November 24, 2009

Lundin's value soars with Norfolk

Mike Lundin (photo: Dan Hickling)

There is only one thing wrong with Norfolk Admirals defenseman Mike Lundin. There's just not enough of him to go around.

In fact, Admirals coach Darren Rumble would clone the former University of Maine standout if he only could.

“He's played amazing,” said Rumble, the ex-NHLer who logged AHL time with Springfield and Worcester. “Give me six Mike Lundins and I'd be happy.”

Truth be told, he's happy enough with the one he's got.

And why shouldn't he be?

Lundin has been a horse on the ice, gobbling up minutes in all sorts of situations, and is leading all Admirals blueliners in scoring (2-9-11). And that's from among a group that includes former first-rounders Matt Lashoff, Vladimir Mihalik and Ty Wishart.

He's also managed to keep his plus/minus rating in the black all season. You might say that Lundin's game is rounding out nicely.

Especially on the offensive side.

“I was starting to play like that at Maine,” Lundin said. “I love playing like that.”

Two season ago, Lundin made the jump directly from Orono to Tampa Bay, and spent the entire season with the Lightning under then-coach John Tortorella (Melrose, Mass.), who is another former Black Bear.

However, after suffering through some sophomore struggles, Lundin was demoted to Norfolk, with orders to knock off some rough edges.

“When I went up with Tampa,” he said, “I was more defensive. Not worried about getting scored on.

“Coming down here, toward the end of last year, I got some confidence back and kind of brought that into my game. This year, I've really been focusing on that and making it one of my strong points.”

In particular, Lundin has taken the role of puck carrier and made it into a mission. He will carry the puck out of the defensive zone a dozen times or more per game, and has become a whiz at hitting forwards in mid-stride.

“He's taken that on himself,” said Rumble. “He's getting the ice time and he's growing. That's why guys play down here.

To get a foundation under them, so when they're ready to go up top, they've got plenty of experience. He's expanding on his game. He moves the puck well, and he skates well. Now he's doing a nice job of lugging the mail up the ice. We can't get him out there enough.”

It might be long before Lundin is out there, make that, out of there, sooner than later.

He's already had one call up, during this young season. Next time, he might not come back.

And then Rumble will have to do without him all together.

Around the AHL

For two of his four years at Maine, Lundin was a teammate of his younger brother, Matt, a goaltender. However, Matt wound up stalling out behind Ben Bishop, and later transferred to Mercyhurst. Currently, Matt Lundin is toiling for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the AHL. … A rip-roaring start, along with injuries up top in Los Angeles, have earned 19-year-old Manchester Monarchs rookie Andrei Loktionov his first promotion to the NHL. Called up along with Loktionov was veteran winger Brandon Segal. … The Providence Bruins could hardly wait until the return of offensive mainstays Milan Lucic and Marc Savard to the parent Boston club. The P-Bruins suffered mighty after Brad Marchand and Trent Whitfield were both called up when the Boston stars went down with injuries. … The hottest club in the Atlantic Division would seem to be the Portland Pirates, who took seven of eight points last week, all of the contests coming with Buccos backup J.P. Lamoureux in net.

Dan Hickling can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.