounding circumstances but, most of all, the competition and depth at the position when all are healthy. Who would you chose, if even for that one crucial game, Mazanec, Hellberg, or Darling?

By The Numbers: Hellberg


(Photo credit to Scott Paulus)

There was so much to be excited about with Magnus Hellberg coming into this year. His rookie season was finished off with brilliant results that helped the Admirals reach the playoffs for the eleventh-straight season. For his efforts, he took part in the Nashville Predators pre-season camp. Sadly for Hellberg he was injured on the first day. He started off his season in Milwaukee and started in net for three games. Then came the Pekka Rinne injury and a call up to the NHL where Hellberg saw 12:12 of ice time in a relief role. He was next swapped by Nashville with the undefeated performer in net for the Admirals, Marek Mazanec, and instantly thrown back into the fire with games on the road with the explosive Texas Stars and pesky San Antonio Rampage.

It seems as if, ever since, he hasn’t played with the consistency and execution he displayed at the end of last year. Have teams figured him out? Is there a nagging injury? Is he a slow starter? Is there a little bit of a mental let down knowing he was in Nashville and then his replacement Mazanec has been, well, Mazanec? To me, it is very difficult to pin it on the roster switch with Mazanec but that is just one of many speculations you could dish out on the matter. Me, I’m a nerd who enjoys looking at statistical breakdowns in cases such as this to find differences or similarities. Let’s take a look at the numbers on Hellberg this year to last year – specifically this year’s first nine starts (which means, you guessed it, all of them to this point) versus last season’s first nine starts.

Magnus Hellberg’s First Nine Starts in 2012-13

10-21-12, @ HOU: W, 17 saves, 4 goals allowed, 0.810 SV%

10-31-12, vs. CHA: W, 27 saves, 4 goals allowed, 0.871 SV%

11-9-12, vs. CHI: ND (pulled), 13 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.812 SV%

11-24-12, @ CHI: W, 30 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.909 SV% – 5-6 in shootout saves

12-9-12, @ CHA: W, 26 saves, 2 goals allowed, 0.929 SV%

12-11-12, @ CHA: L, 30 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.909 SV%

12-15-12, @ PEO: L, 34 saves, 2 goals allowed, 0.944 SV%

12-19-12, vs. RFD: L (pulled), 11 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.786 SV%

12-29-12, @ RFD: L, 36 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.923 SV%

Magnus Hellberg’s First Nine Starts in 2013-14

10-11-13, @ ABB: L, 28 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.903 SV%

10-12-13, @ ABB: W, 26 saves, 1 goal allowed, 0.963 SV% – 4-4 in shootout saves

10-19-13, vs. CHI: L, 19 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.864 SV%

11-8-13, @ TEX: L (pulled), 33 saves, 6 goals allowed, 0.846 SV%

11-10-13, @ SA: L, 43 saves, 2 goals allowed, 0.956 SV% – 4-5 in shootout saves

11-13-13, vs. GR: W, 28 saves, 1 goal allowed, 0.966 SV%

11-15-13, vs. CHI: L, 22 saves, 3 goals allowed, 0.880 SV%

11-19-13, vs. ABB: L, 33 saves, 4 goals allowed, 0.892 SV%

11-20-13, @ GR: L (pulled), 35 saves, 4 goals allowed, 0.897 SV %

The Sum

2012-13 Season
4-4-0-0 record, 224 saves, 27 goals allowed, 0.892 SV%
Goal Support in Games Started: 30

2013-14 Season
2-2-3-1 record, 267 saves, 27 goals allowed, 0.908 SV%
Goal Support in Games Started: 20

The way I see it by the numbers Hellberg is simply facing more this year with far less offensive production in front of him. He’s actually doing better than he was his rookie season as far as saves and save percentage is concerned. It’s only the win column where things don’t match up and the goal support the Admirals provide when he starts. So, is this a slow start for Hellberg? Actually not. He’s provided the Admirals a much needed stopper in goal. Just like any goalie though there are only so many shots that can get poured in before an offense breaks through. That’s happening at the same rate, 27 goals allowed through nine starts, as last season with a better save percentage.

Long story short (too late), the Admirals offense and defense need to step up their games to relieve some of the pressure being forced upon their netminder. It’s a dangerous game to play the way the Ads have this season. As a whole they have been outshot by their opponents 386-349 this season and it’s what both sides do with those shots that make the big dent. The Ads are seventeenth in the AHL in goals scored. They faced the top two teams in the AHL in goals scored on back-to-back nights this week and were outshot 80-56 in those games. That’s asking for trouble. For the Ads to see an improvement from their recent run of games all that’s required is to relieve stress on their own net by putting some shots on goal at the other end. To boot, the Ads need to sharpen up their finishing rate because 44 goals scored from 349 shots just isn’t good enough to hang with teams such as the Heat or Griffins.