ALLEN, Texas – Finally, hockey is back and there is plenty of on-ice activity to talk about even though the Allen Americans training camp is still two weeks away. Before I get started here is the current Allen roster which now totals 18 players.
There are three or four more players that have been signed and not announced so you can expect more announcements this week and next. The obvious omission from the list above is defenseman David Makowski who coach Steve Martinson mentioned at his Facebook live event would be returning to the Americans. The others will be new names for Allen fans.
Traverse City Prospect Tournament
– Last weekend the Minnesota Wild prospects participated in an eight-team tournament in Traverse City, Michigan and acquitted themselves quite well as they finished with a 3-1 record and beat Chicago in the third-place game. Here is an article that summarizes all four games the Wild played in the tournament. https://www.iowawild.com/news/detail/the-wild-wire-wild-place-third-2018-nhl-prospect-tournament
– Three Allen players; Josh Thrower, Matt Foget and Jeremy Brodeur, participated in the tournament and did well. Foget had a goal and two assists and Thrower played both defense and forward and showed the toughness he is known for in Allen. They were on the Minnesota Wild team. Brodeur was on the New York Rangers team and was in goal when his team beat Minnesota 4-2.
– Foget was released after the tournament but will be attending the Iowa Wild training camp and Thrower earned himself an invite to the Minnesota Wild main camp which started yesterday. Brodeur is attending the Rangers NHL camp (see details below).
NHL Training Camps
Josh Thrower – There is little doubt Josh earned his invite to the Minnesota Wild main camp because of his toughness. Wild management has acknowledged publicly that one of the traits the Iowa Wild were lacking last season when they missed the playoffs was toughness. In 76 games last season, Iowa had 846 penalty minutes which was 24th in the 30-team AHL. They had 26 fights, only five teams had fewer. If you compare that to Allen, who played 72 games and had 1411 penalty minutes and 64 fighting majors you can see the difference in style. Congrats to Josh on the invite to the NHL camp. I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh ends up with an AHL deal out of this experience.
Jeremy Brodeur – Jeremy is at the New York Rangers NHL camp along with six other goalies. Players just want a chance to prove themselves and Brodeur will have that chance this week and will most likely be sent to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate (Hartford Wolf Pack) training camp when it starts next weekend. You would have to say it is a long shot for Jeremy to get an AHL contract because the Rangers have so many goalies already under contract but he has an opportunity to impress and that is why they play the games.
Olivier Archambault – Olivier is on a AHL one-way contract with the Syracuse Crunch but Allen still has his ECHL rights. Archambault is at the Tampa Bay Lightning training camp along with 61 other players.
Vincent Arseneau – Another AHL one-way contracted player for which Allen has his ECHL rights. Arseneau is signed with the Utica Comets and is attending NHL training camp with the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver has 59 players on their training camp roster.
AHL Training Camps
– AHL training camps will get underway this weekend so you can expect cuts from NHL camps to start midweek with players assigned to AHL training camps.
– The Iowa Wild have yet to announce their training camp roster but there will be a good contingent of players off the Allen roster in attendance. I expect most of the young players to be invited to the Wild camp. That would include Josh Thrower, Josh Atkinson, Chad Butcher, Matt Foget, Braylon Shmyr and a player that hasn’t been announced. A great opportunity for these young players to show what they bring to the table and also to get familiar with the Wild systems.
ECHL Training Camps
– Martinson said the Allen training camp will begin with physicals on Saturday, September 29 with the first on-ice session on the 30th. Because the first practice is on a Sunday it most likely will not be open to the public but practices during the week will be. I am sure the team will issue details as training camp gets closer.
– The Iowa Wild will play preseason games on September 28-29 in St. Paul, MN so the Americans could be short players the first few days of their training camp. Allen’s preseason games are scheduled for October 5-6 so most players will be back in Allen by then.
– Martinson shared with me that the team has secured player housing for the upcoming season in the Watters Creek area of Allen. Martinson mentioned the apartments are the best the team has ever had. The location is great for players without vehicles with restaurants, grocery store, and shopping all in close proximity. The players are going to love their accommodations this season.
– The regular season started in most of the European leagues this week. Yesterday it was an Allen alumni game when the Krefeld Penguine (Chad Costello & Greger Hanson) played the Fischtown Pinguins (Rylan Schwartz) in the opener of the top German league. Krefeld took a 2-0 first period lead but Fischtown came back and won the game 4-3 in overtime. None of the former Allen players factored in the scoring. Hanson wasn’t even in the lineup which I assume is because of injury.
Jonathan Lessard had the first goal of the season and added an assist for his French team (Bordeaux) to lead them to a 4-1 win in their opener. Other former Allen players that scored in their first regular season game of the season include Rick Pinkston, Colton Yellow Horn, Justin Kirsch, Judd Blackwater and Konrad Abeltshauser (2). Alex Guptill has a goal and two assists in his first two games.
– Rapid City coach Daniel Tetrault, signed a former teammate in Allen, defenseman Steven Tarasuk to a contract, which was announced yesterday. Tarasuk spent part of two seasons with the Americans and was a member of the 2013-14 CHL championship team. He is a veteran with over 300 ECHL games played.
Did You Know?
The Allen Americans made the playoffs last season but compiled the worst winning percentage in the six seasons Steve Martinson has been the coach and general manager. Here are the winning percentages under Martinson along with playoff results:
2017-18: .542 (lost in first round)
2016-17: .722 (lost in second round)
2015-16: .618 (won championship)
2014-15: .736 (won championship)
2013-14: .629 (won championship)
2012-13: .659 (won championship)