Admirals Stat-urday: The "Rookie" Cavalry Has Arrived!

Steven Whitney, the newest edition to the Norfolk Admirals lineup. - Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Much like waiting to see what players the NHL deadline brings to a team, the AHL gets the benefit of the end of Junior and Collegiate seasons to make some last minute additions. The Admirals wasted no time bringing in some much needed reinforcements.

1 - Steven Whitney, signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract on Thursday, scored his first goal on his first shot in his first professional game on Friday night against the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators).

2 - Charlie Sarault, another "almost" rookie signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract last Friday, picked up two assists against the same Binghamton Senators on Friday. It was his first mult-point game as a professional, and it only took him four games to get it--not bad considering just a few weeks ago he was playing junior hockey.

3 - Rookie netminder Frederik Andersen picked up his third shutout win of the season with a 2-0 win over the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) last Saturday. The shutout capped a weekend sweep of the Crunch and elevated the Admirals in to sole posession of ninth place and just two points out of a playoff spot.

4 - Rookie defenseman Sami Vatanen has four points in his last four games including an assist on the game winning goal Friday night against the Senators. Vatanen currently leads all active defensemen in points with 44, is seventh among rookies in points, and is tied for the Admirals lead points lead with Patrick Maroon.

5 - Coming as no surprise considering the Admirals consistently played a period's worth of shorthanded hockey almost every game at the start of the season, Norfolk currently ranks fifth in the AHL on the penalty kill at 85.5%.

6 - Kyle Wilson picked up his fifth and sixth assists in the 2-0 shutout against Syracuse last Saturday. Since coming over from Syracuse in a trade at the beginning of March, Wilson has played in eleven games and has three goals and six assists.

7 - RW Devante Smith-Pelly accumulated seven assists in the month of March, added five goals and ended up with twelve points total, almost doubling his season total through February. Smith-Pelly also contributed five multi-point games in March. It's not coincidence that March was also the best month for the Admirals in the standings.

8 - Patrick Maroon finished up March with eight goals, five assists, and thirteen points, making March his most productive month of the season.

9 - Norfolk sits ninth in the AHL in the Shots For per game category, averaging 30.56 per contest.

10 - The Admirals acquired points in ten games in March going 9-4-1-0, picking up 19 of a possible 28 points and landing solidly in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, only two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

Here Comes The Cavalry! Youth is the theme in this weeks write-up, as the Admirals received a BIG injection from the college and junior ranks over the past week. On March 29 the Admirals signed left wing Kyle Bonis and center Charlie Sarault to Amateur Tryout Contracts. In their four games played thus far, Bonis has two points (1G,1A) and Sarault has three points (3A). Sarault, a power play specialist, has become the quarterback of the Admirals' power play earning the trust of Coach Yawney immediately. Sarault hasn't disappointed, with all three of his assists coming on the power play.

Forward Steven Whitney, signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract on Thursday after his season at Boston College ended, was inserted in to the line-up last night against the Binghamton Senators and made a name for himself in an unforgettable fashion--he scored his first professional goal on his first professional shot in his first professional game. It doesn't get much better than that! In the 2012-13 season alone, the native of Reading, Massachusetts, netted 26 goals for the Eagles, which was good for second in the NCAA. Capping off a senior season that saw him post 45 points in 38 games, Whitney won the Walter Brown Award, which is given annually to the top American-born college hockey player. He was also named a 2012-13 NCAA Division I All-Star.

When asked about setting his line-up with the already full roster, Coach Yawney put it simply. "Effort will be rewarded. I don't usually have to worry about scratching players, they'll usually scratch themselves." It's certainly a good position to be in for a coach--different skill sets, depth, speed, hunger, and fall-back plans in case of injury. Norfolk already had an issue with the AHL "Veteran Rule" (a limit on how many veterans can dress in a game) with an overabundance. If the rookies continue to play well, having to worry about a veteran rotation may not even be an issue any more.

Follow me on Twitter: @VAPuckhead

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