The Cleveland Monsters (24-21-2-4) are doing exactly what they wanted to do at this point in the season, and that's play well enough to be in the post-season conversation. The Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate sits in fifth place in the Central Division and ninth in the Western Conference.
A key piece of this year's campaign for the Monsters, similar to last year, is solid goaltending. Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg started the season in Cleveland, but now that the two have been alternating time with Blue Jackets, a spot on the Monsters' roster opened for another netminder.
And the Monsters have their guy in Brad Thiessen.
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"Brad Thiessen is as professional a man as you'll ever meet," Monsters GM/Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito told BlueJackets.com. "He's accepted his role and he's been outstanding."
This is Thiessen's second year with the organization. He's split time between the Monsters and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, but he's made his time count in Cleveland.
Last season, Thiessen was integral in the Monsters' journey to the 2016 Calder Cup Championship, even as he logged a tremendous number of miles traveling I-71 between Cincinnati and Cleveland.
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"He came in, he was told we don't need you, then we told him we need you," Zito said. "And then he went 6-1-2 in February (2016) and was player of the month in the AHL."
Last year, in 22 appearances with the Monsters, Thiessen posted a record of 12-4-2, including three shutouts. He finished the year with a .929 save percentage
This season, among all AHL goaltenders who've played in five or more games, Thiessen has a .927 save percentage which is good enough for eighth in the AHL and right behind teammate Anton Forsberg (.929). He's 2-4-1 on the year with one shutout.
Other Monsters Notes:
- The Monsters are 4-4-1-1 in their last ten games and are four games into a seven-game road trip. Counting Monday's game, the Monsters will play nine of their next ten away from home ice.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand, currently with the Blue Jackets, has established himself as an offensive leader in Cleveland. He is second in overall points (14-12-26), and has the highest point per game average on the team (.7) for players who've been in ten games or more.
- Anton Forsberg has the second best save percentage (.929) among all AHL goaltenders that have played at least 960 minutes. He is facing just under 30 shots per game.
- The Monsters' scoring leaders are TJ Tynan (6-21-27), Sonny Milano (11-14-25), and Daniel Zaar (8-15-23). Milano is also tied with Markus Hannikainen for most goals among active Monsters players.