As Shawn wrote during preseason, the Admirals have a few new faces this year. It’s always good to have a little bit of background on the new kids, so here we go.
Charlie Sarault isn’t the biggest guy out on the ice, in fact he’s considerably smaller than most of the players you might see. Standing at only 5-11 and weighing a mere 175lbs, you may not notice him at all.He’s a centerman who was drafted by the OHL in 2008, yet failed to make the NHL entry draft due to concerns regarding his size. While things may have started off rocky for him, he has steadily made improvements to his game.
He has worked his way up from being a checking center on the third or fourth line, to a player seen has having the potential of being a top six forward at the NHL level. Size seems not to be a factor at this point, but he is really starting to show his hockey IQ. He has grown to learn where to place the puck in order to lead his teammates to strong finishes and winning games. He has also proven that he can be valuable on both ends of the ice, which has really formed him into a well rounded player.
At 21 years old and already showing his growth, things seem bright in Sarault’s future. He has steadily increased his goal scoring production each year, though his assists seem to come from another planet. He finished the 2012-13 season with 92 regular season assists in 79 games between the Admirals and OHL’s Sarnia Sting. If he continues at that rate, We could see a huge offensive push in Norfolk this season.
As pointed out by Shawn, 32 year old defenseman, Nolan Yonkman is no spring chicken; nor is he a standout point scorer. What Yonkman contributes is far different. He comes with experience. Since being drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1999, Yonkman has been rather nomadic. He’s played in 3 leagues (WHL, AHL, NHL) for 11 different teams, and in both NHL conferences. He has served as a captain at times and an enforcer at other times.
He’s not afraid to get physical, at 6-6 and nearly 250lbs who you drop gloves with him? He has 140 penalty minutes in 74 NHL games at the conclusion of last season. Given the state of affairs with the Ducks this season, Yonkman could find himself racking up ice time in the big show, when he’s not in the box for a penalty.
While technically having been added last season, Kevin Gagne is another young talent who was signed without having been drafted. In the QMJHL, Gagne seems to be about a 35 point scorer. Though he is even smaller than Sarault, at 5-8 and 175lbs, he still makes his presence known. This could be a great addition to special teams, as Gagne moves the puck well and has a wicked shot on the advantage. SIze is a HUGE concern with Gagne, although he will go hard in the corners and fight for the puck.
The Admirals seem to have a theme of being undersized, perhaps this is someone’s idea of addition by subtraction? Steven Whitney is another physically smaller guy of 5-7 and just under 170lbs. As a centerman, he is noted as having great vision especially on the power play. He is also expected to need a full year at the AHL level before he can even think about an NHL debut. He is also known to stand his ground in a physical game, no surprise considering he came from Boston College. He looks to be the type who could score, in the range of 30 or so points each season.