The Norfolk Admirals said goodbye to their preseason on a high note defeating the Charlotte Checkers 4 to 3 last Saturday at home. As of September 30th the Admirals currently have eight players on the roster that saw ice time last season with Norfolk.
One of the eight returning players is second year pro Chris Wagner. The six-foot center turned heads this summer netting two goals in the So-Cal Futures Game. The South Shore Kings product talked to TheHockeyWriters about his summer saying, “Just the experience itself was cool, to be a part of and to be in Anaheim with the big guys, and to get a taste of what the NHL is really like.”
The Providence Bruins abruptly halted the Admirals post season run in their last regular season game leaving Wagner and Company one win shy of the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. This left a foul taste in the 22-year-old’s mouth as he said, “We’re not happy about it. It was in our control to make the postseason. We didn’t succeed, but this year we’re hoping to make a statement early and not go through the skid we went through last year and have to dig ourselves out of that big hole.”
Many of the players aboard the Admirals roster this year have yet to play an official game under Norfolk’s head coach Trent Yawney so the Colgate alumnus is willing to put a bug in his younger teammates’ ears saying, “Not everything he says you have to take personally. He wants what’s best for us and just try and listen to all the small things.“
Every season a coach must assemble his team like a puzzle. Wags as he is known to his teammates chatted about how he’ll fall into the puzzle, “Rather it be the fourth line or first line and just try and contribute to the team and get to the next level.”
Chris can hold his own if things go sour on the ice, but one of the offseason moves the Ducks made makes him feel at ease with the signing of Zack Stortini, a very well known NHL enforcer who stands up for his teammates. Anaheim filtered Stortini to Norfolk and Wagner welcomed Stortini’s arrival saying, “He knows how to play his role. He’s a really great guy just like Rosehill and Letourneau-Leblond last year. They all have a unique role and they all do it pretty well.”
As a result of his work ethic and returning status, Yawney rewarded Wagner by giving him an opportunity to showcase his leadership when he presented him an A this preseason and it paid dividends as the Mass native was named the game’s first star Saturday night notching a goal and an assist. Put your bottom dollar on number 21 Chris Wagner who will be a pivotal piece to the Admirals’ puzzle this season
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