Pat Maroon vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers Jan 26, 2013 - John Wright
The Admirals have strung together a pair of wins this week for only the second time this season. Can they make it three in a row?
1 - Norfolk Forward Rod Pelley scored his first goal of the season on last Sunday in a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes)
2 - The Admirals have won two games in a row, a feat they've only accomplished twice before this season. The last time Norfolk put together more than two consecutive wins was their four game winning streak to start the season.
3 - Norfolk power forward and recently converted center Patrick Maroon has three points in two games (1G, 2A). Also, with an assist on Maroon's game tying goal last night against Charlotte, forward Dan Sexton has points in three straight games (1G, 2A).
4 - Since joining the Admirals from the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets on Dec. 31, Josh Brittain has four goals and five points in 11 games, including the game winner last night against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders).
5 - Despite having one of the better Penalty Kills in the AHL (ranked 13 at 84.2%), Norfolk allowed three goals on five Charlotte power plays last Sunday.
6 - Admirals' goaltender Frederik Andersen is ranked sixth in the AHL in save percentage (.927) and leads all AHL rookie goaltenders.
7 - Since joining Norfolk, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, or "PL3", has managed to contribute only seven penalty minutes and three shots on goal.
8 - Eight different Admirals players netted points in their 3-1 victory on Wednesday night (3G, 5A) over the Western Conference leading Charlotte Checkers. The Admirals killed all seven Checkers power plays and Wednesday's win is considered by many to be their best of the season.
9 - Nine different Norfolk players tallied points in the past two games (5G, 8A, 13PTS)
10 - While both Anderson and Igor Bobkov have ten regulation losses, their combined efforts have been outstanding thus far--a goals against average of 1.00, and a .971 save percentage. Bobkov played in his first game in 18 days on Wednesday vs Charlotte, and Andersen played in his first game in 13 days last night against Bridgeport.
Rosters Settling Down
Aside from a call-ups due to injury, the Norfolk Admirals' roster should remain pretty steady from here on out. Luca Caputi was recalled from the ECHL and joined the Admirals earlier in the week, scoring a goal in his first game back. Defenseman Sami Vatanen returned from Anaheim after a rehab stint. I guess I should rephrase--the roster should be steady at least until the NHL Trade Deadline, but to be honest I'm not sure the Ducks would be willing to part with any of the few assets they have in Norfolk. This is the most blue-collar team Admirals fans have seen in awhile and I can't see too much movement happening.
Which Goalie Plays Tonight?
Jeff Deslauriers, Andersen, and Bobkov are all assigned to Norfolk. Most teams don't like to rely on a set two goalie rotation, preferring to establish a number one and relegate the second goalie to the back-up role. At the professional level, no team really ever wants to have a three goalie problem, as splitting the starts between all three would do more harm than good.
It was understood when Viktor Fasth was assigned last week it was for conditioning, and he played pretty damn well in three games. Deslauriers, who has one year remaining on his NHL contract and lost the back-up role to Fasth, has been assigned to Norfolk on what has also been termed a "conditioning" stint. It was fairly obvious last Sunday, after he let in six goals, that he definitely needs some conditioning. It looked like he hadn't put on the pads since the end of last season!
After sitting for 18 days, Bobkov came in Wednesday against the same Charlotte team that lit up Deslauriers and made 30 saves on 31 shots. Andersen, who also hadn't seen game action in weeks, made 37 saves on 38 shots. While both goalies are sub-500, they demonstrated the "right" way to play after some extended time off...
Deslauriers needs to go in my opinion. The Ducks have made investments in "Freddie" and "Bobber", who are both young and can definitely see the NHL in their future. Depriving either of them of playing time, be it the starter or back-up role, would be detrimental to their development. Sending one of them down to the ECHL is also not an option as whomever is demoted would be put in to the same position in Ft. Wayne, since the Komets are also already set between the pipes.
Anaheim already made it clear in signing Fasth that they weren't confident in Deslauriers. If he's not in their plans for the NHL, the Ducks need to cut bait sooner rather than later. If not, they could end up needing to sign another goalie in the offseason after the three goalie rotation slows the progress of Andersen and Bobkov. To be honest though, after watching the Ducks' management in action, they would probably try to solve the goaltending problem by signing another enforcer.
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