Tag: David Poile

Beyond the Bradley Center: Admirals Right the Ship as the Holiday Home Stretch Approaches

2012-2013 Milwaukee Admirals: 20 G.P., 9-8-2-1–21 pts., 55 goals scored, 60 goals allowed, 10th place in the Western Conference. Leading scorer: Austin Watson (8 goals, 7 assists, 15 points).

Best Recent Win: Nov. 30 3-2 over Chicago. Worst Recent Loss: Nov. 20, 5-3 to the Wolves. Key Upcoming Matchup: Dec. 9 at Charlotte.

Has Milwaukee turned a corner in this young season? Three wins in a row, and stretch of points recorded in five consecutive games has to mean something.

Perhaps more importantly, the Admirals appear to be improving defensively, playing three close to the vest contests in a row. Certainly if Milwaukee is going to make any noise this season, the Admirals need to be one of the AHL’s best defensive teams.

Considering all the road games on the schedule to date (continuing through Dec. 11 at Charlotte), it is hard not to be pleased with a 9-8-2-1 start, even if it leaves Milwaukee on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoff race. Home cooking awaits over the holidays, with nine of the next 11 games at the Bradley Center after the trip to North Carolina (to face the South Division leading Checkers), including five in a row at home.

Meanwhile, my vote for Mr. Movember has to be Austin Watson. The AHL rookie scored six goals and five assists in the month, recorded his first multi-goal game, and is looking like a solid NHL prospect. Exactly what David Poile and Paul Fenton were looking for when they drafted the Ann Arbor, Michigan native in the first round of the 2010 entry draft. He really does like a Predator in waiting, even if that opportunity is one he will have to continue to wait for.

So Roundtable . . . Are you ready for a batch of home games? Is time for Milwaukee to start ‘making some hay,’ and win in bunches. Is the recent streak a positive sign? What are your impressions of Austin Watson, am I too high on him?

The Shea Weber Offer Sheet

First Ryan Suter leaves, now maybe Shea Weber one year early?

Today big news flooded the hockey world as current Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber signed a MEGA contract offer sheet to join the Philadelphia Flyers.

The total compensation looks to be north of $100 million dollars, likely more than the matching contracts Zach Parise and Ryan Suter just signed with Minnesota on July 4th. Speculation was out in various news outlets that after Suter left Nashville, Weber was not terribly pleased. But I am not sure anyone within the Predators organization could have been prepared for this abrupt decision.

Prior to this contract offer the off season had not exactly gone to plan for Philadelphia, which lost defenseman Matt Carle to Tampa Bay, and may see future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger retire. Another team, Detroit, which heavily pursued Suter, was likely interested in Weber to via a trade. Some movement speculation had been surfacing in recent days, but Nashville had yet to pull the trigger.

Now Nashville is left with a pair of choices. They can match the contract and lock up their franchise cornerstone for the next 14 years, keeping Weber’s services until he reaches 40-years-old. Or let Weber sign in Philadelphia and receive a draft pick compensation package worth the neighborhood of four first-round draft picks.

Certainly a tough call for an organization that has yet to get Weber interested on any kind of lengthy contract. The captain played last season on a one-year, $7.5 million deal awarded via arbitration.

So why did I write this post? Much like losing Suter, the loss of Weber would have a rippling effect on the entire Nashville organization. Losing Weber without receiving a single NHL player in return takes that even further. First round draft picks are great, but considering they would be coming from Philadelphia, a team likely to finish in the NHL’s top echelon for the foreseeable future, they would be almost-second rounders with no guarantees of panning out.

Will Nashville match? I can honestly say I have no idea, and have yet to read anything official tipping G.M. David Poile’s hand, other than the team’s broad statement that they will match any offer sheet. Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey sums it up pretty good though. But this isn’t entirely Poile’s choice. Obviously, Predators ownership must sign off on it, and that means signing off on a LOT of money.

One of the contract years could pay Weber $26 million in a single season according to Darren Draeger of TSN via Twitter (DarrenDreger):  Its going to be fascinating to see financial terms of Weber’s offer sheet. Hearing in one calendar year, he could make $26 mil.

On the total compensation package according to Dreger:  Weber will receive $14 mil in each of 1st 4 years. $12 mil in next 2 yrs. $6mil in following 4 yrs…then $3mil and $1mil, $1mil,$1mil,$1mil.

That is a huge front-loaded contract. As far as some of the other restricted free agency deals from the past and how they’ve worked out? I bet Anaheim is glad they passed on matching the offer sheet Dustin Penner signed with Edmonton. The jury is still out on whether Buffalo matching Thomas Vanek’s offer sheet was a good idea.

Certainly, this is just the beginning of this story. There will be plenty more to come in the coming days as Nashville has exactly seven of them to decide on whether to match or let Weber go.

Update as of 11 A.M. of this morning:

The Nashville Predators and G.M. David Poile have issued a statement in regards to Weber’s offer sheet. Here is the quote from Poile in the press release:

“We are in receipt of the offer sheet signed between the Philadelphia Flyers and Shea Weber. Under the rules pertaining to an offer sheet, the Predators have one week to decide whether to match or accept the compensation.  We have stated previously that, should a team enter into an offer sheet with Shea, our intention would be to match and retain Shea. Our ownership has provided us with the necessary resources to build a Stanley Cup-winning team. Due to the complexity of the offer sheet, we will take the appropriate time to review and evaluate it and all of its ramifications in order to make the best decision for the Predators in both the short and long-term.

“We do not anticipate any further comments on this situation until we make our decision within the next seven days.”

So Roundtable . . . What do think of today’s developments? Must Nashville match it in order to save the franchise? Does that outrageous contract make it impossible? If you were David Poile, how would you proceed? What is the residual effect from this decision on the rest of the Predators organization, namely Jon Blum and Ryan Ellis?

What Steve Begin Brings to Milwaukee

Anytime a player with an NHL pedigree such as Steve Begin’s gets assigned to an AHL club, the league’s fans get excited.  These players offer the hardcore hockey fan a name they can recognize and not a prospect they have to do their homework on.

But for the Admirals supporters who don’t know much about Steve Begin, let me shine a little light on the subject.  At 32-years old Begin is no rookie.  His best offensive days (10 goals in 2003-2004 and 11 in 2005-2006) are behind him, yet Begin proved effective in his checking role with the Boston last year.  This was especially true during the playoffs when Begin took advantage of expanded ice time as the Bruins lost key players to injuries.  During the off-season Begin likely would have resigned in Boston if the Bruins weren’t so strapped by salary cap issues.

Despite his limited offensive game, Begin remains an effective two-way forward and a menace to play against.  The Quebec-native is a constant competitor on the ice, who skates with a work ethic that makes him easy to coach.

Therefore Begin seems a natural fit in blue-collar organization like Nashville, a team that prides itself in playing a gritty style.  Begin’s time in Milwaukee will involve conditioning to get his NHL legs back under him after he missed all of training camp as an unsigned free agent.

However, if an opportunity on the Predators third or fourth line appears, expect Begin to be one of the first players General Manager David Poile inquires about.

(Author’s Note:  Steve Begin played his first game with the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday at Chicago, picking up an assist, while centering the team’s starting line with Chris Mueller and Gabriel Bourque.  He also took a controversial penalty late in third period that effectively ended Milwaukee’s comeback hopes.  To hear coach Lane Lambert thoughts on the call, check out Andy Grebe’s game recap Blog, Wolves Fend Off Ads 4-3:  http://admiralsroundtable.com/2010/10/24/wolves-fend-of-ads-4-3/)