Nashville Predators fans have gotten a glimpse of the future of the franchise with the many new faces called up this season. But despite all the additions, there are more new faces, and even an old one or two, playing with the top farm club in Milwaukee.
The Admirals are battling the Utah Grizzlies for the eighth playoff spot in the International Hockey League. Since Jan. 1, the Admirals are the hottest team in the league with a 26-10-5 record. One of the main reasons for that surge in the win column has been rookie goaltender Jan Lasak. He is 15-3-1 since Jan. 1 after struggling early in the season. Milwaukee coach Dave Allison credits Lasak's surge to his finally making the adjustment from the East Coast Hockey League, where he was rookie of the year last season, to the more competitive IHL.
"Jan just started working more on the things he could control," Allison said.
Allison gives Predators goaltenders coach Mitch Korn the credit for getting Lasak on track.
"Mitch has worked a lot with him," Allison said. "Jan is more grounded in Milwaukee and he has gone through a maturation process. He is getting better and better.
"Young people want things now. They want things to happen quickly. And that is not always the case."
Lasak, the Predators No. 6 pick in the 1999 entry draft, has made a meteoric rise. Like most goalies he will only get better with age.
Defenseman Bubba Berenzweig has made a couple of brief stops with the Predators. Allison thinks Berenzweig could find a permanent spot on the roster for next season.
"Bubba needs to remember when to join the rush and when not to join it," Allison said. "Like Kenny Rogers sings, he needs to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.
"Bubba is really aggressive. He has improved his awareness. Development as a defenseman is a difficult process. But he is in the Predators