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Milwaukee Admirals won’t go down without a fight in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs

It is gradually building and growing into a highly respected prospect pool around the NHL, and the Nashville Predators should start reaping the benefits in the not-so-distant future.

The Milwaukee Admirals are currently hanging on for dear life in the Western Conference Finals of the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs after winning Game 4 on Thursday night to force elimination.

This marks the second straight year the Admirals have reached the conference finals, both times against the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.

In 2023, the Admirals fell to the Firebird in six games, and this year they are down 3-1 in the series. In Game 4 at home, the Admirals managed to score seven goals after going into the second period tied 2-2.

With three goals in the third period to put away the Firebirds, Philip Tomasino, Fedor Svechkov and Roland McKeown all lit the lamp.

Svechkov scored twice in this match and had perhaps the most impressive playoff campaign for the Admirals, along with Zachary L’Heureux, who also scored a goal in this match. L’Heureux has scored 10 goals in the Calder Cup Playoffs and appears to be in the driver’s seat to make the Predators roster sometime in 2024-2025, and Svechkov is also on the rise but may be further away and needs more time . in the AHL before making that difficult jump.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the Admirals in this deep playoff run, with star goalie Yaroslav Askarov sidelined with an injury for the entirety of the conference finals, pushing veteran netminder Troy Grosenick into the starting fold.

With some tough performances for Askarov in these playoffs, it would be a surprise to see Head Coach Karl Taylor push Askarov back into the starter role over Grosenick, even as Askarov recovers from the lower-body injury he suffered in the previous round of the play-offs.

In five playoff games in this year’s postseason, Askarov has a sub-par 3.25 GAA and .882 save percentage. Nothing to panic about if you’re the Predators as these things happen to young goaltenders, but it does make you wonder if Askarov is really ready to be the full-time backup at the NHL level next season.

Game 5 on Saturday will be another do-or-die situation for the Admirals, and they’ll be back at home. In the previous round, the Admirals trailed the Grand Rapid Griffins 2-0 in a best-of-5 scenario and won three in a row to advance. Now they have to win four times in a row.

The top 3 point scorers for the Admirals in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs are Zachary L’Heureux (15), Fedor Svechkov (11), Joakim Kemell (10). All three are completing their rookie seasons in the AHL.

In a recent piece for Predlines, I highlighted some prospects who have high hopes of potentially making their Predators debut in 2024-2025. L’Heureux tops that list and appears to be the most NHL-ready of the prospects who have not yet appeared in the NHL.

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