It’s been an interesting offseason so far. Nashville re-signed the player they needed to in Steve Sullivan. Nashville went 22-14-5 with Sullivan in the lineup in 2008-09 vs. 18-20-3 without him. If healthy, and there’s no reason to believe he’s not, he’ll be Nashville’s top scorer (in my opinion). Joel Ward was a good player to re-up as well. Ward had a career year for the Preds. We all expected him to be in Milwaukee and he proved everyone wrong.
It was a little disappointing, however, that Greg Zanon and Vern Fiddler moved on. Those two players were actually the first two players I ever interviewed for the intermissions of a radio broadcast. I spoke to both in Omaha after we landed to play the Ak-sar-ben Knights in Nov. 2005. Zanon is reunited with former Ads assistant Todd Richards in Minnesota while Fiddler went to Phoenix.
Admirals head coach Lane Lambert told me that Cody Franson is a serious candidate to be in Nashville. Another guy that the team is high on is Teemu Laakso. Coach Lambert loves his game and Laakso was certainly a guy the Admirals missed in the playoffs this past spring. There could be 12-15 players back in Milwaukee that had some time in an Admirals uniform, a remarkably high number for a minor league hockey team.
Of players that are available, here is my very long wish list (I do not think any of these players will be signed, nor am I tampering with negotiations, this is just a list of players that I’ve liked over the years): Joe Motzko, Matt Ellis, Colton Fretter, Adam Cracknell, Carsen Germyn, Ryan Bayda, Matt Murley, Tim Hambly, Aaron MacKenzie, John Vigilante, Drew Larman, Krys Kolanos, Peter Olvecky, Jesse Schultz, Jed Ortmeyer, Nolan Yonkman, Jon DiSalvatore, Barry Tallackson, Mike Iggulden, Jeff Hoggan, Wyatt Smith, David Gove, Connor James, Bill Thomas, Steve Regier, Trent Whitfield, Brandon Segal, Andre Deveaux, Mark Cullen, Michel Ouellet, Alexandre Giroux, Andrew Joudrey and Graham Mink. Any combination of, say, five or six would do.
Drew MacIntyre is now property of the Atlanta Thrashers after signing July 4. Last winter, while in Toronto, Drew and I had lunch. I asked him what the future holds for him and he wasn’t sure. He did say that he would only sign one year deals in hopes of parlaying a great season into a one-way deal with a NHL team. Drew got the two-year deal and one-way money for the second year with Atlanta. There are rumblings that he will have a good shot to be with the Thrashers, who seem to be loaded in goal. Atlanta currently has Kari Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg, Ondrej Pavelec, Drew and Peter Mannino on its roster.
It seems Atlanta’s really helping the band in Chicago (the Wolves) get back together. Jason Krog should be back. Plus, a trade with Toronto sent the Marlies’ top scorer, Tim Stapleton, to the Thrashers. Joel Kwiatkowski should be back, too.
Darren Haydar signed with Colorado and Chris Durno re-signed with the Avalanche.
It was great to see so many fans at Summerfest. We have a lot of fun putting on the daily show and talking about what to expect in the upcoming season. Remember to stop and see us at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Until next time…Go Admirals!!!