Sorry for the delay everyone, but we’re back! Let’s be honest with ourselves, you wouldn’t have wanted to read about the Admirals the past couple weeks anyway. Milwaukee started off the month of November with a four-game losing streak and have totaled six losses in eight games so far with a record of 2-5-1. That’s still good for second in their division, but hot starts can only carry you so far.
Headlines & Standings
- This is entirely random, but the Admirals have incurred the fifth most penalty minutes in the league - 268 - behind Charlotte, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Bridgeport, and Hershey. As Rachel pointed out, the Admirals' lack of discipline is leading to a lot of lazy stick infractions and obstructions.
- The Admirals power play now sits at 15.5%, which actually isn’t horrible relative to their competition. But 13 goals on 84 opportunities is abysmal. Their penalty kill is still humming along at 88.3% - good for best in the division and second best in the league behind Providence.
- Frederic Allard is leading the team in shots with 46. Great for him — not so great for the forward group.
- Sabres prospect Lawrence Pilut is tied for the league lead with 22 points. Pilut was a highly-coveted Swedish free agent this summer that the Preds took a run at before signing Filip Pyrochta.
Weekly Game Recap
November 14: Milwaukee Admirals @ Iowa Wild
A disastrous effort by everyone involved. The Admirals were shut out for the first time that week while failing on five power-play chances and not managing double-digit shots in any period.
Tyler Gaudet was the only player who really looked serviceable at any point in the night, and led the team in shot attempts.
November 16: Milwaukee Admirals @ Iowa Wild
Despite a better effort in lots of areas, the Admirals were blanked by double the score, accompanied by a 0-for-7 power play effort. The first two periods were okay and had the Admirals only down by two. But the third period saw a complete dismantling of the Admirals’ defensive zone structure.
Tolvanen and Richard supplied most of the team’s offensive pressure with Allard supplementing from the blue line.
November 17: Milwaukee Admirals vs. Ontario Reign
The Admirals were able to finish the week on a high note but not without making it difficult. Eeli Tolvanen got the offense going early, but there was little of it for the rest of the game as the Ads managed only 17 shots and went scoreless on the power play once again.
Eeli Tolvanen: Tolvanen and Richard have really impressed both Rachel and me. I’ve probably written enough about Anthony Richard, but Tolvanen has quietly impressed despite having just four goals and 11 points in 19 games played. He is second on the team in shots with 43 and has raised his shooting percentage to 9.3%.
Grosenick & McCollum: Tom McCollum has faced the 12th most shots-against in the AHL at 310; Grosenick and McCollum are nearly top-ten goalies league-wide in their goals-against averages. But neither have stellar save-percentages or have had truly dominant games. So, is Milwaukee’s tandem losing them games or winning them games? Stay posted for a dive into this later on.
Joonas Lyytinen & the Defense: In both games against the Wild - and often this season - there has seemingly been a lot of ‘zone’ defense. Rachel pointed this out:
“I saw a lack of net-front presence against the Wild. The Admirals gave up their ice in front of Grosenick and McCollum and didn’t really fight for space.”
I don’t mean to single anyone out, but I noticed Lyytinen a lot in those two games. The usual suspects (Tinordi) were at it again, but take a look below:
On this play, despite the goal-against, Lyytinen makes the right play in moving between his man in the net to clear out a potential rebound.
But, on this play, watch Lyytinen and Pyrochta simply flank two forwards who contribute to screening and potentially deflecting the puck for a goal. There was way too much of this for all three pairings.
I don’t have much to add to our above analysis other than a couple things. After two prospects have ditched the organization in the last month, Milwaukee’s depth suddenly looks a lot different. We’re still waiting on what a cohesive unit will look like once injuries in Nashville return players to Wisconsin. This doesn’t seem to be a team that will need to rely on AHL-contract players and ECHL call-ups as much as Admirals teams in the past have, but who knows.
Finally, the Admirals have a really solid opportunity to catapult back up in the standings with four divisional games left this month. Three of those games (Rockford, Grand Rapids, and Texas) come against teams below them in the standings. This could be a four-game series that we look back at come April when considering the playoff picture.
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.