ALLEN, TX – It is always interesting to get to know the new players that will be coming to Allen each season. If you are like me it takes a while to recognize most of them without looking at their number when attending the first few practices or games. But soon you can identify everyone just by the way they skate.
Whenever a new Allen player is announced I always do an internet search to find out as much as possible about them. Since we still have three weeks until training camp I thought today would be a good day to share some “news you can use” about the new names on the Americans roster. Will cover the defenseman today and the forwards tomorrow. There will be plenty of time to do in-depth player profile interviews when the season begins.
JAYNEN RISSLING – Jaynen will be 24 on September 24. He is a left shot defenseman, 6’4″ and 205 pounds. He was a seventh round draft choice of the Washington Capitals in the 2012 NHL draft. This will be his fourth professional season having played for the Cincinnati Cyclones the last three seasons. Jaynen’s dad (Kelly) had a short career in professional hockey including brief stints with the Fort Wayne Komets and Kalamazoo Wings. His uncle (Gary) had a long pro career including 221 NHL games, mostly with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jaynen played his junior career in the Western Hockey League (he is from Edmonton) for the Calgary Hitmen and was the captain of the team his last season (2013-14). He led his junior team in penalty minutes for three straight seasons. He is a big guy that will stick up for his teammates, plays with a lot of grit and will be good at clearing out the front of the net. He has dropped the gloves over the years with some familiar names like Garrett Klotz, Derek Mathers, Harrison Ruopp, Jake Marchment, and his soon to be teammate, Dalton Thrower.
What you can expect from Rissling is a defense first defenseman but someone that can pinch in the play. He likes to hit, he plays with passion and he is a character guy with leadership skills.
Jaynen wore #9 in juniors and #81 for most of his days in Cincinnati so that may give you some idea of his number this season.
Here is a video from a few years ago when Jaynen was named captain of his junior team.
DALTON THROWER – Dalton is a 23-year-old, 6’0″ 200-pound right shot defenseman who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round (#51 overall) in the 2012 NHL draft. This will be his fourth professional season as he played for Brampton in each of the last three seasons. He also has nine AHL games to his credit. His younger brother (Josh) will also play for Allen this season. Like Jaynen Rissling, Dalton played his junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and was the captain of his team (Vancouver Giants) in his last year in juniors.
When Dalton was drafted he was described by scouts as gritty, tough and intelligent on both sides of the puck who isn’t afraid of anyone. When you get a physically agitating, hard hitting blueliner that can make hard accurate outlet passes or rush the puck you get Dalton Thrower. In 285 games in his WHL career, Thrower had 42 goals, 105 assists and 414 penalty minutes. While Dalton has struggled to transfer his junior stats to the professional game, he is the type of player that should thrive in the Steve Martinson system and may be one of those players that has a career year in Allen. Dalton will also drop the gloves if necessary.
Dalton wore #2 last season in Brampton but has worn many different numbers in his career including #4, #6, #23 and #47 when he was captain in Vancouver.
Here is a video from 2016 when Dalton was with the St. John’s IceCaps (AHL):
JOSH THROWER – Josh is the younger of the Thrower brothers. He is 21-years-old, 6’1″ and 200 pounds. He is a right shot defenseman who is a rookie having finished his junior career last season playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. Simliar to his brother, Josh is a two-way defenseman that can make the outlet pass but also carry the puck. He will finish he checks, clear the front of the net and is willing to drop the gloves. Being the younger brother, Josh has always looked up to Dalton and the two are best friends. I am sure they are looking forward to playing together in Allen.
Here is a scrap that Josh had with Tyrell Goulbourne back in 2014 that is said to have almost folklore status among WHL fight enthusiasts. This fight has over 70,000 YouTube views.
These three defenseman fit the Steve Martinson mold very well. Tough players who will finish their checks but also have the skill to make the outlet pass and jump into the play. They will definitely be difficult to play against and they aren’t afraid of anyone. The other trait they have in common is their leadership skills on and off the ice. Martinson often says sometimes you have a lion and sometimes a pack of wolves. These three tell me 2017-18 will be a pack of wolves year.
The statistics above are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.
DID YOU KNOW: The Thrower brothers are certainly not the first brothers that have been signed by the Allen Americans. Everyone remembers the Ludwig brothers (Tyler & Trevor) who were a big part of Allen’s first three championships. But do you remember the Howes brothers (Scott & Andrew) were in camp with Allen back in 2012-13? The Daniels brothers (Drew & Justin) were also with the Americans during the 2012-13 season.