ALLEN, Texas – Today, I want to take a look at the Allen roster in some detail. There are many reasons Allen has the worst record in the ECHL, one of them being injuries. Head coach Steve Martinson has said he can’t remember having so many players injured and the Americans still have 47 percent of the season remaining. Here is just a partial list of how many of Allen’s 38 games players have missed because of injury. The bottom line is Allen has missed an average of five players per game because of injuries.
31 games – Casey Pierro-Zabotel
30 games – Kevin Sundher
22 games – Thomas Frazee
18 games – Josh Atkinson
16 games – Josh Thrower
15 games – Alex Ranger
11 games – Chad Butcher
10 games – Johnny McInnis
7 games – Garrett Clarke
6 games – Dante Salituro
6 games – Mike Gunn
– Allen has already had 37 players on the roster and the season is barely half over. Compare this to the numbers from the past four years for the entire season
2017-18: 41 players
2016-17: 42 players
2015-16: 46 players
2014-15: 41 players
– Here is the latest on who is in and who is out of the lineup as of yesterday when I checked in with Martinson.
Alex Breton – Alex was released from his PTO with Belleville yesterday. He played in one game and the feedback he received was positive. As with most cases, Alex was signed to a PTO because of injuries so when the injured players return, the PTO is terminated.
The announcement was made yesterday that Breton was selected to the ECHL All-Star team. That means when the team flies home after the road trip to Idaho (January 16, 18, 19), Alex will fly from Boise to Toledo for the All-Star game which takes place on January 21. There will be plenty of AHL scouts at the All-Star game and you have to believe Alex will be getting more AHL attention and offers the rest of the season.
He is a great prospect and it would be a shame if he is lost to another AHL team because Iowa is not interested in signing him. Just like last season when Allen’s AHL affiliate was not interested in Olivier Archambault and Vincent Arseneau, so they were signed by other AHL teams.
Alex Ranger – Alex has been cleared after being injured in a game on December 14th. His energy and grit will be a welcome addition.
Curt Gogol – Curt is one of three players Allen obtained for trading the rights to Olivier Archambault to Orlando. The 6’1″ 190-pound forward is an eight-year pro with 179 AHL games to his credit. He will add grit and toughness to the lineup.
Josh Atkinson – Friday in Tulsa, Josh got back in the lineup for the first time since November 24. With a game under his belt after the long layoff, he should play a bigger role on Friday against Wichita.
Casey Pierro-Zabotel – After Casey was injured and had surgery there was some hope he could be back for the end of the season and playoffs. With Allen out of the playoff picture, I can’t see Casey returning this season.
Mike Gunn – He has been playing hurt all season but it has gotten to the point where he can no longer play. He is scheduled for surgery this Friday and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Garrett Clarke – When Clarke was injured on December 19, the thought was he could miss a couple of months recuperating. You never know how fast players heal, but he still has a ways to go before he returns.
Kevin Sundher – Kevin has been plagued by injuries this season. He started the season injured, then played two games and was injured and missed two months, then played six games and was injured again and has been out since December 31. It doesn’t seem like he is close to a return to the lineup.
Thomas Frazee – Thomas has not played since November 27. He did start practicing but had a setback. Of all of the injured players, he may be the closest to returning to the lineup.
Etienne Boutet – Etienne was acquired in the trade with Orlando for Archambault’s rights. He is currently on loan to Stockton (AHL). He has been in Stockton since December 27. He played in two games when he first arrived but has sat out the last three games. The 6’2″ 210-pound defenseman will be a good addition to the Allen blue line when/if he is released from his PTO.
Sam Jardine – Jardine was the third piece of the puzzle in the Archambault deal. He is a different story since he is signed to an AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies. He played in Orlando last season so they were able to retain his ECHL rights which they included in the deal with Allen. Jardine has spent all season with the Marlies having played in 16 of their 36 games. If Toronto gets to the point of wanting to send him their ECHL affiliate (Newfoundland,) they will have to deal with Allen to obtain his rights. My guess is those discussions are taking place now. I doubt Toronto would want to send their contracted player to Allen.
– One thing is certain and that is the Americans have too many players under contract. If you count Boutet and a player for the rights to Sam Jardine the total number is 27. Even with players like Pierro-Zabotel and Gunn out for the rest of the season, Martinson will have to reduce the roster as new players arrive and injured players return. I would expect to see players released or traded for future considerations soon. You can also expect additional trades as Martinson continues to try and improve the roster.
In Other News…
– The ECHL All-Star teams were announced yesterday. Here is a list of the players along with details about the 3-on-3 tournament and other activities that will highlight the young talent around the ECHL. https://thesinbin.net/echl-announces-2019-all-star-teams/
– I hope you have had the chance to read the “Where Are They Now Series” I have been doing each week in celebration of the Allen Americans 10th anniversary. The latest was with Kevin Young and next week I will be catching up with Nino Musitelli who was a member of the first Allen Americans team in 2009-10.
– One of the things that has struck me as I am doing the “Where Are They Now” series is how often the players that have won championships in Allen bring up team chemistry as the primary season.
Here are a few examples:
“How close the team was when we faced adversity was the most memorable to me.”
“How tight the team was in that championship year I will always remember.”
“We were so close and would do anything for one another, and that is not only why we won but almost better than winning.”
It does seem the difference between good teams and great teams can be found in the locker room. I came across this thought recently on a coaches site and it captures this idea perfectly. “If you don’t like being held accountable, you really aren’t interested in being a teammate or a champion. You are interested in YOU. Accountability is a desired trait for a champion from their coach, teachers and teammates. Championship cultures thrive on accountability.”
Did You Know?
I want to end today by re-posting a story written by Rick Gosselin in 2017 when the Americans were starting the playoffs in search of their fifth straight championship. Being able to witness four consecutive championships, all won on home ice, is something very few sports fans have ever done. Reading this story brings back those great memories and helps put this season in perspective. The title is, Allen Americans aim to do something professional hockey hasn’t seen since the Montreal Canadiens of the 1950’s.” Enjoy! https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/stars/2017/04/10/allen-americans-aim-something-professional-hockey-seen-since-montreal-candiens-1950s
Don’t forget, The Sin Bin’s Coverage from the 2019 ECHL All-Star Classic in Toledo, Ohio begins Saturday, January 19.