A lot of things have happened relating to the Admirals this week. Most of them involve player transactions.
March is a special time of year for the AHL. With junior and college seasons ending, players go to organizations that have their draft rights or sign up as undrafted free agents. The Admirals are no different and now have three players on amateur try-out (ATO) contracts. The appeal for a team with ATOs is that they allow players to get experience without having game experience count towards their entry-level contracts (ELCs). let’s take a look
C Radoslav Illo
From: Bemidji State
Illo is one of the most interesting stories to hit the Admirals in a while. He’s the first player from the Hampton Roads Junior Whalers team to sign a contract with Norfolk. Though he was a 5th round draft pick in 2009 by Anaheim, he is only on an amateur try-out. Despite signing last week, Illo has yet to break into the lineup.
Related: Radoslav Illo feature in the Pilot
RW Matt Bailey
From: University of Alaska-Anchorage
|2010-11||Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage||NCAA||30||10||10||20||23||0||||
|2011-12||Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage||NCAA||34||10||7||17||30||-11||||
|2012-13||Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage||NCAA||36||7||12||19||65||-19||||
|2013-14||Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage||NCAA||38||20||18||38||49||15||||
Next up is Matt Bailey from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Anaheim thinks enough of him as a prospect that they have signed him to a 2-year entry-level deal starting next year. Bailey figures to be a part of Norfolk’s plans as a college UDFA, somewhat like Antoine Laganiere. He managed to put up a point a game in the NCAA this year, though it was a big step up from a 19-point junior year. Bailey is on an ATO as well, and as noted, he has an ELC starting next year.
D Josh Manson
Josh Manson is the last confirmed ATO/ELC situation with the Admirals. Manson was the Ducks’ 6th round draft pick in 2011, and was recently signed to his ELC after completing his hockey career at Northeastern. In three seasons with the Huskies, Manson was never a prolific scorer. He did achieve captaincy this past season, if that’s something you are interested in. With his stats, he was categorized as a “defensive defenseman” and even won an award for it this year. Manson’s presence will be a nice addition on a Norfolk back end that hasn’t performed as well as possible lately.
I have no idea if any of these guys will crack the lineup this weekend. I’d like to see all of them get a shot at least.
While the three listed were confirmed ATOs, there are still some players that may be added to the roster here in the last month.
C William Karlsson
From: HV71– SHL
Karlsson is the most lauded prospect I’ve mentioned so far. He was a 2nd round pick in 2011 by the Ducks (they used another on John Gibson), and has spent all of his career so far in his native Sweden. This year, he put up 37 points for HV71. The SHL playoffs are here, and HV71 was already eliminated by Skellefteå. Funny enough, Skellefteå has former Admiral Stefan Warg on their team. Karlsson, though, is already gone. He’s said as much in his own tweets. Loosely translated (via Google), Karlsson thanked his HV71 fans and said that he would miss them. Oh, how much more official is it? The team itself put out a tribute video and said “Thanks for the entertainment!”. You should watch that video, by the way. It’s incredibly bizarre.
Will Karlsson be here soon? I don’t know. HV71 was eliminated earlier this week and there’s of course possible paperwork that needs to be done to get over to the States. Wait and see with him, definitely.
D Kevin Lind
From: Notre Dame
|2010-11||Univ. of Notre Dame||NCAA||32||1||10||11||24||7||||
|2011-12||Univ. of Notre Dame||NCAA||39||1||2||3||22||-3||||
|2012-13||Univ. of Notre Dame||NCAA||40||2||3||5||33||21||||
|2013-14||Univ. of Notre Dame||NCAA||39||2||7||9||28||20|
Lind is a 2010 6th round pick of the Ducks who is finishing up his senior season at Notre Dame. He has scored 9 points this year, which would definitely put him in the category of “defensive defenseman”. Unlike Josh Manson, he doesn’t have any interesting awards. He’s part of an Irish team that has made the NCAA postseason and will play this weekend. This Saturday, 8th-ranked Notre Dame will play against 9th-ranked St. Cloud State in St Paul. It should be a pro-St. Cloud crowd. If Notre Dame loses, Lind’s season will obviously be over. He could then possibly sign an ATO. If not, I imagine he’ll be heavily considered for the Admirals next year.
D Kenton Helgesen
From: Calgary Hitmen, WHL
Kenton Helgesen’s trajectory in the WHL is one of the more remarkable things I’ve seen. In his draft year, he scored 14 points, with 3 goals and 11 assists. This was enough for Anaheim to at least take a chance on him in the 7th round of 2012 draft. He would improve in his 2nd year, going to 20 points, all assists. Helgesen has had a breakout this year, enough to maybe call him a bit of an offensive defenseman. He put up 51 points this season, with 10 goals and 41 assists. If he can keep that up into his professional career- all relative of course – he’ll be a steal for the Ducks. Having turned 20 last week, he’s eligible for the AHL after his junior season is over. Right now, the Hitmen are knotted up 2-2 against the Kootenay Ice. It’s been an incredible series from the box scores, and apparently their goalies do not show up. A Calgary series loss, which could come as soon as Saturday night, might mean Helgesen to the Ads. Obviously, he’s committed to getting his team to the Memorial Cup right now. Again, another possible blue line choice next year.
The possible ATOs are just that – possibilities. Of the three, the mostly likely to be practicing at Scope the soonest is Karlsson, with HV71’s season coming to a close.
Something that has been circulating recently is a blog post about the possibility of an outdoor hockey game at Harbor Park. In the post, reporter David Hall has an interview with Joe Gregory, a big link between the Tides and Admirals. Simply put, an outdoor game will not be happening anytime soon. If one were to happen, I think that the opponent would have to be a great traveling fanbase like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or Hershey. A possible solution would be a pre-season game at Scope. While it’s probably not going to happen, an exhibition game between two NHL franchises would be great. Anaheim could play Carolina or Washington, and I think people would come to see that. If one of those Virginia Beach arena plans gets approved, that possibility becomes even greater.
charlie sarault sent to utah
If there’s any transaction I was most kind of disappointed with, it was this one. I’ve advocated playing Sarault this year over other players and it’s generally been okay according to GF% and offensive contributions. In a move to get playing time and experience, he’s been sent to ECHL Utah. The Grizzlies are pretty good this season, and are third in a thin Western Conference (a grand total of 8 teams).
numbers for ATOs are Bailey 15, Illo 24, Manson 38…. Here’s a nice video feature on Devante Smith-Pelly from WAVY….Norfolk has a total of 4 home games left, starting with 2 against WBS this weekend…. Providence’s win last night over the Pens put the Admirals in 8th…. Jesse Blacker has a total of three (3) shots on goal this month, while Garnet Exelby has 11, and that’s not good…