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08-10-2013, 09:57 AM
Seth Lake
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Been very busy this week, so forgive me if this has already been discussed, but on my way into work yesterday as I was flipping through the channels I came across an interview with Brent Peterson on 104.5 FM. Peterson was asked specifically about where Ellis potentially fit into the roster this year and was point blank in saying that it depends on his skating.

Peterson went on to explain that Ellis was told in year-end meetings to go to a power skating coach this summer because in order to be successful at this level he would need to improve his skating. I fully agree. Ellis has the mental aspects of the game down and has demonstrated that he can compete in 1 v 1 battles despite his size, but in order to win those battles and avoid getting into them, he's gotta improve his footwork and arrive a second faster.

The conversation began with a question of how Weber and Josi played last season, which Peterson said that after 20 games of Weber and Josi passing the puck to each other and expecting the other to take it and go that they learned a mutual respect and finally clicked - Weber was used to passing to Suter and watching Suter skate up ice as Weber stayed back and Josi was a young guy giving the puck to the star captain and trying to let him go. Then they asked about Jones and Peterson explained that it was going to likely be a fluid situation through training camp figuring out where the best fit was and that he could play with any of Klein, Weber, Josi, or Bartley and that expectations are that he's going to make mistakes, but that with Housley on board that he has a strong relationship with his coach and has shown the ability to learn from those mistakes and move forward.

Finally the follow-up went to Bartley and Ekholm and Peterson explained that Ekholm was ready now after two seasons of development and while his role will be limited as he still develops, he will be able to contribute this season especially on the offensive side of the game. Bartley was praised for coming into the league and having success - because he could skate and no one knew who he was so they didn't mark him - but it was also said that he struggled late in the year as the injuries mounted up and they are willing to chalk that up to the general chaos surrounding the whole team at that time, but Bartley signed a new deal now and that he's going to have to move past that and establish himself again otherwise the team will probably be forced to find a more veteran replacement.

Then the conversation with Ellis started off of discussing how Bartley was able to have success and projected as a regular this season due to his smarts AND skating ability, but that while Ellis had the smarts, his skating ability was not yet up to par and that it's an area he's continuing to work on and the team believes he can improve.

Overall, I think we have our 7 defensemen set in pencil, but if they aren't up to par in camp or at the start of the season, I don't think the team is going to be shy about pulling the trigger and making an adjustment to the group to stabilize them as quick as possible. Will be interesting to see if they bring in another NHL vet to play on the Admirals blue line as depth this summer...

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