Early Season Full Report for the Milwaukee Admirals

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 22: Milwaukee Admirals left wing Anthony Richard (90) is defended by Cleveland Monsters defenceman Michael Prapavessis (24) during the first period of the American Hockey League game between the Milwaukee Admirals and Cleveland Monsters on February 22, 2019, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 22: Milwaukee Admirals left wing Anthony Richard (90) is defended by Cleveland Monsters defenceman Michael Prapavessis (24) during the first period of the American Hockey League game between the Milwaukee Admirals and Cleveland Monsters on February 22, 2019, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate to the Nashville Predators,are now in full swing to the new season. Their roster is stacked with promising talent.

Although the Milwaukee Admirals have only played nine games so far, there’s been an abundance of news and excitement coming from the farm team.  We’ll cover some of the statistics, highlights, the good and the bad in our first report from Milwaukee.

Currently the Milwaukee Admirals have a 4-2-3 record and are tied in a four-way battle for second place in the Central Division, and just one point out of first.  In divisional games, the Admirals are sitting with a 3-2-1 record.  What that statistic doesn’t show is that four of those six games were on the road.

What trends are we seeing?

One concerning trend that the Admirals continue to have is their inability to win in overtime.  Last year the Admirals set an AHL record for losing the most OT games in history with 14.  In one weekend, the Admirals gained three overtime losses in only six games played.  If the Admirals are looking to succeed, this must be addressed by head coach Karl Taylor sooner than later.

As a team, the Admirals have played with a more mature and composed feel when compared to previous years as far as positioning and style of play goes.  When attacking, plays are set up and executed to their designed plan and when on the rush their speed and positioning are giving them the best chances to score.

On the power play, the Admirals are currently converting their chances at a 16% conversion rate and are killing penalties at an 84.2% rate.  These numbers are below league average and will need to get better moving forward if the Admirals want to stay ahead of other division rivals.

In the first three games, the offense was surprisingly being generated from Yakov Trenin and rookie Josh Wilkins.  Josh scored his first AHL goal against the Laval Rockets in the Admirals home-opener.  After those three games, players started to get cycled to Nashville and the offense started to struggle.

The next five games, the team would average about two goals a game.  Thankfully, the slump was broken as the Admirals would go on to score six goals against the Texas Stars.  It was a full team effort that the boys needed to right the ship.

How the offense and defense looks

The lack of offense could be pointed to changing the chemistry between lines and players that are not stepping up that need to be.  The Admirals cannot afford to continue to have these offensive woes in upcoming games against division rivals.

Some accountability should be put on the shoulders from the players that should be scoring or at least generating scoring.  As the October 29th game against the Texas Stars proved, this team can dominate when all guys do their jobs.  Hopefully we can expect a surge of offense and domination from this team in the upcoming games.

When on defense, players are where they need to be and are making lanes for the goalie to get a good look to make an easy save.  Only on certain occasions have players been beat and unfortunately it was during a time that cost them the game.

This happened multiple times during the weekend series against the Colorado Eagles.  Matt Donovan was caught flat footed and Logan O’Connor easily got around him to force Connor Ingram to make a great first save, but not the rebound. Right now the defense is not a concern and has been a reason why the Admirals are able to win.

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It was important to note that fight because one thing this team has shown through the first nine games is their grittiness.  Since the exit of players like Cody Bass, Mike Liambas, and Anthony Bitetto years ago, the Admirals have struggled on the fighting and heavy hitting side of hockey.  With players like Tinordi, Olivier and Healy the team has some backbone again that is portrayed each game they play that helps with energizing the crowd and team.

In general, the team looks like they are a force to be reckoned with early on.  Before we get to the positive aspects of the team, we’ll cover some areas the team needs work.  Two main concerns the team has depicted is penalty troubles and players not playing to their initial hype.

Granted most of the team’s penalty minutes came from fights and some ejections from the Colorado Eagles game, the Admirals are the second most penalized team with 156 minutes accrued.  Jared Tinordi is currently in the lead with 36 minutes. Josh Healy and Mathieu Olivier have 28 and 22 minutes respectively.

Leaders without fighting penalties, Jeremy Davies and Matt Donovan have 10 minutes each and are averaging a penalty every other game.  The team needs to start cleaning these mistakes up.  It starts with the defense staying alert and not allowing themselves to get beat to force their hand to take lazy penalties.

Players who are standing out

There are certain players that the fan based expected to be good right out of the gates this year.  While it is unfair to put certain players on that pedestal immediately, early success in training camp gets fans to overestimate players.

Eeli Tolvanen is one of those players that had a great training camp, but hasn’t produced at the level people were hoping right away.  He currently has one goal and three points through nine games.  We should remember, he is only 20-years-old. But fans are rightfully ready for him to take the next step in his development.

A slow start is also plaguing Anthony Richard, who has three points through eight games played.  As these players get into their groove, they should start posting numbers the fans anticipate.

While we wait for the offense to start lighting the lamp, we slide the other end of the ice and cover the positive portion of this report.  The goaltending has been nothing but spectacular for both Troy Grosenick and Connor Ingram.

Through four starts, Grosenick has a goal against average of 1.40 and a save percentage of .955%.  He has won two games and lost two games in overtime.  Ingram has started in 5 games and has posted a 2.62 goal against with a .923 save percentage.  His record is currently two wins, two loses and an overtime loss.

Grosenick was one of the top goalies last year in save percentage and is continuing his domination this year.  Ingram’s first couple starts looked a bit shaky as certain deflections and puck cover attempts didn’t go as fully planned.  Those mistakes started to happen less and less with each start he’s had.  The tandem is working well together; we should expect a 50/50 rotation between the two unless someone gets cold.  At this point, they’re the difference-makers in these close games.

Positive light needs to be shown on the players that are stepping up for the team and for the ones that are making their name heard.  Trenin was a huge surprise from the get-go scoring four goals and an assist in four games.  His early success got him a trip to Nashville to play in his first NHL game where he played well enough to be talked about.

Laurent Dauphin got his number called four games into the season and hasn’t disappointed.  With three goals and six points in total, he has been scoring a point per game and is currently the points leader for the Admirals.

Honorable mentions include Mathieu Olivier for scoring five points and for standing up for his teammates in multiple fights.  Rookie Josh Wilkins for posting five points, dishing out four assists in his first professional season.  Finally, Jared Tinordi for being the captain the Admirals need to start rallies and for another unforgettable memory at the UM Panther Arena.

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As a farm team, its common knowledge that the team will change many times through the year through injuries and call ups.  Multiple players have been called up and sent down in a random rotation already, however the team still has a powerful nucleus that is lethal to all that oppose them.  We hope to cover more success and exciting stories that their year brings to us all.