First Impressions of the New-Look Admirals - Part 4
It seems like just days ago that the historic 2011-12 season came to an end with the Admirals raising the Calder Cup in Toronto. In the short time since that day, the Admirals have undergone some major changes. We are excited to partner with the Anaheim Ducks to continue the tradition of Admirals excellence on and off the ice.
With the new affiliation will come new players as training camp begins late this week. Today we conclude the introductions of our new Admirals with the fourth set of your 2012-13 Norfolk Admirals! (Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3)
Nick Schaus enters his third full season of professional hockey in 2012-13. The New York native spent the majority of last season with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, posting four goals and eight points with 30 penalty minutes in 45 games. He also netted a goal and five points with four penalty minutes in ten games with the ECHL's Elmira Jackals. In 126 career AHL games between the Crunch and Worcester Sharks, Schaus has scored eight goals and 30 points with 78 penalty minutes. He originally signed with the San Jose Sharks as an undrafted free agent out of UMass-Lowell. In his 148 career games with the River Hawks, Schaus registered ten goals and 65 points with 220 penalty minutes. He also played four seasons of junior hockey in the USHL with the River City/Omaha Lancers and was the USHL Defenseman of the Year in 2005-06. Schaus signed an AHL Standard Player's Contract with the Admirals on September 21st.
Admirals fans will remember Matt Smaby playing at Scope during parts of the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The former second-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning (41st overall in 2003) has appeared in 90 games with the Admirals, scoring three goals and 14 points with 105 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-6, 239-pound blueliner from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has appeared in 156 career AHL games between the Admirals, Springfield Falcons and Syracuse Crunch, scoring seven goals and 39 points with 194 penalty minutes. He has also played 122 career NHL games with Tampa Bay, posting six assists and 106 penalty minutes. Last season, Smaby tied for third with a plus-12 rating with Syracuse while netting two goals and nine points in 30 games. Smaby was signed to an AHL Standard Player's Contract with the Admirals on September 26th.
Devante Smith-Pelly successfully jumped from junior hockey to the NHL as a 19-year-old last season. He became the third-youngest player in Ducks history when he made the opening day roster last October. Smith-Pelly played 49 games with the Ducks in 2011-12, scoring seven goals and 13 points with 16 penalty minutes. After suffering an injury while representing Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships, Smith-Pelly appeared in four AHL games with the Syracuse Crunch during an injury rehab last February, posting one assist. A power forward, Smith-Pelly was a second-round draft pick of the Ducks (42nd overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft out of Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in the OHL. He racked up 78 goals and 153 points with 109 penalty minutes in 184 games over three junior seasons. Smith-Pelly was assigned to Norfolk by Anaheim on September 14th.
A fourth-round selection (106th overall) of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Sami Vatanen will make his North American professional debut in 2012-13. Despite being only 21 years old, Vatanen already has played 156 professional games in the Finnish Elite League with his hometown team Jyväskylä, netting 32 goals and 103 points with 114 penalty minutes. In 2010-11, Vatanen was named the Finnish Elite League's Defenseman of the Year and was also named to the All-Star Team. He patterns his game after five-time NHL All-Star defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who retired as a member of the Anaheim Ducks and remains in the organization to help develop the team's defensemen. The Ducks assigned Vatanen to the Admirals on September 14th.
The 2012-13 season will mark the professional debut of forward Chris Wagner, who was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the 5th Round (122nd overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Wagner spent the past two seasons with the Colgate University Red Raiders, posting 26 goals and 70 points in 79 games. Last season, Wagner ranked second on the team in scoring with 51 points (38gp, 17g, 34a). He led the ECAC with 34 assists and was named to the Second Team All-ECAC while also being nominated for the Best Defensive Forward Award. Prior to heading to college, Wagner played two seasons with the South Shore Kings of the EJHL. He was 2009-10 League MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2009-10. The Ducks assigned Wagner to the Admirals on September 14th.
Frederik Andersen will make his North American professional debut in 2012-13. After first being drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010, Andersen re-entered the draft last summer and was selected by Anaheim in the third round (87th overall). Last season, Andersen led the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien) with a 1.67 goals-against average and .941 save percentage as a rookie while also posting eight shutouts for Frolunda. Andersen's eight shutouts in 2011-12 established a franchise record, surpassing perennial NHL All-Star Henrik Lundqvist's previous mark of seven in 2003-04. Andersen has represented Denmark at the last four IIHF World Championships and also represented his country at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships. Andersen was assigned to the Admirals by Anaheim on September 14th.
Goaltender Igor Bobkov will play his first full professional season in 2012-13. The 6-foot-4, Russian goaltender, has appeared in six career AHL games with the Syracuse Crunch over the last two seasons after his junior season had ended. In those games with the Crunch, Bobkov went 4-1-1 with a 2.95 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. His first two professional games were against the Admirals in 2010-11, as Bobkov earned back-to-back wins against Norfolk while stopping 77 of the 84 shots fired his way. Last season, Bobkov went 2-1-1 with a 2.68 GAA and .913 SV% in four games as the Crunch battled for a playoff berth. He has played two seasons in North America, primarily in junior hockey between the OHL's London Knights and Kingston Frontenacs. He has represented Russia in international competition three times, winning a gold medal in the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships while being named the tournament's best goaltender in 2009 in a silver medal effort. Bobkov was assigned to the Admirals by the Ducks on September 14th.
Marco Cousineau will enter his third season of professional hockey in 2012-13. A third-round draft pick (83rd overall) of the Anaheim Ducks in 2008, Cousineau made his AHL debut last season with the Syracuse Crunch. He went 3-2-0 in six games with a 3.32 goals-against average and .904 save percentage. Cousineau has appeared in 45 career ECHL games with the Elmira Jackals, going 21-17-5 with a 3.25 GAA and .897 SV%. Last season, he also played 25 games for the CHL's Allen Americans, going 16-4-4 with a 2.53 GAA and .918 SV%. Prior to turning professional, Cousineau played 176 junior games between the QMJHL's Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Prince Edward Island Rocket and Saint John Sea Dogs, going 84-67-12 with a 3.11 GAA and .897 SV%. Cousineau was assigned to the Admirals by Anaheim on September 14th.