An offensively-starved team gets some help.
When you lose three games in a week and score a combined 4 goals, your offense is probably not great. Add to this the fact that your team gave up 6 and 7 goals in two games and you have a trainwreck. You also get the Norfolk Admirals, a team that has managed to somehow not managed to finish last in estimated possession in the AHL. Despite this, the team has the worst PDO in the league through games of November 22 with 95.2% Such a number is attained through poor shooting (a dreadful 8%) and awful goaltending (.827 save percentage). While the goaltending isn’t going to change anytime soon, some offense has appeared.
Graphic+ stats by Josh Weissbock
With most of their forward group healthy and the acquisition of former Ad Rene Bourque, the Ducks didn’t have enough room on their roster. The three players with the friendliest contracts to move to the minors are William Karlsson, Emerson Etem, and Rickard Rakell. Each of these players is still on their entry-level contract and not subject to waivers. Karlsson is coming off a flu bug while Etem has been scratched a few times this year. Moving both of these players down to the AHL allows for them to get playing time. Both Etem and Karlsson will get considerable top-6 time along with special teams roles. The addition of these two forwards also makes the possible scoring depth go beyond Chris Wagner and David Steckel’s lines. I would not be surprised to see some major line shakeups going forward.
Etem, a first round pick, has not quite lived up to his scoring potential in the NHL. Last year, he put up 11 points in 29 games with the Ducks. In 21 games this year, he has a meager 4 points. Etem had a remarkable season in 2013-14 with the Ads, notching 24+30=54 points in 50 games. Moving back to the AHL should hopefully allow him to find his offensive prowess again, continuing to develop his skills for the NHL.
Karlsson, a second round pick, is still a rookie in North America. After starring at HV71 in Sweden, Karlsson scored 9 points in 9 regular season games for the Ads. During camp, he impressed the coaches enough to battle Rickard Rakell for a roster spot. Thanks to a number crunch, Rakell and Karlsson’s competition went on for quite a while. Despite a decent early start, Karlsson has managed 3 points in 16 games with Anaheim. Karlsson is still getting used to the North American game and will likely be given 1C responsibilities, which hopefully translates into offense.
Etem’s recall is interesting when you remember that he was sent back to Norfolk before a Thanksgiving game against the Checkers. He would finish with 1G+2A=3P and the first star of the game in a 5-2 Admirals win.
nightingale, smith signed to PTOs
Norfolk’s transaction page was mighty busy today. First, the club signed Jared Nightingale to a PTO. Nightingale is a veteran minor league defenseman who played for the Hartford Wolf Pack this season and was with the Crunch two seasons ago. He’s more of a fighter than a defender, and I think there’s a reason for that. During Saturday’s broadcast, Pete Michaud and Dennis McEwen noticed that Nathan McIver was not on the ice during the third period. It is entirely possible that Nightingale is a replacement for McIver.
Second, the Ads signed Austin Smith from ECHL Allen. Smith’s played in the ECHL with the Texas Stars but has mostly plied his trade down the Coast. He’s spent parts of the past two seasons in the Finnish league, with Ässät. Smith has never put up big numbers so I expect him in a 4th line energy role if he plays. By the way, the team released Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who was just awful.
Finally, Max Friberg should be making an appearance in the lineup soon enough. There is no guarantee he will be on Wednesday, but he might be! It would be nice, as he scored 40 points last year.