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Milwaukee Musings: Patience

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With 17 games to go, it’s time to instill good habits.

Milwaukee Admirals v Laval Rocket Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Milwaukee went 1-1-1 this week starting with an overtime loss after an impressive comeback against San Antonio on Wednesday. The Admirals then split a weekend series with the Colorado Eagles winning on Saturday but falling again on Sunday.

Milwaukee heads to Texas where they’ll take on the Stars tonight and again on Saturday before heading back to San Antonio for a matinee contest on Sunday.

Headlines

  • After a brief emergency recall, goalie Connor Ingram was reassigned to Milwaukee from Nashville last Thursday.
  • In turn, goalie Ken Appleby was reassigned to Florida [ECHL] from Milwaukee on Thursday, too.
  • Last night, forward Yakov Trenin was recalled to Nashville in place of an injured Ryan Johansen.
  • Forward Daniel Carr has missed the last three games due to injury; defender Steven Santini has missed the last two games due to injury.

Stats and Standings

theAHL.com
  • Frederic Allard is taking advantage of not being paired with Ben Harpur; it’s clear he’s Milwaukee’s best two-way option.
  • Cole Schneider looks good with or without Daniel Carr at his side; those two will be instrumental in a Calder Cup run.
  • Team defense has struggled lately and a Carrier-Harpur pair gives me little confidence.
  • Despite his physically massive presence, Michael McCarron has been an infrequent needle-mover since coming to Milwaukee in a trade.

[https://public.tableau.com/profile/bryan.bastin#!/vizhome/2019-20OnTheFutureMinorLeagueProspectTracking/AHLECHLSkatersStats]

Game Recaps


February 27 vs. San Antonio Rampage

theAHL.com

Despite a solid effort from goalie Troy Grosenick, Milwaukee surrendered a San Antonio goal in the first two periods. Cole Schneider responded off a deflection to start third-period scoring then the Rampage and Frederick Gaudreau traded goals to give San Antonio a 3-2 lead.

Matt Donovan tied things up with a Josi-style rush to the net before the two teams traded goals in a 90-second span late in the third. Ultimately, the Admirals comeback bid fell short as the Rampage notched the overtime winner over three minutes into the extra period.


February 29 @ Colorado Eagles

theAHL.com

Milwaukee opened the scoring with an impressive forecheck from Zach Magwood and Lukas Craggs and Eeli Tolvanen and Yakov Trenin added two more before the end of the first frame.

Colorado pressured Connor Ingram with 36 shots on net, but an insurance marker from Tommy Novak secured victory in Loveland for the Admirals.


March 1 @ Colorado Eagles

theAHL.com

After knocking off the Eagles with a few key pieces missing, the Admirals fell behind early with two goals - one at even strength and one on the power play - from Ryan Wagner in period one.

Zach Magwood notched his first goal of the season for Milwaukee in period two, but ultimately, Milwaukee’s 49 shots on net were not enough.


Players of the Week

Matt Donovan (D): The defensive corps has been an interesting place the past few games: Steven Santini was out against Colorado and Ben Harpur didn’t take long to bring his sub par play into the lineup. Donovan took advantage of skating with Jeremy Davies this week and notched one goal and two assists in three games.

Donovan is second among Milwaukee defenders in scoring (28) and first in shots on net (111) but just eight of those 28 points are primary ones at even strength. The confusion doesn’t stop there. Of the games I’ve manually tracked, Donovan sports a defense-best 56.78% Corsi but a 46.30% controlled zone exit rate (penultimate to Arvin Atwal) and 5.39 high-danger shots against per 60 minutes (penultimate to Ben Harpur). [ED]

Musings

The Admirals have just about a month left in their regular season schedule and most things relevant to this team are known quantities. Goaltending? Check. Defense? Harpur has replaced Tinordi so...check. Forward depth? There’s been some movement but reinforcements from Florida have been valuable.

As of last night, Milwaukee’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 10; that should happen in the next handful of games. This team is still the best in the AHL despite a bumpy February, and that’s an important reminder. The Admirals went 6-4-2 in the month of February. Relative to the expectations they’ve created for themselves, that’s not great, but compared to the rest of the league, they’re still hovering well above the competition.

The next few weeks are good leeway for nagging injuries to be resolved (i.e. Carr, Santini, etc.), and it’s a good opportunity to tighten things up defensively and expunge any bad habits (like those displayed early on against San Antonio). Milwaukee is the Calder Cup favorite, and there’s no reason not to play like it in March.

Musings and Observations, courtesy of Eric:

  • Speaking of Ben Harpur, his first match up against Colorado was unspectacular: 44.00% Corsi, 75.00% controlled exit rate, 37.50% controlled entries against rate, 6.87 high-danger shots against per 60 minutes and just 37.78 Corsi For per 60 minutes.
  • How many goals will Connor Ingram save above average before the end of the season? He’s at 22.51 GSAA as of last night; the post-lockout NHL record is Tim Thomas with 46 in 2010-11.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about what the Admirals blue line looks like next year. Santini, Tinordi, Davies, Fortunato and Allard are already signed, and you have to imagine at least one, if not two, are in Nashville. Ben Harpur will hopefully not return, and Donovan and Carrier are free agents. Then you consider the likelihood of David Farrance signing an entry-level contract and whether Adam Smith, Josh Healey or Arvin Atwal score another AHL contract.
  • This won’t last for long, but Lukas Craggs’ 14.22 individual Corsi per 60 minutes rate is sixth among all Milwaukee forwards in games I’ve manually tracked.

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