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Milwaukee Musings: The Panic of 2015

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The Admirals have been sharp all year. Let’s hope cracks don’t start to show now.

Scott Paulson I Milwaukee Admirals

The Admirals split their last four games with a 2-2-0 record that ended on a three game road swing. Tonight, Milwaukee welcomes the surging Iowa Wild to town before hosting Chicago and Rockford this weekend.

Headlines

  • Last Thursday, Nashville returned forward Yakov Trenin to Milwaukee
  • On Saturday, Milwaukee will retire Darren Haydar’s #20 before they host the IceHogs
  • On Monday, forward Anthony Richard was absent from the Admirals’ lineup for undisclosed reasons

Stats and Standings

theAHL.com

Game Recaps


February 12 vs. Texas Stars

theAHL.com

Troy Grosenick was once again excellent between the pipes, and the Admirals were able to skate away with a victory on just two goals from Alexandre Carrier and Cole Schneider.


February 13 @ Chicago Wolves

theAHL.com

Milwaukee jumped out to an early lead against Chicago despite minimal shots. But, after after two goals including an incredible shot from Eeli Tolvanen, Chicago took advantage of an Admirals’ collapse to notch five goals in quick succession in the third for a dominant win.


February 15 @ Manitoba Moose

theAHL.com

In a contest that the Admirals controlled much of the pace of, Milwaukee fell on a single chance to the Moose in a rather perfunctory game.


February 17 @ Manitoba Moose

theAHL.com

Miikka Salomaki opened the scoring squeezing a backhand through the five hole in the second period, and Trenin and Tolvanen followed suit putting the Admirals up 3-0. Connor Ingram was near-perfect and Rem Pitlick’s empty-net goal sealed the road win.


Players of the Week

Frederic Allard (D): Allard was a ghost on the score sheet in the past four games, but his defensive play has been undeniably important. With Jarred Tinordi in Nashville, Allard has been saddled with Arvin Atwal during this stretch and hasn’t skipped a beat.

He has just four less primary points at even-strength than Carrier despite having 14 less points in total, his 1.15 goals-against rate is best on the entire team, and, over seven games I’ve manually tracked, he boasts a 56.08% Corsi (second to only Matt Donovan) and has allowed just 3.36 high-danger shots per 60 minutes (second to only Steven Santini). [ED]

Miikka Salomaki (F): This might be a controversial choice, but Miikka Salomaki had a pretty good week with three points (one goal, two assists) in his last four games.

He had a rough January, but working with Rem Pitlick and Eeli Tolvanen really seems to be bringing out his strengths: not goal-scoring but winning battles deep in the zone and helping collect possession. He’s recorded a primary point on just 37.04% of the even-strength goals he’s been on ice for this season (27). [RK]

Musings

As we approach the final stretch of the AHL regular season, the Admirals remain an undeniable Calder favorite. Despite relatively sluggish stretches recently, they remain atop the league’s standings and have lost two consecutive games in regulation just twice this season.

This isn’t meant to scare, but I can’t help but look back to the 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals. I think this roster is built much better, but what a fascinating story that team has. The offense was led by young talents in Viktor Arvidsson (55 points), Austin Watson (44), Colton Sissons (42) and Brendan Leipsic (35), the defense was highlighted by Taylor Aronson and Anthony Bitetto, and the nets were patrolled by Marek Mazanec and Magnus Hellberg.

The 2014-15 team started the season with a 29-14-7 record including a nine-game win streak from January 3 to January 23. But, right around this time of year, the Admirals collapsed; in fact, collapse might be too generous of a term.

Milwaukee finished that season, from February 17 on, with a jaw-dropping 4-14-8 record including three separate five-plus game losing streaks. I don’t anticipate that will be the case in 2020.

Musings and Observations, courtesy of Rachel and Eric:

  • We haven’t been shy on this matter, but Connor Ingram is NHL-ready - 19.05 goals-saved above average speaks for itself. But, there’s no need in calling him up to bench him.
  • Yakov Trenin’s ability to hop back into the Milwaukee lineup and continue producing is an excellent sign; he’s now scored a primary point on 15 of the 21 even-strength goals he’s been on-ice for.
  • Arvin Atwal has draw into the lineup in favor of Josh Healey as of let; the difference in their play is negligible.
  • There is some undeniable chemistry between Rem Pitlick and Eeli Tolvanen. Despite what many have seen as a disappointing campaign for the latter, the underlying numbers are all impressive (through six manually-tracked games): 58.9% Corsi, 66.67% controlled exit rate, 72% controlled entry rate and 64.23 Corsi For per 60 minutes.
  • Tolvanen has now tied his goal mark from last season; at this rate, he’ll top his point total, too (35).

All statistics are courtesy of theAHL.com and eliteprospects.com. Charts are courtesy of Bryan Bastin (@projpatsummitt).