ALLEN, Texas – It is really down to crunch time in putting together the Allen Americans opening day roster for the 2020-21 season. The roster is due in the league office tomorrow afternoon. This is a unique year for roster numbers because teams can have up to three NHL/AHL contracted players for the first month of the season that don’t count. The maximum number of players coach Steve Martinson could keep would be 20 players on the active roster, three on reserve, three players that don’t count, and any players on injured reserve. However, Martinson is also operating with a salary cap and a budget so he won’t be able to keep the maximum number of players. He has said all along he will end up with 23 or 24 players which means another player or two will be cut today or tomorrow.
Enter and Sign-In, Please:
– The Americans added another player from the San Jose organization yesterday, rookie forward Jake McGrew, a sixth-round draft choice of the Sharks in 2017. Jake is 21 years old, 5-foot-11 and 190-pound right-shot forward. He is from Orange, California, and signed an NHL deal with San Jose in September 2018 but continued in junior hockey, turning pro for this upcoming season. Jake played his entire junior career in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Spokane Chiefs. McGrew played 132 games for Spokane and had 100 points (55G, 45A).
When Jake signed his NHL deal with San Jose this is what Sharks Doug Wilson GM said:
“Jake is an exceptional skater who is a threat to shoot from anywhere on the ice. He always seems to be around the net, ready to outwork his opponent for the puck. The California-born prospect really took his game to the next level during the WHL playoffs last season and carried that into Team USA’s World Jr. Selection Camp this summer before a strong showing in both the rookie tournament in Vegas and our NHL Training Camp this month. He has continued to exceed expectations, both on and off the ice, and we have been very impressed with his development under Spokane head coach Dan Lambert.”
Jake suffered a couple of significant knee injuries during his junior career, one his first year and one last season. He was limited to just six games before being injured last season, however, in those six games, he had eight points (5G, 3A).
Here is a video that introduces you to Jake from growing up in California, to his junior career, his knee injuries, his style of play, and some great personal information. A great way to get to know Jake. It is 28 minutes but worth watching to the end. This is a good one.
– Braylon Shmyr will start the season on the injured reserve (IR) after a lower-body injury in the Americans intrasquad game. The IR requires the player to be out a minimum of 14 days but Shmyr will be out longer.
– Speaking of injuries, I saw a story which was in Norwegian, that four players from the Stavenger Oilers were injured in their game last week including Chad Costello. I used google translate to get the story from Norwegian to English which is always interesting. It said such things as it was “a messy match that got ugly and the last tackle is something that should not happen in that situation.” The article described the four injured players as victims. The only thing it said about Chad’s injury was, “Chad got a slap on the knee.” I contacted Ashley Costello and there was definitely something lost in translation as Chad suffered a serious knee injury. Here was Ashley told me:
“Yes, it wasn’t the way we imagined the season to go. Chad was on the power play in the third period. He had the puck and the player who hit Chad fell which took his legs out, making it an awkward hit. He had an MRI that is showing a broken femur, torn ligaments (ACL & MCL) and meniscus. We are awaiting to meet with the specialist to see what treatment will look like. Don’t worry, as of all things Chad was most worried after the injury that he got credit for an assist on the play and he thinks he will return to play after Christmas, haha!”
– One thing everyone knows about Chad Costello is he has overcome injuries in the past even though he played three seasons in Allen without missing a game, a total of 276 straight games (regular season and playoffs). This injury has to be difficult for Chad, Ashley, and the family. With four young children, playing in a new country, dealing with COVID, and getting a serious injury after just 11 games. I am sure all Allen fans will keep Chad and the Costello family in their thoughts and prayers.
In Other News…
– It is now official that Idaho, Cincinnati, and Kalamazoo have opted out for the 2020-21 season. Fort Wayne and Toledo have been given additional time (mid-February) to decide if they are going to play. I have seen a lot of reporting on this since yesterday. Here is some of that reporting:
Justin Cohn (The Journal Gazette) reported “Fort Wayne Komet officials stressed that the new target date is so they can exhaust every avenue to try to get the season in, but it is not by any means now assured they will play.”
ECHL Week reported, “Expect the next segment of the ECHL’s regular-season schedule (perhaps a month or so of games) to be released a bit later this month.”
Steve Martinson, “Anything that allows for more teams to play and provide more jobs for players I am all for. I don’t see why the complete schedule for the Mountain Division teams couldn’t be completed now.”
– Matthew Harding published a story yesterday, “Five Burning Questions for the 2020-21 ECHL Season.” In this article, Matt covers where the teams stand now, team by team seating capacities under COVID, impacts of NHL and AHL on the ECHL, and many other interesting details. Lots of good information pulled into one story, check it out: https://thesinbin.net/five-burning-questions-for-the-2020-21-echl-season/
– Four new coaches are in place for the start of the 2020-21 ECHL season. Andrew Lord (Greenville), Tad O’Had (Kansas City), Ryan Blair (South Carolina) and Mark French (Wheeling). Here is an ECHL press release about the opening weekend games that includes some details about the four new head coaches: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2020/12/echl-season-opens-on-friday
For all things Allen Americans, follow Barry Janssen on Twitter @AllenAmericans1. For the latest stats and trends in the ECHL, follow @ECHLStats. And for the latest news on your favorite AHL & ECHL team, “Like” The Sin Bin on Facebook!