Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Back In Double Blue... Sorta

The big guy wearing #2? That's Adam Pardy. Pardy was once a reliable Winnipeg Jets defenceman who, unfortunately, was waived towards the end of the season last year only to be claimed by the Edmonton Oilers. Pardy's time in Edmonton was short-lived as he hit free agency this summer, and he eventually landed in Florida with the Panthers on a professional tryout. The Panthers' blue line is considerably better this season, so Pardy began the season patrolling the blue line for the AHL's Springfield Thunderbirds after being a late cut in Florida's training camp. Today, though, Pardy is on the move as the veteran of 338 NHL games will find himself wearing double-blue once again in career!

While he wore the double-blue of the Jets and IceCaps in his career, he'll instead don the double-blue of the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals as the Springfield Thunderbirds and Admirals made a deal involving the lanky defenceman. The Admirals swapped forward Eric Robinson, defenceman Teddy Doherty, and goalie Brandon Whitney for Adam Pardy, and it appears he'll be in the lineup when the Admirals visit the Iowa Wild on Friday night. A quick glance at the Admirals roster shows Pardy will wear #6 with his new club!

I find this to be a bit of an odd trade as the 32-year Pardy had yet to suit up for a game in the AHL. While there's no denying Pardy's professionalism when it comes to being prepared for a game and a season, it's rare to see a trade in the AHL that doesn't show immediate benefits for both sides. For example, Springfield gets Robinson who played one game with Milwaukee after being recalled from the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones, Doherty who is playing with the Cyclones, and Whitney who hasn't played anywhere this season after spending all of last season in the ECHL.

You might look at the players who went to Springfield as potential up-and-comers, but there's little proof of that as well. Whitney was the only one of the three who was drafted, and he went in the seventh-round at 191st-overall to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012. His 9-8-1 record last season was buoyed by a 3.18 GAA and a .891 save percentage. Doherty was a serviceable defenceman at Boston College for four years where he posted a career-best 13 goals and 13 assists in 2015-16, but he has all of three games of experience at the ECHL level. Eric Robinson put up decent stats at Dartmouth College, but he's played just 16 AHL games and 11 ECHL games to date. If Springfield was taking a chance on unearthing some buried gems, they must have some pretty detailed scouting reports on these three players.

Pardy, however, becomes the Admirals' most experienced player both in games played and age. The Admirals have a fairly solid roster, but they have an extremely young defence corps with Petter Granberg being the oldest player on the blue line at 24. The Admirals might be looking to Pardy to be the veteran leader on the back end in terms of bringing his knowledge and experience to Milwaukee. Along with Trevor Smith and Matt White, he becomes only the third Admiral born in the 1980s.

I always thought that Adam Pardy was underrated in Winnipeg. By no means was he ever going to play top-line minutes, but he was often relegated to the press box until an injury hit the Jets. When he was pressed into action, he was smart and responsible with the puck. He often sacrificed his body to make a play, and he rarely ever was caught out of position. I always thought his play went unheralded despite him doing the dirty work that others may have avoided.

Here's hoping Pardy can be a solid contributor to the Admirals' game plan. He won't fill a scoresheet like Erik Karlsson or Kris Letang, and he doesn't have a cannon like Shea Weber or Dustin Byfuglien. Rarely will you see him leading the rush out of the defensive zone like Mark Giordano or Drew Doughty. What you will get from him, though, is 20-some minutes of hard work, sacrifice, and effort.

And those traits are exactly what he should be teaching those young guns on the Admirals' blue line.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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