Suspension, another trade, etc
Can the Norfolk Admirals make the playoffs? I am going to say no, not this year. Despite some inspired play since the start of the New Year, the Ads have too much ground to make up. Right now, the Ads are in the penultimate position in the conference with 42 points. They are eight points behind Greenville, who possess 50 points with one less game played. If the Ads played this way at the beginning of the season, perhaps they would not be in such a predicament. As it is, they don’t have enough time. I think Eric Veilleux has done enough to keep his job. Ben Boudreau, who is in charge of the defense? I’m not so sure. When healthy, the offense can click. The defense often finds itself taking the team out of games. Perhaps it’s no surprise the Ads traded Mike Ratchuk.
mike ratchuk traded for corey fienhage, wes cunningham added, etc
Norfolk was quite busy on the trade front over the weekend. Semi-local product Radoslav Illo, who did not quite produce, was sent to Idaho for cash considerations. (When you see traded for future considerations? Likely cash.) Next, the Ads brought in Wes Cunningham from the Missouri Mavericks. Cunningham inserted directly into the lineup, though he is yet to score. Norfolk may have traded for him because he played with Bakersfield last year. In a full year with the Condors, Cunningham put up 4+22=26. Another move was made of a similar composition. Mike Ratchuk, ostensibly brought in for power play duty, was traded away to our friends in Utah for Corey Fienhage. The trade is a bit odd, with Ratchuk playing all of 5 games for the Ads, with 3 points. Fienhage played with the Condors last year, getting 5 points in 25 games before being traded to Utah. He’s been decent for the Grizz this year, with 13 points in 47 games. Another transaction worth mentioning: Braden Christoffer to the Ads. Christoffer is an NHL-contract player who put up all of 4 points in 57 games with the Condors. He already has a goal for the Ads.
sam noreau suspended five games
Justice is swift in the ECHL. Defenseman Samuel Noreau has been suspended for five games and fined, according to an ECHL release. Cynically, I have to like this move. Noreau is incredibly undisciplined and doesn’t have an offensive touch like Gabriel Verpaelst to compensate. Noreau is third in the league in PIM (Verpaelst is 5th) and tied for third in majors (Verpaelst is first with 13, but Noreau is close with 11). Both of them tend to take too many penalties. Unsurprisingly, the Ads lead the league in minor PIM with 273 (Colorado and Wheeling are second, with 238). If there’s a big, fixable flaw with the Ads, it’s the PIM situation. Taking a guy like Noreau off the ice for a few games might help.
Noreau isn’t particularly good, either. Drafted by the Rangers in the 5th round of 2011, Noreau has had a checkered pro career. He’s played few games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ top affiliate. While he had impressive numbers in the hyper-inflated Q, they haven’t quite translated to the ECHL. He’s recorded at least 10 points in each of his three ECHL seasons, which is okay. I tend to think the Rangers want more production out of him. The defenseman appears to be drafted on the idea of height as a skill as opposed to an attribute. He’s always good for PIMs, though. He’s perhaps met his comeuppance here. You can’t play on PIMs alone anymore. Verpaelst has morphed into a complete player in his second year–a bright spot on a disappointing Admirals team. I think the defensive unit will be stronger without Noreau. I could be wrong.