Full Strength: How to Watch the Admirals in the Calder Cup Playoffs

Although the Predators' season is completed, the Milwaukee Admirals are on the hunt in the Calder Cup playoffs. Rachel has your guide to watching the Ads!

The Predators PR team put out a great article on Tuesday evening aobut the Milwaukee Admirals and their Calder Cup playoff push. You can check it out here.

Below, I'll go over which Admirals to keep your eye on as they prepare to face the Manitoba Moose. The Moose are the Jets' AHL affiliate, and the Ads and the Moose square off a bunch in the regular season. Look for a series preview in a few days.

Before I get started, I'd like to quickly plug the AHL's streaming app, AHLTV. It's available on any browser, and you can spend just $30 to watch every single playoff game from all 16 postseason clubs. This is the best way to watch the Admirals during the regular season, too. You can return to previously watched games, create clips, and even use the app to stream live games. I wish the NHL had a similar streaming package available. (I'm not getting any money to plug AHL TV.)

Keifer Sherwood - It's no secret that Sherwood has made a name for himself in Nashville. The veteran winger just signed a new deal for next season, and I was very impressed with how Sherwood handled himsef after being sent down in the fall. Sherwood was a force for Nashville early in the season, and after returning to Milwaukee, scored 22 goals and added 16 assists over 42 games. Sherwood returned to Nashville in the "stretch run" but has returned to Wisconsin for the Calder Cup run.

Cole Schneider - Schneider, the captain, posted 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists) over 70 games. He makes his presence known with physical play, and his leadership is apparent. The Admirals do not get too high or too low with Schneider wearing the "C."

John Leonard - Leonard was acquired over the summer in a trade, and he comes in second on the Ads with 44 points over 67 games. He found himself in a utility player role, and he even earned a recall to Nashville earlier in the spring. Leonard found himself fairly hot in April, potting goals and assists all over the place in the absence of Luke Evangelista, Phil Tomasino, and Keifer Sherwood. Leonard may move down the lineup as the Admirals prepare for the series against the Moose. Check out this goal from Leonard's recall a few weeks back:

Mark Jankowski - A thrifty and smart pickup in the offseason, Jankowski spent more time travelling between Nashville and Milwaukee. He only has about 10 games with the Admirals, but he has an incredible amount of playoff experience in both the NHL and AHL. His veteran presence will be steadying for this youngish team.

Joakim Kemell - Kemell will sit out in Game 1 for a pretty boarding call and game misconduct in Milwaukee's final regular-season game. It's hard to ignore Kemell's nearly immediate impact with the Ads - 14 games played with 13 points? That's incredible for a rookie picked at #17 just last summer. For guys like Kemell, getting Calder Cup playoff experience is invaluable.

Kevin Gravel - I didn't know that Gravel played in the 2015 Calder Cup championship series until I read the piece that the Predators put out, but once again, that's another steadying veteran presence for the young Admirals. In 49 games with the Admirals, he potted 2 goals and 11 assists. He's not going to show up on the scoresheet every night, but I am more than confident in Gravel's ability to steady the defensive corps. Gravel has some size, too, and that'll help against physical teams like Manitoba and Rockford.

Luke Evangelista - Evangelista really needs no additional discussion. He impressed with the Predators after making his rookie debut, and now that he's back with the Admirals, that experience and motivation will surely contribute to how he views this Calder Cup run. His interview below is very insightful - he viewed things with Nashville as "one game at a time." You can't help think he's been around a long time, but Evangelista is only 20. He's got 15 points (7 goals, 8 assists) to his name in the NHL, and his AHL stats are eye-popping - he wasn't with the team for a good bit of time but still tops the points charts. Look for Evangelista to lead scoring for the Admirals alongside Tomasino, Kemell, and Sherwood.

Goaltending - Like Evangelista, Yaroslav Askarov also needs no additional conversation. Our chaotic Russian has played very well in his first season in North America. He even has 4 assists to his name. Askarov leads all AHL rookie goalies in many categories:

Milwaukee probably boasts some of the best goaltending in the AHL. With Devin Cooley able to play (and win) in relief, the Admirals are locked down in net. Cooley has AHL playoff experience, and Askarov, as mentioned above, will likely get the start against the Moose. Askarov against Manitoba's Arvid Holm will be a goaltending matchup to keep your eye on.

Remember, Preds fans - the road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee. It's been hard to be excited about the Predators until they began to recall all the young kids. We've seen what Sherwood, Evangelista, Spencer Stastney, and Tomasino can do against men. These upcoming Calder Cup playoff games will only serve to further develop them as they grow into NHL players.

Required Reading:

Who's Who - Nashville Predators
Scott Nichols's Trade Deadline Masterclass is Paying Off - Penalty Box Radio
Bring on the Moose! - Milwaukee Admirals