ALLEN, Texas – The day has finally arrived, today is the first day for ECHL teams to sign players for the 2020-21 season. Because of the uncertainty surrounding what will happen with the NHL and AHL seasons, it creates some unique issues for Allen’s general manager, Steve Martinson. Here is my take on what is taking place.

– The season-ending rosters for all ECHL teams were released this morning. For the Allen Americans, the season-ending roster looks very much like the protected list that was released two weeks ago. Just two players from the protected list are not on the season-ending list (Jake Paterson and Josh Atkinson). Here is the ECHL press release with all of the season-ending rosters:  https://www.echl.com/en/news/2020/6/echl-announces-season-ending-rosters

– Martinson will quickly sign players from last season that are ready to sign now. If players wait there might not be a spot available. Some players will wait to see if they can get an AHL deal.

– Each team is entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight players from the season-ending roster by extending a qualifying offer no later than June 30. Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are not required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract prior to June 30.

– Because only eight qualifying offers are available and players that sign before June 30 don’t have to be qualified, there is an incentive to sign players before the end of June. It is almost certain Martinson will extend qualifying offers to two players that have already signed AHL deals to retain their ECHL rights for next season. Jake Doty and Gabe Gagne have AHL deals but if they are given qualifying offers by Allen, their AHL team will have to send them to Allen if they are sent down to the ECHL. That would leave just six qualifying offers for players waiting to see what will happen with possible AHL deals.

– Because of the uncertainty of when the AHL season will start it is hard to know when they will sign players. Martinson will have to plan for two different scenarios, one which would have no NHL/AHL contracted players assigned to Allen and one where contracted players are assigned.

– Look for the Americans to announce their first player signing sometime this week. While players can be signed today, the contracts must be sent to the league office for approval and then the team has to decide when to make announcements. I would expect the first player announced will be one of the popular players from last season.

– Tommy Daniels will have a video chat with Steve Martinson tomorrow so stay tuned for that as I am sure they will cover the recruiting process in detail and what is happening now that the player signing date has arrived.

– Here are some of the more recent Zoom interviews Tommy Daniels has posted in case you haven’t seen them. Former players Jarret Lukin and Chris Whitley from Allen’s first team and Josh Lammon from last season:

– The ECHL will announce the winners of 13 individual and team awards given to front office personnel live on Facebook on June 24th at 3:00 pm CDT. There are five nominees for each of the 13 categories with awards ranging from Community Service Team to Marketing Team to Broadcaster of the Year to Sales Rookie of the Year. Congrats to the two Allen nominees, Ali Addikson for Sales Rookie of the Year and Tommy Daniels for Broadcaster of the Year.

– I took a look at which teams received the 65 nominations for the ECHL Awards with some interesting results for Mountain Division fans. Eight of the 26 ECHL teams received no nominations with four of the eight (Wichita, Utah, Kansas City, Tulsa) being from the Mountain Division. All six teams in the Central Division received nominations and they had a total of 28 of the 65 nominations (43%). Just three of the seven teams in the Mountain Division received nominations and had a total of 9 of the 65 nominations (14%). FYI the North Division also had nine nominations while the South Division had 19. Cincinnati led all teams with nine nominations.

– This is just my opinion but unless social distancing recommendations are relaxed going into the fall and the AHL/NHL start their 2020-21 seasons on time, the ECHL season will be delayed. I know it is a topic that teams don’t want to deal with right now but they will have to soon.

DID YOU KNOW: I saw a lot of posts on social media this week with memories of Allen’s past championships. Here are the dates and results of those four championship games which were amazingly all won at home.

May 11, 2013 – A 4-3 OT win over Wichita in the CHL Presidents’ Cup finals
May 10, 2014 – A 5-2 win over Denver in the CHL Presidents’ Cup finals
June 14, 2015 – A 6-1 win over South Carolina in the Kelly Cup finals
June 9, 2016 – A 4-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers in the Kelly Cup finals

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