ALLEN, TX – It is the off season and new information about the upcoming season is hard to come by so thought today would be a good day to share my thoughts on what might happen in the near future.
– There have been just two player signings formally announced (Chad Costello and Riley Gill) but you can take it to the bank there are many more players that have agreed to terms and will be announced over the next few weeks. When all is said and done, the Americans will have more players returning to start the season than anytime in team history.
– Bringing back key players that were on AHL deals last year will be key going forward. Eric Roy, Spencer Asuchak, Chris Crane and Rick Pinkston have to be key targets for coach Martinson. San Jose Barracuda coach Roy Sommer spent several days in Allen during the playoffs and you would have to think they may sign some Allen players. In addition to the guys on AHL deals last season, players like Greger Hanson and David Makowski may get some consideration.
– One thing is certain, San Jose will work closely with coach Steve Martinson to make sure the players assigned to Allen will help the Americans and also be developed for playing at the AHL level. Best guess is still 4-6 players from San Jose being assigned to Allen.
I continue to believe a change in ownership for the Allen Americans is in the works and could be announced any day. Everyone who may have knowledge of what is happening says no comment but there is enough activity going on behind the scenes that gives me confidence that a deal has been struck but not announced. I have heard in the past that more than one group was interested in buying the team so it is a matter of when rather than if the team will be sold. To me a more interesting question is whether the new ownership is a local group or not. Again, my hunch is not based on any information provided by anyone in the Allen Americans organization so you can take it with a grain of salt.
THE LEAGUE (ECHL):
– It seems to be taking a long time to issue a press release on the decisions made at the recent ECHL Board of Governors (BOG) meeting. It has been three weeks since the BOG met in Las Vegas.
I followed up with the league office and was told, “The BOG Meeting remains open as there are still several issues being discussed. We cannot issue any announcements until the meeting is closed.”
It does make you wonder what issues are being considered. Based on the past BOG Meetings it could include issues related to ownership, policies and rule changes. Did the BOG deal with change of ownership in Allen, the Evansville/Owensboro franchise, or moving a team to Portland? The AHL just announced several rule changes including big changes to the fighting rules. Will the ECHL adopt the new AHL rules? Will there be changes in the division alignment as has been rumored? If there is a change will it effect Allen negatively as has been rumored? Will there be changes to the number of reserve player that are allowed or signing a third goalie as suggested by some ECHL teams? The bottom line is when the press release is issued about decisions made by the BOG they could be significant but it is a wait and see at this point.
– If you haven’t seen the rule changes adopted by the AHL for next season here is a summary: http://thesinbin.net/ahl-announces-rules-changes-conference-alignment-for-2016-17/
DID YOU KNOW: Former Allen Americans forward Jack Combs has a tryout agreement with the Fischtown Pinguins in the top German league. Should Combs make the team, it will be the 19th different team he has played for since turning professional in 2009-10. Incidentally, another former Allen Americans player, Jamie Schaafsma, played for the Fischtown Penguins in the 2008-09.