ALLEN, Texas – Allen Americans head coach Steve Martinson has to submit his training camp roster to the league office tomorrow (2:00 pm local time) but I am sure everything is written in pencil at this point as additions and deletions seem to be happening by the hour.
My reporting since yesterday includes the following:
– The Americans have signed another defenseman in rookie Tate Olson, a 6’2″ 190-pound, left shot from the Western Hockey League. (See details below). The Americans now have 10 defensemen under contract and could still get a defenseman assigned by Iowa. Olson is currently at training camp with the Iowa Wild.
– Martinson made a trade yesterday and I would expect it won’t be the last before opening night on October 12.
Here is my take on trades before camp starts.
As the roster gets built it becomes clear some players will not fit as anticipated, they may have to play a position different than they prefer. In some of these situations, the best option is to find a team that can use the player’s skill. In the past when Martinson has been confronted with these situations, he has done his best to find a good place for the player to play. This trade should get announced today.
– Martinson has said all along good players will become available as AHL training camps get underway. Players that were hoping for AHL one way contracts get to a point where they start talking to ECHL teams. There is little doubt in my mind that he is still recruiting one or more of these players.
– The bottom line is there are a lot of moving parts as the training camp roster gets finalized. It is guaranteed there will be many old faces, new faces, and a few surprises. There will be more competition for roster spots than any training camp since Martinson arrived in Allen. It is possible six or seven rookies could be on the training camp roster and that will definitely change the dynamic. The way the roster is comprised, as of today, the Allen Americans have the fifth youngest team in the ECHL.
More Info on Tate Olson
– Olson is another of the many players Martinson has recruited from the Western Hockey League. He played his first four years in juniors for the Prince George Cougars including the 2016-17 season when former Allen assistant coach, Richard Matvichuk was his coach.
– He was the seventh round draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2015 NHL draft. In his five-year junior career, he played in 306 games and had 131 points (25G 106A). If you want to learn more about what to expect from Olson, check out this “prospect profile” from 2016: https://canucksarmy.com/2016/08/22/canucks-army-prospect-profile-9-tate-olson/
– Here is a highlight video from 2016-17 when he played for Matvichuk. You will hear a couple of familiar names in these highlights as Olson’s teammates that season included former Americans Jared Bethune and Colby McAuley. Another of Tate’s teammates at Prince George (2013-15) was Zach Pochiro.
In Other News…
– Yesterday was a disappointing day for two former Allen players, Bryan Moore and Matt Register. Both of them signed with the Detroit Red Wings organization in the offseason with the hopes of playing in the AHL with the Red Wings affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Moore signed with the Griffins and Register signed with their ECHL affiliate, the Toledo Walleye. All looked promising when Moore and Register were invited to the Red Wings NHL training camp. However, yesterday they were sent directly to the Toledo Walleye and will not attend the Grand Rapids training camp. It has to be discouraging to not even get a chance at the AHL camp. Here is the complete story: https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/walleye/2018/09/25/detroit-red-wings-assign-seven-players-to-toledo-walleye/stories/20180925214
– I had the chance to talk Corey Essman yesterday. Corey was recently hired by the Allen Americans as the Director, Game Entertainment & Community Relations.
He shared with me an anti-bullying program he has established called, Biscuit’s Bully Busters. Biscuit (team mascot) and a selected speaker visit schools and give anti-bullying tips to children through physical comedy, as well as talking about real-life situations. The program covers four types of bullying; physical, social, self-bullying and online bullying. Through this 40-minute assembly program, children will learn how not to be a bully and how to avoid being bullied when they are faced with a problem situation. If you are a parent, teacher or know of a school that might be interested in this free and informative program call Corey Essman at 972-912-1027 or send him an email at Corey@allenamericans.com.
Did You Know?
As the ECHL prepares for season number 31, here is a reminder of season number one. The league started in 1988-89 with just five teams, Carolina Thunderbirds, Erie Panthers, Johnstown Chiefs, Knoxville Cherokees and the Virginia Lancers. Carolina beat Johnstown for the first championship which was the Jack Riley Cup. What made that series unique was it went to a deciding game seven and ECHL commissioner, Patrick J. Kelly, suspended three Carolina players for game seven forcing the Thunderbirds to play with just 11 skaters. Game seven was played in Johnstown but against all odds, Carolina won the game 7-4 and claimed the first Riley Cup.