Norfolk's Season Ends, Lightning Era Begins

Sunday night marked the end of the Norfolk Admirals' affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks as the Ads lost Game Six of their opening round playoff series to Wilkes-Barrie Scranton 3-2. The first round draw seems almost unfair given both teams finished the regular season with a hefty 108 points in the standings. The Blackhawks are set to open a new affiliation in Rockford, Illinois while the Lightning will make Norfolk their new minor league home.

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The End and the Beginning

Well Sunday was the final curtain call for the affiliation between Norfolk and Chicago. We had a really good team this year and it's hard knowing we went out in the first round. The three highest point totals in the AHL were the first, second and third place teams in our division, the Admirals having finished third. For Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, it gets no easier, they have to play Hershey who had the highest point total in the league. But that is now history.

The next time I go to Scope to see a hockey game, it will be as Tampa's affiliate. I am looking forward to hockey already. Hopefully, during the offseason Tampa will working to improve its minor league system. By all admissions, it does need work. But I think we can and will field a competitive team next year.

I will be coming to this site a lot during the coming months to check on the status of the Bolts in the offseason. We can make this work.

From a Norfolk-ian

Well, the curtain has fallen on yet another disappointing playoff run for the Blackhawk-run Admirals, and I must say I am ready to see a change. There has already been the discussion of how the team is going to be so much worse next year than it was this year, but I honestly feel that all of that talk is purely conditional. If the same carbon copy team shows up in Norfolk that played in S-field last year, then yeah, it' going to be a loooong season. Or a short one, however you take it. But the odds of that happenning are slim and none, and I think slim is staying in S-field. I say bring on the Bolts. I guess one of the positives is that they have no place to go but up.

Waiting for Tampa Bay

The end of the Norfolk Admiral's hottest season has come to a screeching halt again by losing in the first playoff round. We were sorely disappointed again this year and are still reeling from not understanding how a team that was so hot for so long ended their best year with the third playoff game being the worst we've seen. On a happier note, so many of us are excited to welcome our new family to Norfolk and are anxious to meet the current players as well as those who will make up the rest of the team. Our hockey fans are fiercely loyal and we will do everything in our power to not only make our new team feel welcome but also let them know that we are behind them all the way.

Question for the Admirals

Question for the Admirals fans:

Are there any potential free agents on the Admirals roster that might be targets for retention when the Lightning start shaping Norfolk's roster this summer?

Possibilities

Thanks for the question. The first would be forward Carl Corrazini. He is 28 years old, has played on several AHL teams. He had 28 goals and 29 assist with us this year. Has good speed and likes to drive to the net. He will play physical. He has good smarts and was a real mentor to our youngsters, we started the season with 12 rookies. He played on the power play and penalty kill. He has indicated through an interview on the official ADs site he likes the Norfolk area and would like to possibly remain. Is a UFA.

We had a defenseman named Jeremy Domish. Signed him to a PTO and he stuck. Is 5' 9" and 203 pounds. Has good speed, carries the puck out of the zone well and can play phyical. Had 4 goals and 4 assists and only 34 PIM. Only had an AHL contract.

Bruno St.Jacques. Big stay at home defenseman. Can handle the puck, good physicality. Is 6' 2" and 223 pounds. Not
the guy to lead the rush, but a solid player. 5 goals, 16 assists, +10.

Brandon Rogers is a dman. Decent speed, passing and puck carrying ability. No goals, 9 assists and +14. Has AHL only contract. Good hitter, he would help.

Some less likely players are:

Martin St.Pierre, had 99 points this year. 73 of them assists. Great on the PP, makes everyone on the ice better. A great passer. Only drawback, is the size of the Bolt's St.Louis. But he will hit anything on the ice irregardless of size. Is an RFA and Chicago didn't call him up much despite being beyond desperate at the center position. But with the year he has had they may want to hold onto him. Rumor has it he has been offered 1 million to play in Europe next year.

Next would be Pierre Parenteau. He was picked up mid season in a trade with the Ducks. A real sniper. For the year had 30 goals and 49 assists and a +19. Never called up to Chicago and is an RFA. I am not sure where he fits into Chicago's plans. They may want keep him around as insurance.

