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Milwaukee Musings: A Weekend in Rockford

Cruising to just missing the playoffs.

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The Admirals took home three of four possible points this week with a school-day victory over Cleveland and a shootout loss to Grand Rapids. All in all, their work didn’t lead to much movement in the standings.

Milwaukee has a home-and-home date with Rockford this weekend, sitting in sixth place in the division—two points behind Texas and three behind Rockford. These games, unsurprisingly, are crucial.

Headlines & Standings

Central Division Standings - 3/20
theAHL.com
  • Defender Zach Osburn appeared in his first game with the Admirals last week recording his first professional point—an assist.
  • The Predators wrote a piece on Matt Donovan and his opportunity in Nashville. Check that out here.
  • All eyes are on Rem Pitlick to see if he will be joining Milwaukee at any point this season. Pitlick was recently named to the First Team All-Big Ten. I anticipate he will sign an entry-level contract beginning next season and join Milwaukee on an amateur tryout this spring.
  • Thanks to Rachel for the tip: Jarred Tinordi is out with a torn pectoral muscle.

Weekly Game Recap

March 13: Milwaukee Admirals v. Cleveland Monsters

Box Score - 3/13
theAHL.com

Laurent Dauphin continued his impressive play in Milwaukee with a wrap-around goal to kick off the scoring in the first. I thought Milwaukee looked okay for the most part, but possession was slanted heavily against them and Troy Grosenick stood out.

Eeli Tolvanen added a necessary insurance marker late in the third while falling to the ice, and it proved helpful as the Monsters added one late.

March 16: Milwaukee Admirals v. Grand Rapids Griffins

Box Score - 3/16
theAHL.com

Late in the first, Phillip Di Giuseppe scored his first as an Admiral off an impressive feed from Yakov Trenin in a dominant first period for Milwaukee. The Griffins, however, added two in the second in a period tilted their own way.

Colin Blackwell tied things up with six minutes to go in the third, but all three Admirals shooters were stopped in the shootout as Milwaukee failed to grab the extra point.

Trending Up

Laurent Dauphin: Rachel and I have both concurred for some time on how impressive Dauphin’s play has been for Milwaukee. He’s such an intelligent player, provides some of the best puck support I’ve seen in some time, and is a legitimate first-line center.

Take a look at this simple play above. This isn’t a power play, but Dauphin recognizes some space along the boards. He opens up for a pass as the defense overloads Tinordi’s side of the ice and waits out two opposing players for a pass/shot lane to open. It’s hard to notice, but his blade position helps convince the defender down low to leave the lane and cover the Admiral in the corner. Garret Ross provides an excellent deflection, and Milwaukee ties things up.

Trending Down

Defensive Depth: Welcome to my annual talk on the future of the Admirals’ defense. As is custom in the American League, Milwaukee has rotated through several options on their bottom pair this season.

I understand they’re trying to push for the playoffs, but, to me, Coach Taylor should be playing those likeliest to be regularly-dressed players next season. So, who do I anticipate those six will be? There are your considerable locks: Alexandre Carrier, Frédéric Allard, and Matt Donovan or Dante Fabbro (likely the former), and then who is next? The only other defender under contract for next year is Filip Pyrochta, so that makes four. I doubt we see Siemens or Savage; Pedrie, Tinordi and Plant are on the fence; and Osburn probably comes back as a depth option. All in all, here’s how I would line things up next season:

Allard–Tinordi; Carrier–Donovan; Pyrochta–Pedrie; extras: Osburn, Paquette, Plant

All this is to say, Filip Pyrochta should be playing more the rest of this season.

Final Thoughts

I’m struggling a bit to provide anything new that I haven’t gotten to above, so I’ll let Rachel take the wheel for the last section:

Vince Pedrie is an excellent third-pair option for the Admirals. The combinations could get shuffled if Dante Fabbro spends time in Milwaukee next season, but Pedrie has provided good insurance on the back end.

Speaking of the back end, I would expect to see a lot of Troy Grosenick as the Admirals make a playoff push. This, of course, brings up the rest versus rust conversation, but McCollum hasn’t shown enough to be trusted with critical points on the line.

Like Dauphin, Colin Blackwell will have a big role on next year’s team. Signing him for two years last summer was a very understated move.

To polish off this conversation on forward depth, Yakov Trenin has become a valuable, pass-first forward (who still maintains an excellent shot) who could be a fourth-line/extra option for Nashville down the line. Additionally, with good linemates, Zach Magwood has good ability to find open ice and make plays; he has good puck-handling skills and could be a valuable pickup despite his dependence on linemates.

All statistics are courtesy of theAHL.com and eliteprospects.com.