Wednesday, September 8, 2010

2010/11 Ads Preview: Defense

As the start of the AHL season is less than a month away, we will take a look at the potential players for the Milwaukee Admirals. In this installment we will take a look at the defensemen, while covering the forwards and goaltenders in the following weeks.

With the top 4 spots locked up in Nashville by Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Francis Boullion and Kevin Klein, it leaves 2 spots open.

Ryan Parent signed a one-way contract, and can be assumed will be in Nashville, while Cody Franson is still unsigned but similarly will be assumed to return in Nashville once re-signed.

This leaves 7 defensemen with NHL contracts in addition to the 2 Scotts: Lehman and Ford, who are both under AHL contracts.

Jonathan Blum- The only Admiral to play in every game last season will probably return and will be looking to improve his Ads blueline high of 11 goals while replacing Robert Dietrich as the puck handling defenseman on the Power Play.

Scott Ford- Played on the bottom pairing for the Ads last season and may rely on his leadership in the locker room to retain his roster spot, as he was largely considered the next team Captain before the signing of Brett Palin.

Aaron Johnson- A solid veteran who will probably see time with Nashville as a 6th/7th defenseman, playing a handful of games for Milwaukee, much like he has in other organizations in recent years.

Roman Josi- Nashville's 2008 2nd Rd pick will be making his North American debut this season and will see time in Milwaukee to acclimate to the change in playing style compared to the Swiss-A league.

Teemu Laakso- Battled through shoulder problems the past two years, needs to show that he can last a full AHL season.

Scott Lehman- Signed to an AHL contract and could end up in ECHL's Cincinnati, will probably see time as Lane Lambert's 7th defenseman also splitting time on the 4th line as Lambert has used other defesemen in previous years.

Grant Lewis- Missed time the past couple seasons with injury, was leading defenseman in plus/minus for the Chicago Wolves in the 2008/09 season.

Brett Palin- Captain last year for AHL Abbotsford Heat and former AHL All-Star played only 21 games last season, but will look to get back to his form from 2008/09.

Alex Sulzer- The conundrum with Sulzer is his One-Way contract, in which he will earn the same pay whether he is in Milwaukee or Nashville. In my opinion, I would not be surprised to see him traded due to his one-way contract, despite his solid AHL play.

All players have NHL and/or AHL experience (with the exception of Josi) will offer the Ads a solid defense for the upcoming season regardless of who makes the team.

Next week we will take a look at the potential forwards for the Ads.

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