ALLEN, TX – I have been getting a lot of questions about what players have been qualified by the Allen Americans, so thought I would give you my best guess on what the list may look like when it comes out later today.
The deadline for making qualifying offers passed at 11:59 pm on Friday so there are now a lot more free agents around the ECHL.
One of the more interesting names (for Allen fans) that did not get qualified according to unofficial reports is Vincent Arseneau of the Wichita Thunder. A fan favorite when he played in Allen (2014-16,) it would be great if he would return. I am positive now that he is a free agent, coach Steve Martinson will be working hard to get him back in red.
– As for the Allen Americans here is the list of players on the season-ending roster that could have been given a qualifying offer. Riley Gill, Joel Chouinard, David Makowski, Miles Liberati, Mike Gunn, Wade MacLeod, Josh Brittain, Gary Steffes, Greger Hanson, Chad Costello, Spencer Asuchak, Bryan Moore, Zach Hall, Tanner Eberle.
Remember, only eight players can be given qualifying offers and this is a way to retain the rights to players. The number of players receiving qualifying offers will be less than eight. Any player that has already signed is excluded. Typically coach Martinson does not extend qualifying offers to veterans because the rules allow them to become free agents on September 1st as long as they don’t sign with another team prior to that date. Last year Martinson qualified five players. My guess is the number this year will be about the same.
Here are my thoughts about the 14 players on the season-ending roster that are eligible to receive qualifying offers.
Gill and Chouinard have already been re-signed and announced so no need to qualify them. They are also vets.
Costello, Brittain, Steffes and Hanson are vets and will not be qualified in my opinion. Costello and Brittain have already signed in Europe. I have heard from five different sources (none associated with the Allen Americans) that Greger Hanson has signed a deal with an AHL club and it is not San Jose, so he will be gone.
It remains to be seen if Gary Steffes plays next season. Gary has a post-career position with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) awaiting him whenever his playing days are over but it remains to be seen when that will be.
If you take the six players listed above out of the equation it leaves eight left that might be qualified. MacLeod and Asuchak have signed in Europe and must be qualified so Allen can retain their rights should they return to North America prior to February 15.
Makowski, Moore, Hall and Eberle may have to be qualified because they are still awaiting deals with an AHL club or clubs in Europe before they re-sign with Allen. If any of them are not on the qualified list when it comes out, it means they have already been signed.
– Martinson has most certainly agreed to terms with some of the role players on the team from last season and they are also a key to success. Mike Gunn is a player everyone talks about as a great guy in the locker room and improving every season. Miles Liberati has great potential as a puck carrying defenseman. If Gunn and Liberati aren’t on the qualified list that means they have already been signed.
– The bottom line is Martinson has more than enough slots to qualify everyone he wants to qualify and if he has already signed some players (which I am sure he has) there will be less than eight on the qualifying list.
– The Allen Americans could not have had any better re-signing announcements than Riley Gill and Joel Chouinard. I mentioned when Riley was announced that he was the foundation from which Martinson could build the team. When Chouinard’s re-signing was announced this past Thursday, it put another big piece of the puzzle in place as Joel will anchor the defensemen. Chouinard eats up a ton of minutes, was the league’s best plus/minus player and did not miss a game all season. He most certainly will be chosen as one of the on-ice leaders this season.
– Congratulations to Aaron Gens and Kellie Wyatt who were married Sunday in Kentucky. It has been a tough recovery for Aaron since being injured back in December in a game against Wichita. Gens was actually delivering a hit when he was injured. It was certainly a very special day for the Gens and Wyatt families.
When I first met Aaron back in 2014 and asked him about his family for a player profile I was writing this is what he said about his family:
“My parents are both ministers and I have three brothers (Ed, Pete & Matt) and two sisters (Amy & Lisa). My dad (Dave) and mom (Mary Lee) live in Baudette, MN (population 1100) and have been great role models for all of us kids growing up in a small hockey community. All of my family are musicians and can play drums, guitar and piano. We are very close and love to jam together. To have your parents officiate at your wedding has to be extra special.
– For those of you that remember defenseman Josh Hepditch from his year spent in Allen (2011-12,) he has made quite a career for himself as a coach. He was just named an assistant coach for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL where he had a very successful career as a player from 2002-06.
His teammates included former Allen Americans Bruce Graham, Adam Pineault and Christian Gaudet. Here is the press release that brings you up to date on Josh’s coaching career. Best of luck to Josh, Kathryn and their young son, Theo. https://moncton-wildcats.com/article/wildcats-name-josh-hepditch-as-assistant-coach
DID YOU KNOW: Aaron and Kellie met when he was playing for the Evansville Icemen (2012-13) and Kellie was a member of the Icemen dance team.