ALLEN, TX – The Allen Americans are enjoying their second day of no formal practice after a successful six point weekend so thought today would be a good day to cover two topics related to the upcoming playoffs. The first is related to bracketology and expands on the “question of the day” from yesterday and the second is the impact of affiliations on playoff rosters.

BRACKETOLOGY:

Yesterday I covered how the ECHL playoffs will be a straight bracket with no reseeding after each round. Here is a visual of how each conference will look.

echl bracketology

– The first place finishers in each division will be seeded 1, 2, and 3 and the next five highest point totals in each conference will qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs. All series will be best of seven format. In the Western Conference, Missouri will be the #1 seed as they will be the division winner with the most points. The other two division winners (Midwest & West) are still to be determined. If the playoffs started today, Fort Wayne would be the Midwest Division champion and get the #2 seed and Idaho would be the #3 seed as the West Division champion.

– Allen would be the #4 seed if the playoffs started today because the Americans have the most points of  the non division winners. The advantage of being the #4 seed is home ice advantage in the first round. The disadvantage of being the #4 seed is you will most likely be playing the record setting Missouri Mavericks in the second round as the winner of the #1 vs #8 series plays the winner of the #4 vs #5 series.

– This playoff format sets up the possibility that Allen could have the second most points in the conference in the regular season but end up as the #4 seed because Missouri is the division winner. That would mean you could have the two best teams in the Western Conference (by regular season points) meet in the second round.

– Don’t understand why the teams aren’t reseeded after each round. The #1 seed should play the lowest seed remaining during each round in my opinion. There are a couple of ways to reseed if the ECHL decided it was a better approach. You could use the first round seeding numbers or you could revert back to regular season points to reseed in the second and subsequent round. With the current format the #1 seed will most likely play the #4 seed in the second round every year and the #4 seed will almost always be a better team than one or both of the teams seeded #2 and #3.

– With the Missouri Mavericks being so dominant this season, teams that don’t win their division may be better off being the #6 seed and avoid playing the Mavericks until the Conference Championship (3rd round).

– The seeding process will certainly have an impact on success in the playoffs but you have to beat everyone if you want to be Kelly Cup champions, so whether you get Missouri in the first round or third round you need to beat them.

AFFILIATION IMPACT ON PLAYOFFS:

– A lot more important to success in the playoffs than seeding is the impact of a team’s NHL/AHL affiliations on the playoff roster. Are they a help or hindrance in putting together a playoff roster.

– The NHL trade deadline just passed and the AHL trade deadline is March 7. If an ECHL team’s affiliates are not in the playoff hunt they are more likely sellers at the trade deadline rather than buyers. They trade players for draft choices which means they recall their contracted players that have been assigned to ECHL teams.

– For ECHL teams the best position is to have your NHL/AHL affiliate close to making the playoffs or in the playoffs but knowing they have to improve the team to be competitive in the playoffs. These teams will acquire players which means other players will be assigned to their ECHL affiliate.

– Coach Martinson has had discussions with San Jose and already knows he will have options to add players for the playoffs. It could be guys currently on the Barracuda roster or players San Jose has coming out of juniors and college. They are interested in helping Allen going into the playoffs. San Jose wants their young players playing but will not send players to Allen unless Martinson wants them. It is a great relationship which will only help as the playoffs approach.

– It is easy to see how this all plays out. All you have to do is monitor the ECHL transaction list that comes out each day. You will see some teams with deletions as their AHL contracted players are recalled while other teams will be adding players as their AHL affiliate assigns players. The net result of all of these transactions will have a big impact on the playoffs.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Mary for today’s question.

Q: We haven’t heard anything about Marty lately. Will he be returning to Allen next season?
A: Yes, Steve Martinson will be in Allen next season. He has agreed to a two year contract extension which goes through the 2017-2018 season. This happened some time ago but has never been announced. What this means is you will not see Martinson with any other ECHL team. As with all coaches contracts, this would not prevent Martinson from taking a coaching position in another league like the AHL.

DID YOU KNOW:  The fact that Steve Martinson has won nine championships in his first 19 years as a head coach and has missed the playoffs just one time in those 19 years is talked about quite frequently. But did you know he has 885 regular season wins in his coaching career compared to just 383 losses. His winning percentage is an unbelievable .698.

Here is how Martinson compares with the NHL leaders in regular season coaching wins and win percentage:

Coaching Wins:
1244 – Scotty Bowman
782 – Al Arbour
754 – Joel Quennville
708 – Ken Hitchcock
692 – Dick Irvin

Winning Percentage (minimum 200 games):
.738 – Tom Johnson
.668 – Dan Bylsma
.663 – Bruce Boudreau
.657 – Scotty Bowman
.648 – Claude Ruel

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