With a new season of Nashville Predators hockey comes another year of regular Milwaukee Admirals coverage by Rachel and me (Eric). The Admirals kick their season off on Sunday, October 6 when they travel to Des Moines to take on the Wild.
Before we get there, Rachel and I will take this week to preview the Admirals’ season by position; we’ll also include some analysis of the Florida Everblades and how the organization plans to use their new ECHL affiliate.
We’ll start off with the goalies and, in each of these, focus on four segments: a statistical review of 2018-19, projections for 2019-20, each player’s contract status, and a projected depth chart. For each of these position previews, we’ll be using the data viz work of our own Bryan Bastin (@ProjPatSummitt); that visualization can be explored further here.
2018-19 By The Numbers
Troy Grosenick - 30 - Milwaukee Admirals [AHL]
ED: It’s hard to overstate the impact Grosenick had on Milwaukee last season. A top-ten (often top-five) netminder in nearly every statistical category league-wide, Grosenick’s camp should be livid he didn’t get more consideration for the AHL’s best goalie honors in 2018-19.
As you see above, he graded out (per my model introduced here) within a couple points of Connor Ingram. He racked up 24 wins facing the third-most shots across the league and had an absurd 73.3% Quality Start rate (a start where a goalie records a save percentage higher than the league average). What’s most important to note, however, is the 20.99 goals he saved above average—a monstrous number ranking him first in the American League.
RK: Grosenick is a known quantity for the Admirals. In 2018-19, he provided steady goaltending behind a fluctuating and sometimes struggling team. His 0.919 save percentage was third-best among AHL goaltenders with 25+ starts. Among goalies who played in at least 35 games, his save percentage was the best in the league; he backstopped the Admirals 46 times last season
Connor Ingram - 22 - Syracuse Crunch [AHL]
ED: If you just paid attention to the off-ice matters, you would think Ingram had a horrendous campaign last year, but it was quite the contrary. The irreparable differences between his camp and the Tampa organization have been discussed enough. On the ice, Ingram excelled in Syracuse, perhaps making his ECHL demotion even more puzzling.
The Kamloops product recorded six shutouts in just 21 starts, finishing with an impressive 11.41 goals saved above average.
RK: I’m really excited to see Ingram “show his stuff” this season in Milwaukee. He has the opportunity to split the season with Grosenick, providing the Admirals a viable option in net no matter who gets the start.
Look for Ingram himself to be motivated after his recent tumult in Syracuse with the Lightning organization. As Eric notes above, Ingram’s shuffling and demotion doesn’t make too much sense when you look at his overall body of work.
Thoughts on 2019-20
ED: Milwaukee enters this season with, likely, it’s strongest goalie tandem in some time. Grosenick, as Rachel mentioned, is a known quantity who kept the Admirals in the playoff picture before they began racking up points in their final month last season.
Pending any call-ups, I expect another good season from Grosenick. His numbers may dip a bit (hopefully due to Milwaukee allowing fewer shots, thus affecting his GSAA), but another 35-40 starts is in order.
RK: There were times last season when Grosenick was the best player on the ice. He held together a team that was all over the place. With Ingram available, Grosenick could see fewer starts and hopefully keep up the incredible work for the Admirals. He has a multitude of tools in his toolbox: a good glove, incredible positioning, solid edges. Expect Grosenick to provide mentorship for Ingram.
ED: There’s been much chatter this off-season about what Ingram has to prove this year, but, on the ice, I’m not sure there is much left. He’s been a highly-touted prospect for some time (falling victim solely to the shadow of Carter Hart), and his numbers in Syracuse reflect that.
2019-20 will likely be his biggest workload since his rookie year in the AHL (35 games played), and I anticipate the organization will want to rely on him more and more as the season goes on. An even split of starts between the two seems most plausible, though Ingram may push for more.
RK: Connor Ingram, like Juuse Saros a few seasons ago, has the chance to become a fan (and organizational) favorite. Saros split the work with Marek Mazanec, but when it was time for a call-up to the big club, it was Saros who got the nod. Could that be the case for Ingram this season? I certainly would like to see it. A tandem of Saros and Ingram in net for Nashville in a few seasons would be a killer combination.
|Troy Grosenick||Milwaukee [AHL]||$700K||UFA||UFA||UFA||UFA||UFA|
|Connor Ingram||Milwaukee [AHL]||$759.2K||RFA||RFA||RFA||RFA||RFA|
Grosenick signed a one-year extension for this season back in March, paying him $700K in the NHL and $225K in the AHL. After what could conceivably be his last season in Milwaukee, Grosenick will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Ingram is entering the final year of his entry-level contract that pays him $792K.5K in the NHL and $70K in the AHL. Upon expiry next summer, he will be a restricted free agent.
Anticipated Depth Chart
I think this is fairly clear-cut to begin the season, but an evenly-split platoon is likely by season’s end:
1. Troy Grosenick
2. Connor Ingram
All contract information is courtesy of capfriendly.com. All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com and Giants in the Crease. The 2018-19 model is courtesy of Eric Dunay (@ERock_28) and C.C., and the viz is courtesy of Bryan Bastin (@ProjPatSummitt).