Posted By: Aaron Sims
I have a hard time thinking that any AHL team will begin the 2010-2011 season with a better corps of defensemen than the Milwaukee Admirals.
Let’s assume that Alex Sulzer will be in Milwaukee (he has cleared waivers). That means the Admirals will have Sulzer, Aaron Johnson, Jon Blum, Grant Lewis, Brett Palin, Scott Ford, Teemu Laakso, Scott Lehman, Roman Josi and Julien Brouillette (pronounced “brew-yet”).
Let’s take a brief look at the resumes of these ten athletes:
Sulzer – two-time Olympian (Germany); led AHL defenseman in points per game (.83) last season; 22 NHL games
Johnson – Memorial Cup champion; past AHL All-Star; 225 NHL games
Blum – former 1st round pick; ranked third among AHL rookie defensemen in points (11g-30a-41pts) and goals, and tied for second in power-play points (6g-14a-20pts) last season
Lewis- former 2nd round pick; member of two Calder Cup champions (Chicago in 2008 and Hershey last season); 1 NHL game
Palin – Memorial Cup champion; AHL All-Star in 2008-09; Abbotsford captain last season
Ford – Admirals alternate captain; 124 games with Milwaukee last two seasons
Laakso – played with Team Finland in two Under-18 world championships and two Under-20 world championships; Ranked third among Admiral blueliners in plus/minus (+12) in 2009-10; 7 NHL games
Lehman – member of 2008 Calder Cup champions (Chicago); also a valuable forward; 1 NHL game
Josi – former 2nd round pick; helped SC Bern win both the Swiss League regular season and playoff titles in 2009-10; Named to the Swiss team for the 2010 Olympic Games, but did not participate due to injury
Brouillette - finished last season 10th in the ECHL among defensemen in scoring with 33 points (13G, 20A) in just 47 games; 21 AHL games with Hartford and three AHL games with Providence
(You can find out more about these players by visiting your local library.)
Admirals head coach Lane Lambert and assistant coach Ian Herbers will have some tough decisions to make each night as to who will and will not dress. That’s a good problem to have.
The Admirals worked on special teams a bit in practice today. One group had Linus Klasen, Nick Spaling and Andreas Thuresson at forward with Lewis and Blum on defense. The other had Chris Mueller and Mark Santorelli rotating on a wing with Blake Geoffrion and Matt Halischuk. The defensemen with that group were Johnson and Laakso.
Former NFL quarterback Steve DeBerg
was known as the master of the play-action pass: faking a handoff to a running back then throwing the ball. DeBerg confounded NFL defenses for many years. The Admirals may have a “DeBerg” like player in Klasen
. His stick handling and creativity, albeit in practice, is as good as I’ve seen in Milwaukee.
By the way, Klasen will wear jersey number 86. Why? That’s the year he was born.
Josi told me he hopes to be playing in two weeks.
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Longtime Admirals season ticket holder and youth hockey coach Bill Stornello is the new head coach of the Brew City Blades
, the top women’s hockey team in the area.