ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans are a day away from having to submit their opening day roster and three days from opening night, so I am sure many were caught by surprise when the ECHL transactions yesterday showed Steve Martinson made a trade with the Florida Everblades that added two forwards to the Americans roster. Allen acquired rookie forwards Philippe Hudon and Josh Lammon for future considerations.
– Remember that future considerations can mean anything from sending players at a later date to I’ll send you a box of chocolates. Given the number of players on the Allen roster and the possibility of getting more from the AHL, I would expect since Allen didn’t trade players upfront the future considerations will not be players.
– With the addition of the two forwards from Florida, the Americans now have 24 contracted players in camp (14 forwards, 7 defensemen, 3 goalies). When the opening day roster is submitted to the ECHL league office no later than 3:00 pm (EDT) tomorrow, it can have 21 players on the active roster (must fit under the $13,780 salary cap) plus two players on reserve. One way a team can keep the maximum number of players is by putting higher cost players on reserve, which would allow for the maximum number of players (21) to fit under the cap. A move such as this could buy a couple of days but the high-end players on reserve would have to be moved back to the active roster by opening day (Friday).
– The bottom line is you can expect general manager Martinson to make a trade in the next few days that would reduce the size of the roster while improving the team.
– Another decision Martinson will have to make in the next few days is whether to keep three goalies to start the season. Wild contracted goalie Dereck Baribeau and Allen contracted Jake Paterson will be the primary goalies. The question is whether rookie goalie Evan Weninger will be retained.
Selecting Penalty Killers
– After practice yesterday, I was talking to the Allen coaches about how they go about deciding who will be on the penalty kill units. It starts by surveying the roster to see who has killed penalties in the past and who indicates they like to kill penalties. Typically you don’t have the best offensive players kill penalties because you want them fresh when the team goes back to even strength. Chad Costello is a good example of a player that did not kill penalties so he could jump on the ice as soon as the penalty was over.
The next step is to see how the potential penalty killers do in drills and game situations. Penalty killers have to be quick (not necessarily fast), have an active stick, good at recognizing passing lanes and have great hockey intelligence. Players that can anticipate and make fast decisions and are willing to block shots make the best penalty killers. With the style the Americans play, it is a given that a good penalty kill is a key to success. In their two ECHL championship seasons, the Americans penalty kill was ranked third (86.3% & 86.4%). Last season, the penalty kill was ranked 18th at 81.7%. Look for improvement in this key area this season.
Did You Know?
Congrats to Chad Costello who voted the Player of the Month for September in the top German league (DEL). Chad leads the league in scoring. Did you know early in his career Chad was a penalty killer? Back in 2012 when Chad played for Colorado, he had the very rare shorthanded hat trick.