ALLEN, Texas – It has been a week since the disastrous ending to the Allen Americans season and slowly everyone is moving on and the focus has started to switch to next season. I still plan to talk to Steve Martinson (scheduled next week) about the just-completed season and plans for the future. For today, though, here are a few topics of interest.
Affiliation – It was apparent to anyone observing that the affiliation with San Jose seemed to be different this season. My reporting is Martinson and the Allen Americans will move on from San Jose and affiliate with a different team next season. Stay tuned.
Rookies – Everyone wants to know if the four players Martinson brought in at the end of the season will return. Gordie Ballhorn, Jared Bethune, Matt Foget and Braylon Shmyr all have a decision to make whether they will attend college or play pro hockey. It was reported yesterday (eliteprospects.com) that Bethune has committed to Queens University (Kingston, Ontario) so he will not be returning but there is a chance the others could be on the roster again.
Veterans – Seven different veterans played for Allen in the just-completed season (Joel Chouinard, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Peter MacArthur, Thomas Frazee, Gary Steffes, Mathieu Aubin and Tristan King). In addition, Spencer Asuchak crossed over the 260 pro games played threshold and will be a vet next season. Alex Guptill is just under 260 (252) so will not be a vet next season. The roster is limited to four veterans and coach Martinson always seems to hold one slot for recruiting purposes so there will definitely have to be decisions made regarding veterans.
2018-19 Schedule – You may have noticed some teams have already released their home schedule for next season. The Americans are putting the final touches on the schedule and should release it soon. What is known is the Americans will open on the road in Kansas City on October 12. This is known because Kansas City has released their home schedule. Allen will play in Kansas City six times next season. Tulsa has also released their home schedule and the Americans will play in Tulsa eight times.
It is possible depending on the outcome of the playoffs games this week the entire ECHL schedule could be released next week. If there is a day with no playoff games the league could release the schedule. If it doesn’t happen next week the full schedule will be released the week of May 14.
Vincent Arseneau – I ran into Arseneau in the locker room on Tuesday as he was back in town gathering his belongings before heading home. He had a great experience in Utica and received excellent feed back in his exit interview. Arseneau is a player everyone agrees should be playing in the AHL. Remember he was fourth in goals (18) on the Americans and only played in 38 games. He brought his game every night and is the heaviest hitter in the league. The time has come for Arseneau to get an AHL deal and be in that league all year.
Steve Martinson – Next season, Martinson will hit a major milestone. He doesn’t pay much attention to his coaching stats but has said this upcoming one will be noteworthy. Martinson will begin the 2018-19 season with 978 regular season wins and should hit the 1000 win mark some time between the end of December and the beginning of February.
– If you have been tracking the ECHL playoffs things are going according to Hoyle. All four division finals have the #1 seed leading in the series. The old adage of once you make the playoffs anything can happen is not based in historical fact and definitely not in the current playoffs. With the exception of Orlando who is the #3 seed, the other seven teams in the division finals are #1 and #2 seeds.
Here is the playoff update:
North Division – It is #1 seed Adirondack (89 regular season points) against #2 seed Manchester (88 regular season points). Adirondack leads the series 2-1 with game four tonight in Adirondack. This is the series where because of scheduling issues Manchester has only two home games (five and six). Adirondack is at home for games 1-4 and than again if the series goes seven games.
South Division – #1 seed Florida (112 regular season points) is playing #3 seed Orlando (75 regular season points). The Everblades lead the series 2-0 winning the first two games 4-1 and 5-1. The teams play in Orlando tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow.
Central Division – It is #1 seed Toledo (105 regular season points) against #2 seed Fort Wayne (98 regular season points) with Toledo leading the series 2-1. Game four is Friday in Fort Wayne and game five is in Toledo on Saturday. This is a great series with great crowds and a great rivalry. This one looks like it could go seven games.
Mountain Division – #1 seed Colorado (102 regular season points) leads #2 seed Idaho (96 regular season points) 3-0 in the series. Idaho pulled off a miracle against Allen but it is not going to happen again. This series could end tonight when the teams play in Idaho.
– This story was in the Calgary paper last week about Aaron Dell‘s dad offering help to one of the Humboldt Broncos players who was paralyzed in their bus crash. It is a nice story of offering help to modify the player’s home which is in the same community as Dell’s. http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/airdrie-dad-of-san-jose-sharks-goalie-hopes-to-aid-straschnitzki-home-renos
– Here is another story you might enjoy if you haven’t seen it already. It is a week or so old and was written by Cris Tiller with the title, “Matt Register proved everybody wrong in journey to becoming ECHL’s best defenseman.” http://www.reporterherald.com/sports/ci_31839769/matt-register-colorado-eagles-prove-everybody-wrong-journey-echl-best-kelly-cup-playoffs
DID YOU KNOW: David Makowski is no longer playing in the playoffs but did you know he has twice as many goals (4) than any other defenseman in the playoffs. He is still second in points (7). Makowski was also Allen’s leading scorer (goals and points) in the playoffs.
In 2016-17 Allen had eight players that averaged one point per game or more. This season (2017-18) Allen had just two and they were Steffes, who only played in five games, and Olivier Archambault, who played in just 19 games.