ALLEN, Texas – The M*A*S*H* unit taking care of the Allen Americans have been very busy the last few days, so when the team returns to practice today, the primary question is who will be able to practice. Seven players did not make the trip to Tulsa because of injury. Mike Gunn, Eric Roy, Josh Thrower, Chad Butcher, Thomas Frazee, Pavel Jenys and Kevin Sunder. The hope is three or four of the injured players will be able to play when the Americans play three games in Rapid City this weekend.
– There is no doubt the players, coaches and Allen fans are disappointed in the slow start by the team this year. A year ago Allen started the season 3-0 and outscored their opponents 19-8 in those games. The Americans record is now 1-3-0-1. Prior to this season, since Steve Martinson arrived in Allen the Americans have never had a losing record after five games.
– After talking to coach Martinson yesterday as he was reviewing video of the game in Tulsa in preparation for practice today the conversation was similar to his approach every year as the season gets underway. Sure he is disappointed in the results thus far but he likes the team he has assembled and will work this week in practice to address the defensive breakdowns that have plagued the team.
– It doesn’t mean Martinson is not trying to improve the roster but that is part of the process every season. There is little doubt in my mind Martinson is looking at players up for trade around the league to see if he can strengthen the Allen roster. There are always trades at this time of the season and there is no reason to expect that won’t happen this season. It may happen this week or it may happen next week but history says there will be trades. Last season trades involving Tanner Eberle, Jaynen Rissling, Daniel Leavens, Alex Guptill, and Marcus Basara all took place early in the season.
– Martinson is also in almost daily contact with the Wild to talk about needs with both organizations. Discussions are ongoing about the transfer of Wild contracted players to and from Allen. Again, history would suggest there will be changes, it is merely a matter of time.
– The bottom line is Martinson is trying to get better with the team he has, deal with all of the injuries, improve the roster with trades and work with the Wild to help Iowa and Allen.
INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
– I thought it might be instructive to take a look at Allen’s stats leaders after five games. Below are the team leaders in various statistical categories with the league rank in parentheses:
|8 – Braylon Shmyr (2nd)||8 – Alex Breton (2nd)||6 – Dante Salituro (10th)|
|5 – Braylon Shmyr (1st)||3 – Dante Salituro (10th)||2 – Alex Breton (28th)
2 – Spencer Asuchak (28th)
2 – Zach Pochiro (28th)
|6 – Alex Breton (2nd)||3 – Spencer Asuchak (29th)
3 – Dante Salituro(29th)
3 – Braylon Shmyr (29th)
Plus/Minus: (Only two plays are plus)
|+2 – Joel Chouinard (60th)
+2 – Spencer Asuchak (60th)
|33 – Dalton Thrower (1st)||22 – Josh Thrower (9th)||20 – David Makowski (11th)|
Shots On Goal:
|26 – Dante Salituro (2nd)||14 – Braylon Shmyr (35th)||14 – David Makowski (35th)|
Points by Defensemen:
|8 – Alex Breton (1st)||2 – David Makowski (30th)||1 – Josh Thrower (58th)
1 – Josh Atkinson (58th)
|.923 – Jeremy Brodeur (13th)||.915 – C.J. Motte (16th)|
If you can draw any conclusion from the individual stats it would be the team is being carried offensively by two rookies and a second-year player. Breton, Shmyr, and Salituro have contributed 22 points in the first five games. The rest of the roster combined have only 18 points. The three young players have accounted for 55% of the offense. To be successful Allen will need more offense from the experienced players.
– Here is how the Americans rank in the ECHL in some critical statistical categories:
Goal differential – 27th (-6)
Average PIMS per game – 1st (28.80)
Power play – 24th (8.3%)
Penalty kill – 9th (89.7%)
Ave. goals scored – 17th (3.00)
Ave. goals against – 23rd (4.20)
Ave. shots for per game – 14th (31.60)
Ave. shots against per game – 27th (44.00)
Shooting percentage – 16th (9.5%)
There is not much to like in the stats above which help explain the 1-3-0-1 start by the Americans. The only stat ranked higher than ninth is penalty minutes, where Allen leads the league. With the power play percentage, goal differential, average goals allowed and average shots allowed all among the worst in the league there is plenty of room for improvement.
– In the ECHL transactions yesterday Allen took Mike Gunn off the reserve list and placed Kevin Sundher on the reserve list. There are several reasons this move could be made and unlike the injured reserve where a player must stay for a minimum of 14 days, players can move off and on the reserve list at any time. With that said this move may mean Gunn is getting closer to playing and Sundher will not make the trip to Rapid City.
– Some teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season are off to great starts this season. There are four teams with winning percentages above .800; Jacksonville, Utah, Kansas City and Tulsa. Only Utah was in the playoffs last season.
DID YOU KNOW: Was asked yesterday if the start by Allen this season is the worst ever. It took some research but the answer is yes, the 1-3-0-1 record this season is the worst start in franchise history. In eight of Allen’s 10 seasons, they have had a winning record after five games. The best record after five games was 4-0-0-1 which happened in 2009-10 and 2013-14. The only other losing record after five games was in 2011-12 when Allen started 1-2-0-2.