ALLEN, TX – Steve Martinson is a great coach as evidenced by winning nine championships in 19 years as a head coach. However, his genius may be that he is a better general manager/recruiter than he is a head coach. He proved that once again at the trade deadline yesterday by acquiring one of the best offensive defenseman in the ECHL, Matt Register. Martinson received forward Chris Auger from Brampton as the future consideration that was part of the trade that sent Jonathan Parker to Brampton for Reggie Traccitto. He then sent Auger to Atlanta for Register.
It is full circle for Register who started his professional career with the Allen Americans back in 2011-12 when he was signed mid season, played 22 games and scored four points (1 goal 3 assists). Matt bounced around early in his career playing for three different teams in 2012-13 (Tulsa, Arizona, Ontario). He found a home in Ontario and had a breakout year in 2013-14 with 44 points (14 goals 30 assists) and was selected as the ECHL Defenseman of the Year.
Here are a few of Matt Register’s accomplishments the last three years:
– ECHL Defenseman of the Year 2014
– ECHL Defenseman of the Year Runner-up 2015
– All-ECHL First Team 2014
– All-ECHL First Team 2015
– 2015-16 ECHL Player of the Week for December 28 – January 3
– Top scoring defenseman for Atlanta – 2015-16
– Top scoring defenseman for Ontario – 2014-15
– Top scoring defenseman for Ontario – 2013-14
– Second leading scorer for Ontario in the 2015 playoffs – 18 points (7 goals 11 assist) in 19 games
When Register was selected as the ECHL Player of the Week earlier this season in Atlanta he was interviewed by the ECHL. The answers he gave to several of the questions tells you a lot about Matt as a player and a person.
Q: You were named to the All-ECHL First Team in 2014 and 2015 and were awarded ECHL defenseman of the Year honors in 2014. This season you’ve now added ECHL Player of the Week to your career accomplishments. To what do you credit your consistently high level of play?
A: I credit my consistently high level of play to a combination of factors. Most importantly I credit the organizations I’ve had the opportunity to play for as without the teammates I’ve played with and the coaching staffs I have had over the years, I don’t think I would have been able to achieve the individual success I’ve experienced. Every day I do whatever I can to contribute to helping the team succeed, whether that’s giving my all in practice, being a leader for the younger guys on the team, or making sure I’m working out and eating healthy away from the rink. While it is nice to receive individual recognition and awards, the most rewarding feeling is when I know I’m contributing to the success of our team as a whole.
Q: Having had a few years of experience already in the ECHL, what advice would you give to rookies entering the league who are unsure of what to expect?
A: I know coming into the league as a young guy can be a little nerve wracking, but the important thing to do is be coachable, to make the most of every opportunity you have and to work hard every day to develop and improve your game.
Q: Looking back on your career to this point, what has been your proudest hockey moment thus far?
A: My proudest hockey moment would be when I was able to win Defenseman of the Year in 2014. After a hard first couple of years as a pro, bouncing around teams, Ontario brought me in and believed in me. I was able to settle in, play my game and have three successful years there.
Here are Register’s stats, according to Elite Prospects:
– It turns out the injury to Aaron Gens in the Missouri game on Wednesday was a broken ankle rather than a sprain. He posted on social media, “Broke the ankle…love the game…be back in the battle in time.” I had the chance to talk to Aaron yesterday and being a man of faith, he is in good spirits and his sense of humor is fully intact.
– Based on these type of injuries in the past you can expect recovery time for Gens to be six to eight weeks but each case is different. You can be assured Aaron will still be a big part of the team even if it won’t be on the ice.
– The trade for Matt Register was in the works before the injury to Aaron Gens but it is even more important with Gens out for an extended period of time. Gens will most likely not be available for the first couple of rounds of the playoffs so there is some doubt as to whether he will be on the playoff roster. That decision won’t have to be made until April 11 when the playoff rosters are due.
– The ECHL trade deadline has passed but it doesn’t mean there won’t be additional roster changes over the next month. There are several other ways players can be acquired, the most important being getting help from San Jose. Coach Martinson has other options to improve the line up and he will be actively pursuing those options.
– C.J. Ludwig was suspended indefinitely by the ECHL yesterday for the clipping penalty that injured Aaron Gens. What may have caught some by surprise is Spencer Asuchak was also suspended indefinitely for slew footing Missouri forward, Jesse Root, in the same game. Root suffered a cut on the back of his foot near the Achilles tendon. Spencer was assessed a two minute penalty for tripping by the referee but the ECHL ruled it was an unpenalized slew foot.
– How long the suspensions will be for Ludwig and Asuchak maybe connected to how severe the injury is to Jesse Root. The league already knows how long Gens will be out but may be awaiting the report on Root before making the final decision. Both players will miss their team’s games this weekend and will find out Monday the length of their suspensions. Since Allen plays twice this weekend and Missouri just once it is hard to believe Ludwig won’t be suspended for the rematch with Missouri next Wednesday.
– Allen has extended their home winning streak to eight games dating back to January 24th. The Americans have at least one point is their last 12 home games dating back to January 10. They have won 10 of their last 12 home games with the only losses coming at the hands of Cincinnati. The Cyclones won back to back games, one in overtime and one in a shootout.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Thanks to Dianne for today’s question.
Q: What is a slew foot?
A: Here is the answer from the ECHL Rule Book on Rule 52 – slew-footing:
52.1 – Slew-footing is the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushing an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocking or kicking the opponents’ feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.
52.2 – Any player who is guilty of slew-footing shall be assessed a match penalty.
52.3 – There are no specified fines or suspensions for slew-footing, however, supplementary discipline can be applied by the commissioner at his discretion.
DID YOU KNOW: Matt Register was playing in a men’s league (Sylvan Lake Admirals) back home in Alberta when he was signed to his first pro contract by the Allen Americans part way through the 2011-2012 season.
Pretty sure it was coach/advisor Bill McDonald who was responsible for finding Matt. I will always remember Bill telling me Matt was a good sized kid (6’2″ 205) who could move the puck and score (when he signed he had 24 points in 18 games in Sylvan Lake as a defenseman) but he was so “green” they didn’t know what they had. Bill used to say, “Matt is still used to driving to the rink with all of his equipment on, that is how little experience he has.” Now everyone knows what Allen had at the time. Matt has developed into an all-star defenseman and was selected as the ECHL’s “Defenseman of the Year” in 2014 and was runner-up last season. It is great to have Matt back in Allen.