Milwaukee Admirals: Early Look at What to Expect from Predators Affiliate

After unfortunately missing all of the 2020-21 AHL season due to financial restraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Milwaukee Admirals ( affiliate of the Nashville Predators) will return back to action this upcoming season.

The last time we saw the Admirals they were cruising along as one of, if not the best, teams in the AHL with a 41-14-5 record and eight points clear of the two next best teams. They were dominating by all accounts with a plus-70 goal differential.

So what can we expect from the Milwaukee Admirals this coming season? Should they pick up where they left off, or will they possibly take a dip like the Predators are expected to do on the NHL level?

Getting to know the Nashville Predators affiliate

If you’re new to being a fan of the Nashville Predators, or maybe you’ve never closely followed the AHL side of things, then let’s get you the rundown on the Admirals.

The Admirals have always been the sole AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, marking a pretty remarkable relationship. There’s a huge bond between the two clubs as many times we watch our young prospects grow up and develop into regular NHL players.

Karl Taylor is the current head coach of the Admirals and has been behind the bench since 2018. He’s built quite the following and reputation, even from Predators fans who wanted him to get the head coaching opportunity over current head coach John Hynes in January of 2020.

The fans in Milwaukee are some of the most passionate fans you can ask for. The team has enjoyed a lot of success recently, and many times those fans follow their favorite Admirals players as they make the jump to the Predators.

Some of your most memorable and all-time great Predators players started off in Milwaukee, including Pekka Rinne, Roman Josi, Shea Weber and Kimmo Timonen.

How do the Milwaukee Admirals look currently as they return to the ice for 2021-22?

It’s hard to say exactly what the Milwaukee Admirals roster will look like even at this late point in August and the AHL season slated to open on October 16 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Predators just wrapped up their development camp last week, and we got to see many of the future Admirals players in action.

First and foremost, Connor Ingram is expected to return between the pipes and be one of top goaltenders in the AHL. His last appearance for Milwaukee in 2019-20 was dominant as he went 21-5-5 with a staggering 1.92 GAA and a save percentage of .933.

Backing him up I would expect to be Devin Cooley, who saw most of his time in the ECHL last season with another Predators’ affiliate, the Florida Everblades.

Looking at the forwards, it’s all about where Philip Tomasino and Rem Pitlick start off. They’re both players who could very well start off the season on the Predators roster as they further go down the road of a “youth movement”.

However, if Tomasino and Pitlick start off in the AHL, then they’ll be easy choices to lead the team in points, goals and assists. That’s a really impressive one-two punch for the Admirals offensively.

Egor Afanasyev is a player I can’t wait to see make his AHL debut this season. We’ve only got to see him in overseas action since being drafted in 2019, and he’s already gotten some valuable experience in the KHL. Now it’s time to see how that translates to the Admirals.

Zach Solow is a center/winger who just had a very strong development camp that he capped off by scoring two goals in the Future Stars Game. He got limited experience with the Everblades and Chicago Wolves last season and has already signed a contract with Milwaukee.

His college coach had some high praise for him, per the Northeastern Huskies website:

“Zach is one of the better forwards and captains that we have had at Northeastern. From the minute he stepped on campus as a freshman, he conducted himself as a leader and true professional, on and off the ice”. –Fernie Flaman Head Men’s Hockey Coach

The Admirals should be a really fun offensive team to watch who scores plenty of goals.

Defensively speaking, David Farrance has to be one of the leaders in this area. He’s another prospect who is quickly ascending into being a regular NHL player.

However, for at least the start of the season, Farrance may be with the Admirals and be one of their best players.

Matt Donovan has already spent some decent amount of time with the Admirals and is a veteran at age 31. His time in the AHL goes all the way back to the 2010-11 season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

We’ll have to wait and see how the 2021-22 roster fills out as there’s still time before the season starts to see what the organization decides to do. Either way, I’m enthusiastic to see the Milwaukee Admirals back on the ice, and also very excited for their passionate fans.