Certainly, last but not least and while he's not a player, we need to get Al MacIssac. He is the current GM of the ADs and is Chief Scout for Chicago. His contract is up this year. He has been the GM here for 7 years or more. Al has the great ability to find little known diamonds in the rough and bring them to the ADs and have them produce. When Chicago first got here, their minor league system was not good and not dissimilar from Tampa's now. Al was able to go out and find players who could contribute. We made the playoffs every year Chicago was here. In Springfield, Bruce Landon the owner was the GM. So the position is vacant in Norfolk. Chicago has already named a GM in Rockford and it's not MacIssac. He could also assist in stocking the ECHL affiliate. You would have a hard time doing better and certainly could do a whole lot worse.

Corazzini is the name I have

Corazzini is the name I have heard the most about and I suspect would be the guy Tampa would zero in on. I think he would make a prime replacement for Eric Healey.

I think they'll probably try to keep Joe Rullier so that may rule out signing St. Jacques.

I wonder how long it will be before Perenteau goes and gets the dollars in Europe.

It would be difficult to lure MacIssac without offering him the Lightning's Head Scout job, which seems to me to be unlikely. The Lightning seem happy with Jake Goertzen. Absent any lottery picks, he's found several NHLers in the later rounds.

RE: Rullier

FWIW Rullier told some STH's here that he was heading to Europe next season as he realizes that he's not going to make the NHL. Scoob in Springy.

In that case, signing St.

In that case, signing St. Jacques would be on the table. A shame they gave away Doug O'Brien for nothing if it turns out to be true.

Rullier

That'd be too bad. There are 2 spots open on the third pair - one of which likely will be a resigned Nolan Pratt or Doug Janik or a very cheap FA. Rullier would be as likely as most of the others not named Matt Smaby to take a 6/7 spot. Considering they probably wouldn't be concerned about developmental time with Rullier, he could be a serviceable No.7 at least, especially if he shows off some work ethic at what would be his first Lightning camp.

In a perfect world, I'd like to see Janik and Rullier both in Norfolk leading that blueline.

Finland bound

My Finnish isn't too good but this seems to confirm Rullier is gone.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=368244

another free agent prospect

I've heard thru the grapevine that McDonald has put his belongings in storage in hopes of being signed with the Norfolk Admiral's. That will give our team a boost for sure!

2 others...

2 other players that certainly will not be forgotten by the Ads fans of present are David Koci and Reed Low. I may be mistaken, but I think both of their contracts are up as well. Yeah, they have fewer upsides than others, but I honestly think having one of these two on the "new" Ads will be a good thing. Of course, I'm not sure of the status of Mitch Fritz. Honestly, I would love to see Low back. He has a little more offensive skill than Koci does defensive skill. Plus, he did wear the "A" for most of the season.

Jaspers

I wonder if it would be possible for the Lightning to lure Jason Jaspers back from Germany too.

Jaspers

I would be surprised if Jaspers would sign with Tampa again. While he was in Springfield, he was probably the hardest worker on the team. Despite giving it his all, he kept being passed over for call-ups to Tampa. They did call him up twice, but never played him.

I think he took the hint and realized that Tampa had no place for him in the NHL. He's making more money in Germany. He was the MVP for the German Cup championship tournament a couple of weeks ago.

Jason is a player who will be an asset to any team that signs him. But as far as signing with Tampa, I wouldn't hold your breath.

My understanding of Jason's

My understanding of Jason's original departure to Germany is that he wanted to stay with the Falcons but Springfield decided they couldn't keep him because they had too many veterans. It was an obvious mistake. Now, I suspect Jaspers has some roots in Springfield and that convinving him to play in Norfolk might be difficult. However, it seems to me Jason is the exact type of veteran the Lightning organization needs to turn the corner at the AHL level: a good skater with a great work ethic. Jaspers, Corazzini and Wanvig would be a good trio of veterans to start with next season. Mix in a good veteran d-man and one more forward like possibly MacDonald or Milley and you've got something.

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