As the Predators look to continue on pace in the first wild card spot in the NHL standings, their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee has been going on a streak of its own. The Milwaukee Admirals are currently sitting at first place in the Central Division standings and are fifth in the entire AHL in points with a 22-10-1 record so far this season.
We have already seen quite a few of the Admirals players in Nashville this season, with Marc Del Gaizo, Spencer Stastney, Yaroslav Askarov, and now Denis Gurianov all seeing some time with the Predators.
So far in January, the Admirals have yet to lose a game. With the help of three separate shutouts from goaltender Yaroslav Askarov just this month, the team has put up several astounding performances, including a 5-0 victory of the Colorado Eagles and a 7-0 victory of the defending Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights.
Against the Silver Knights, both Askarov and backup goaltender Troy Grosenick recorded a shutout to cap off the teams’ first ever meeting with the Vegas based team.
Askarov is on Fire for the Admirals as of Late
Askarov is currently holding a 0.926 save percentage on the season, with an astounding 0.983 save percentage in the month of January, stopping 114 out of 116 shots faced.
Askarov only played one game for the Predators this year when he was called up to backup Juuse Saros when Kevin Lankinen was out with an illness. After some poor performances from Juuse Saros, several fans were wondering if it was possible that General Manager Barry Trotz would move Saros before the trade deadline, but after a strong win for Saros against the Islanders on Saturday night and two straight wins against a strong Dallas team for backup Kevin Lankinen, it seems that the goaltending in Nashville is set as of now.
I have no doubt that Barry Trotz knows the value of his three goaltenders, and will use Askarov properly when it comes to trades, whether it’s moving him up to Nashville or trading him for a big return to a rather desperate team.
Not only are the goaltenders shining in Milwaukee, but so is the rest of the team. Defenseman Jordan Gross had two goals in two games this weekend, forward Mark Jankowski had two goals and an assist in one game, including a shorthanded goal, and Egor Afanasyev had two goals and an assist in one game.
After this weekend, Jankowski leads the team in points with 35, followed by Gurianov and Afanasyev with 30 and 28 respectively. Afanasyev also leads the team in goals with 16 on the season, followed by Gurianov and Fedor Svechkov.
Although the Nashville Predators roster is relatively healthy at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if head coach Andrew Brunette and Barry Trotz decided to move some players from Milwaukee up to Nashville at some point soon. With all of the offensive power the team has, it would be unsurprising to see Brunette try to get an offensive spark from his team by bringing up any number of the Admirals.
Overall, the Milwaukee Admirals have proven to their own coaching staff and all of the management of the Predators organization that they are capable of holding their own and making a very strong push in the standings and the playoffs this season.