ALLEN, TX – It is get away day for the Allen Americans which means practice this morning and a 475-mile ride on Big Red this afternoon, as the team heads for Missouri to take on the Mavericks Wednesday night (7:05 pm).
– The roster has been undergoing a lot of change over the last week. One day coach Martinson has too many players and the next not enough. The additions were Tyler Barnes and Alex Krushelnyski who had their first full practice with the team yesterday. Krushelnyski will be wearing #27. The subtractions were Spencer Asuchak, who is on loan to the Providence Bruins (AHL) and Alex Schoenborn, who was recalled by San Jose. Incidentally, someone asked if Alex’s great play on Saturday (2 goals, 1 fight, #1 Star) was the reason he was recalled. He was actually aware prior to the game he was headed back to the Barracuda after the game.
– Coach Steve Martinson received a call yesterday afternoon and Greger Hanson is on his way to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) on loan. Charlotte has several forwards out with injuries and needed some help. Not sure why they didn’t call up a player from their affiliate (Florida Everblades) but it is another opportunity for Greger to play at the next level.
Hanson is having a great year in Allen, leading the team in goals with 33. He is #4 in the ECHL in goals even though he has missed 11 games due to loans to the AHL. Here is the press release from Charlotte announcing Hanson’s signing. https://gocheckers.com/articles/transactions/checkers-sign-greger-hanson-to-pto
– Something that can have a big impact at playoff time is players being assigned by a team’s NHL/AHL affiliates. In 2014 Reading was the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and lost in the first round to the #8 seed (Fort Wayne) in five games because of the players the Komets got assigned for the playoffs. Riley Gill and Aaron Gens were on that Reading team. If an ECHL team’s NHL or AHL affiliate doesn’t make the playoffs it is more likely good players will be assigned. In order to be assigned, a player must have played at least five games in the ECHL during the regular season.
I decided to take a look at the top four teams in the Mountain Division to see how this might play out for the playoffs and it is not good news for Allen. As of today, we know the San Jose Sharks and Barracuda will both make the playoffs and most likely have a deep run, which is great. However Colorado, Idaho and Alaska all have NHL and AHL affiliates that are out of the playoffs at this time. Look for all of them to get players assigned for the playoffs. This may be one reason coach Martinson made deals to get Barnes and Krushelnyski loaned to Allen.
– As the playoffs approach here are the critical dates to keep in mind. April 7 is the last day to place a player on waivers, April 10 (3:00 pm EDT) is the date playoff rosters are due and the playoffs start on April 12. The official end of the season for the ECHL is April 8 but Allen has to play a rescheduled game in Wichita on April 9.
– Colorado sure isn’t making it easy for Allen to catch them in the standings. They won 5-3 in Utah last night to expand their lead over the Americans to six points. You have to give the Eagles credit as they played the last three games in Utah and won all of them. Colorado now heads home for three games, Rapid City on Wednesday and Utah on Friday and Saturday. The Eagles finish the season with five road games, three in Idaho and two in Rapid City.
– The balloting for the ECHL year-end awards is currently underway and ballots are due back to the league office next week. The league will begin announcing the recipients the first week of April. You never know how the voting will go but you would expect the odds on favorite for MVP is Chad Costello. He will end the season with more points than any other player than himself (125 in 2014-15) in the last 20 years. He will win the scoring title by over 30 points which will be one of the top margins in league history. He certainly deserves the MVP again this season.
– I hope David Makowski gets consideration for Defenseman of the Year. He has clearly been the best defenseman in the league since joining the Americans in early December. David’s average points per game (1.26) is far superior to any other defenseman. He is fourth in points (49), fourth in goals (15), first in power play assists (24), first in power play points (31) and fourth in power play goals (7) even though he has played 20 fewer games than the other top defensemen. If Makowski had started the season with Allen, based on his average points per game, he would have over 80 points and be second or third in the scoring race among all players. He certainly has my vote and hopefully others will take a hard look at the numbers and agree.
– I was struck by the number of Allen fans that attended the Stars vs Sharks game last night to support Aaron Dell. The Sharks lost 1-0 but Dell was great in goal and had a couple of highlight reel saves. Aaron’s GAA is now 1.85 and his save percentage is .936. The sense of pride in Aaron’s success is something that exudes from most Allen fans.
DID YOU KNOW: Players must play a minimum of five (5) regular season ECHL games to be eligible for inclusion on the playoff roster. Furthermore, players on two way AHL contracts must have appeared in five (5) AHL regular season games, however, at the discretion of the ECHL team, up to two (2) AHL two-way contracted players may be exempt from this requirement. Veteran players on a two-way AHL contract must have appeared in at least 10 AHL regular season games. There are no exemptions permitted for these players.