Hockey season is about to land. Next Saturday, your hometown hero Norfolk Admirals will take to Scope ice for their first pre-season game against Western partners-in-crime, the Charlotte Checkers. We’ve still got a long road ahead before that. If we want to see some hockey, we should have some players.
Anaheim’s first cut day happened on Thursday, and nothing was too surprising. Norfolk received Max Friberg, Kevin Gagne, Antoine Laganiere, Andrew O’Brien, Charlie Sarault, Zack Stortini, Stefan Warg, Steven Whitney, Maxime Sauve, and Teigan Zahn among “did that guy play for us…he did, right..he didn’t” moves. Most of those players are rookies except for Stortini and Sauve. John Mitchell and Chris Wagner are back in the “regular contributor” category. I am not surprised by most of these, though Zahn and Sauve were added on PTOs this month.
Who’s still in Anaheim? Goalies. Freddie, Bobkov, and John Gibson continue to battle it out in camp, as there’s a big decision to make. Who goes to the Utah Grizzlies and who gets to be the back-up in Norfolk between Gibson and Bobkov? Both are young and need development, though Gibson has a higher ceiling.
Forwards: John Kurtz, Emerson Etem, Patrick Maroon, and Devante-Smith Pelly remain with the Ducks. DSP and Maroon seemed to have some good chemistry in pre-season games against the Kings and Avs, connecting for a goal in Colorado. Still, there’s not a lot of room with the Ducks and DSP is still on his ELC. Speaking of ELCs, John Kurtz is probably getting an extended look from the guys in Anaheim after signing his first NHL contract. He’ll be back. Emerson is just in a weird spot. He was great for the Ducks last year, but he’s on his ELC and there are, of course, space problems in the big league roster. Limbo for Etem.
Defense: Anaheim’s defense keeps falling. Francois Beauchemin is still recovering from ACL surgery and Sheldon Souray is still under thanks to a torn ligament in the wrist. Things can’t get worse oh sh.. Luca Sbisa is out a couple weeks. Sbisa should be back for the 2nd week of the season, but the Ducks need a fill-in. Among their choices are AHL stalwart Nolan Yonkman (who scored a goal against Phoenix in pre-season after scoring zero last year), Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Cumiskey, and Mat Clark. Hampus didn’t get a true full season last year due to a couple of concussions. If this weren’t a dire situation, I’d say yes, Hampus to Norfolk. He has a chance to excel here, and may crack the opening night line-up in Denver.
Speaking of Yonkman….
Who’s the Captain?
Nolan Yonkman was the captain last year for the San Antonio Rampage. Good for him, I say. We’re currently captain-less here in Norfolk. Here are my candidates:
Pat Maroon- If he’s here. No-brainer, wore an A last year and was the team’s most consistent scorer. Would also throw down if necessary.
John Kurtz- Not the most obvious choice, I know. Kurtz wore an A at times last season, just signed his first ELC after playing in the minors for Anaheim for a few years, throws down, kills penalties, does whatever. Great off-the-ice guy.
Mat Clark-Defenseman that missed only one game last year, solid d-game that lets the hits do the talking.
John Mitchell- By virtue of just hanging around and being there, you know? Scores goals sometimes.
What say you? Get into it on twitter @BeneathScope.
ESPN/Hockey Prospectus guru Corey Pronman releases his top Anaheim prospects today. Who are they? Prospects must be 1)under 26 2) have less than 50 career NHL games or less than 25 games the prior season.
I think these players will make it because I am a great guesser.
John Gibson G
Freddie Andersen G
Rickard Rakell C
Kevin Roy F
Shea Theodore D
Hampus Lindholm D
Sami Vatanen D
Max Friberg F
Stefan Noesson F
Nick Sorensen F
Nick Kerdiles F
William Karlsson F
Antonine Laganiere F
Joseph Cramarossa F
Kenton Helgesen D
Those are mostly guesses. Probably bad ones!