ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans picked up the pace of player announcements last week, as they added three players to the roster. Here are the details in case you missed any of the announcements.
– Sundher is a 6-foot, 185-pound,26-year-old, left-shot forward who will be starting his seventh professional season. He is another of a long list of players coach Steve Martinson has recruited that played their junior careers in the Western Hockey League (WHL). In his last three seasons in the WHL (2009-12), Sundher had 212 points (75G, 137G) in 200 games.
He was drafted in the third round (75th overall) in the 2010 NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres. If you look at scouting reports from his draft year they all mention skating as his strength with descriptions such as speedy, quick and smooth skating. He attended the NHL combine in his draft year which boosted his standings in the draft as he finished in the top ten in seven of the physical tests at the combine.
Kevin has had a difficult time transferring his junior success to the pro game. Over his six-year pro career, he has averaged just 39 games per season, six goals and 15 points. He has played in 139 AHL games and accounted for 43 points (14G, 29A). He played in Europe last season (Czech Republic & Norway).
Martinson has said many times if a player is a consistent scorer in juniors, especially in the tough WHL, he can replicate that in the ECHL. With Sundher’s skating ability and the Allen Americans offensive minded system he may thrive this season.
– It was a busy week for Martinson as he made the trek from his summer home in Illinois back to Allen. As promised on his Facebook Live session he did bring his recently acquired pontoon boat with him to Texas.
– It was a hectic week for Steve and Michelle Martinson. Tuesday, they put their 17-year-old son Logan on a plane to Langley, British Columbia where he will play junior hockey with the Langley Rivermen (BCHL) this season.
– The pontoon boat will be in storage for a while because Martinson will undergo shoulder replacement surgery today, which will limit what he can do for a couple of months. He has put off getting his shoulder fixed and anyone that knows him can attest to how much of a problem it has become the last few years. Even shaking hands causes pain and forget raising his hand above his head.
– Martinson is busy putting the final pieces of the roster together. He is talking to some high-end players/agents and it still has to be determined what players will be assigned to Allen by the Wild. The expectation is a goalie, a couple of defensemen and a couple of forwards could be assigned to Allen by the Wild. Who the assigned to Allen won’t be determined until the Wild training camp, which will start the end of September, is completed. One thing is clear, there will be a lot of competition for roster spots in Allen this season. Martinson has said this will be the most competitive training camp since he has been in Allen.
The announced Allen roster is now up to 11 players with plans for two more announcements next week, one on Tuesday and the other most likely on Thursday. Here is the current roster:
– Forward Marcus Basara, who had two stints with Allen last season, has signed to play in England with the Manchester Storm. Basara joins two other former Americans in Manchester. Defensemen Dallas Ehrhardt (played in Allen in 2013-14) and Harrison Ruopp (played in Allen 2016-17).
– Earlier this week, defenseman Rick Pinkston, who played in Allen from 2015-17 and was part of the 2016 Kelly Cup championship team, signed with the Fife Flyers (Scotland). Here is the press release, “Flyers in the Pink with Rick” https://eliteleague.co.uk/2018/08/13/flyers-in-the-pink-with-rick/
– Here is an interview with former Allen captain Jamie Schaafsma who is about to start his 15th pro season, his fourth in Fort Wayne. Jamie is 35 and talks about his training regimen and how it has changed, his family, the Komets loss in the playoffs last season, prospects for the upcoming season, his most memorable achievement (hint it is Allen related) and his desire to get into coaching after his playing days are over. https://www.echl.com/veteran-voice-jamie-schaafsma-fort-wayne-komets
Did You Know?
I came across this article at prohockeyrumors.com that starts out with this sentence: “No one likes to see former NHL players and prospects reduced to signing ECHL contracts to continue their pro careers, but as the off-season wears on, opportunities are drying up and more players are forced to make the difficult drop-off from a two-way big league contract to a one-way “AA” contract.” Young goaltender Adam Carlson (just signed with Rapid City) and veteran forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie (just signed with Wichita) are two examples but have very different situations. Check out their stories: https://www.prohockeyrumors.com/2018/08/adam-carlson-pierre-cedric-labrie-sign-echl-contracts.html