After a two-week hiatus, Rachel and I are back! Milwaukee was busy over the turn of the decade with five games over the past two weeks, finishing 2-2-1 against the Grand Rapids Griffins, Chicago Wolves, and Cleveland Monsters.
In the midst of it all, the Admirals experienced their largest roster shuffle this season, with four skaters recalled to Nashville and three brought in from the ECHL.
Milwaukee hosts Grand Rapids tonight and the Rockford IceHogs for a back-to-back weekend series on Friday and Saturday.
- On December 27, Nashville recalled defender Jarred Tinordi and forward Colin Blackwell from Milwaukee.
- On December 28, Nashville recalled forward Yakov Trenin from Milwaukee.
- On December 28, Milwaukee recalled defender Arvin Atwal from Florida [ECHL].
- On January 3, Milwaukee recalled defenders Adam Smith and Scott Savage from Florida [ECHL] and Maine [ECHL], respectively.
- On January 3, Nashville recalled defender Alexandre Carrier from Milwaukee.
Stats and Standings
Not much has changed concerning who is leading this team offensively over the 2019-20 campaign, but with Blackwell and Trenin in Nashville, the next wave of forwards—including Schneider, Gaudreau, Novak and Carr—is starting to take hold of offensive output.
Eeli Tolvanen and Josh Wilkins are continuing to fall behind while the likes of Rem Pitlick, Anthony Richard and Laurent Dauphin are continuing to pick up their scoring pace. (Dauphin was traded Tuesday afternoon.)
On defense, the addition of Scott Savage, Arvin Atwal, Adam Smith and Josh Healey to the lineup hasn’t helped, but it’s possible Allard and Davies can help right the ship defensively while Nashville requires reinforcements.
December 27 @ Grand Rapids Griffins
Milwaukee returned from the holiday break with a back-and-forth match in Michigan, going toe-to-toe with the Griffins on scoring chances much of the night.
Donovan, Olivier and Carr tallied to help shut out the Griffins, but the main story was Troy Grosenick taking a hit with minutes to play in the second. Connor Ingram took over in relief.
December 28 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins
Milwaukee’s second game of a three-game weekend was their only home match. Rem Pitlick and Matthew Ford traded goals through the first two periods before Turner Elson deflected home the game-winner with minutes to go after an exhausting defensive shift by the Admirals.
December 29 @ Chicago Wolves
Chicago controlled the pace of this one for most of the first two periods, cashing in on a beauitful shot from Valentin Zykov. Milwaukee responded with two goals from Cole Schneider and Frederick Gaudreau before Brandon Pirri scored to tie things before the end of regulation.
Overtime provided no winner, and Gaudreau was the only one of eight shooters to score in a shootout, guaranteeing victory for the Admirals.
January 3 @ Cleveland Monsters
The Admirals debuted their beautiful green heritage jerseys to open a weekend set with the Monsters, who were sporting even better Cleveland Lumberjacks threads. The two teams traded goals through regulation with Matt Donovan and Anthony Richard scoring for Milwaukee.
In overtime, Stefan Matteau was able to squeeze a shot through Connor Ingram to seal a victory for Cleveland.
January 4 @ Cleveland Monsters
In their second match-up of sweet throwback jerseys, Daniel Carr opened the scoring for Milwaukee against Cleveland with a nice individual drive to the net. Cleveland responded well with two quick goals to start the second before Anthony Richard and Frederick Gaudreau responded with two different special-teams efforts.
Cleveland tied things up in the third period, but Rem Pitlick regained the lead for the Admirals. Ultimately, Milwaukee surrendered two even-strength markers in the final five minutes to drop their second game in a row to the Monsters.
Players of the Week
Rem Pitlick (F): As Eric notes above, the former Golden Gopher has begun to really make an impact for the Admirals. His play away from the puck has developed significantly over the season, and he looks quite comfortable on the ice.
In addition to being an ace on the power play (team-leading seven goals), he’s starting to find the back of the net at 5-on-5 regularly. Nine of Pitlick’s 21 points are primary ones at even strength, and he’s contributed directly to nearly half of his on-ice even-strength goals (47.37% iPP). [RK]
Frederick Gaudreau (F): Gaudreau is catching up to speed in Milwaukee with two goals and three assists in the last five games. Although just four of his 10 points have been primary ones at even strength, Gaudreau is a positive asset at 5-on-5, on the power play and short-handed.
His ice time will only grow with Blackwell and Trenin in Nashville, and Karl Taylor can use him with versatility: on the wing and in the top-three or middle-six. [ED]
The AHL announced their All-Star Classic rosters for the 2020 rendition this past week. Similar to the NHL, each division ices a team that competes in a 3-on-3 tournament, hosted this year by the Ontario Reign.
Forward Yakov Trenin, goalie Connor Ingram and defender Alexandre Carrier were selected represent the Admirals. Should Carrier and Trenin be unable to play due to obligations in Nashville, the league will name two replacements (it’s likely at least one would come from Milwaukee). Head Coach Karl Taylor will be behind the bench for the Central Division squad.
Musings and Observations, courtesy of Rachel and Eric:
- Brandon Fortunato continues his impressive play in Florida despite increased ice time due to the absences of Smith and Atwal: 12 points in 22 games and he has a primary point on 35.29% of the even-strength goals he’s been on the ice for.
- Cole Schneider and Daniel Carr don’t get enough credit as Milwaukee’s offensive engine; they sit 22nd and 37th in league scoring, respectively.
- I pondered earlier this season whether Nashville could move Salomaki or Gaudreau. I think there was a sense the latter could go before he was injured, but both are free agents this summer and Nashville has the AHL developmental player rule to be mindful of.
- Salomaki has yet to carve out a dominant role with Milwaukee. He has a very positive relative goals-for rate (14.01%) but seems more like a floater with just eight points in 22 games. He provides a primary point to just 31.25% of his on-ice even-strength goals—the worst rate among all forwards.
- Nashville flipped Laurent Dauphin for Michael McCarron late last night. I (Eric) broke down that acquisition earlier today on this site.