ALLEN, Texas – It is now just 44 days before ECHL teams can take the ice for the start of training camp (September 27). The Allen Americans have fallen behind the rest of the ECHL in player announcements. Allen has officially announced just five players. Only three teams; Kalamazoo, Jacksonville, and Tulsa have announced fewer.

– 15 of the 27 ECHL teams have announced 10 or more players led by Maine (17) and Fort Wayne (15). The total players announced this far is now at 250 which is less than half the 575-600 players that will be on opening day rosters.

– It is important to remember two factors that impact the number of player announcements. One, some teams/coaches don’t like to make these announcements while they are in the middle of recruiting. There are many good reasons not to show your hand to other teams and players who you have signed. The flip side is player announcements are seen as a way to build enthusiasm in the offseason and it helps the sales and marketing staffs.

The second factor impacting the number of player announcements is the trend of more NHL/AHL contracted players being assigned to ECHL teams. This impacts how many players ECHL teams will sign. You can expect to see 10+ contracted players on many ECHL rosters this season. Some of this can be attributed to the new rule adopted by the ECHL Board of Governors (BOG) about the number of games contracted players must play in the AHL to qualify for the ECHL playoffs. For players that are not veterans who are on AHL deals, there is no longer a minimum number of AHL games they need to play to be eligible for the ECHL playoffs. The old rules required five games in the AHL. This rule change should mean more depth players signed to AHL deals that may not play in any AHL games but will still be eligible for ECHL playoffs. The trendsetter last season was Toronto, who had 15 contracted players assigned to ECHL Kelly Cup champion, Newfoundland Growlers.

Roster Update

– The Americans official roster still stands at five players. Allen recently traded defenseman Dalton Thrower off to Jacksonville for defenseman Kayle Doetzel. While I am sure head coach Steve Martinson would not make this trade without knowing Doetzel would sign, there has been no official announcement he has signed.

Here is the current roster:

Forwards

Spencer Asuchak
Mike Hedden
Jacob Doty
Braylon Shmyr

Defensemen

Ben Owen

–  While only five players have been officially announced, Martinson is very busy on several fronts. While he has more players already signed, he is close on several others that will be impact players for the Americans. He is also working with Iowa to sign depth players that will split time between Iowa and Allen. In addition, he is lining up slots for AHL training camps (more than one team) where he can give players he has signed an opportunity to show what they can do at the next level. Finally, the process of identifying who he will send to the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City to play with the Minnesota Wild team is also ongoing.

– Nothing new to report on the sale of the Allen Americans other then the effort is progressing and there is interest in buying the team. If a deal is to get done it should happen in the next month or so.

– A few former Allen Americans signed with new teams this past week:

Chris Crane – Chris finished last season with the Toledo Walleye and just signed with the Wichita Thunder.
Jaynen Rissling – Jaynen played in England last season and just signed with the South Carolina Stingrays.
Kyle Neuber – Kyle most recently played in Australia and just signed with the Florida Everblades.

– A while back I included the list below of names I hear from fans they would like to see make a return to Allen. Here is my take on all of these players as of today:

Chad Costello – signed with Krefeld (Germany)
Jamie Schaafsma – nothing official but it appears Jamie will not play in 2019-20
Matt Register – still unsigned, supposedly talking to several teams including Allen
Dyson Stevenson – signed with Utica (AHL)
Colby MacAuley – signed with Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)
Greger Hanson – retired
Gary Steffes – nothing official but appears he will once again play a fill-in role as needed for Allen
Bryan Moore – signed with Cleveland (AHL)
Olivier Archambault – officially unsigned but have heard he has signed a deal with an AHL team
Riley Gill – nothing official but Riley is still trying to get healthy and will not play
Casey Pierro-Zabotel – unsigned, still a chance he could return to Allen
Dante Salituro – nothing official but have heard he is signing with another ECHL team

Elsewhere…

– Wild.com’s Dan Meyer finished his series of interviews with the Wild affiliated coaches last week with an interview with Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. There is a link in this story to Dan’s interviews with Martinson and Iowa coach Tim Army if you missed them:  https://www.nhl.com/wild/news/coach-catchup-bruce-boudreau-080819/c-308474138

–  Here is an interview written by Andrew Zadarnowski with ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin that covers ECHL expansion and getting to a three-tiered system (NHL/AHL/ECHL) but read Crelin’s answer to the question asked about whether the fact Toronto had 15 contracted players in Newfoundland last season created a competitive imbalance. https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2019/8/11/20798589/echl-commissioner-ryan-crelin-interview-expansion-trois-rivieres-montreal-canadiens-leafs-growlers

Did You Know?

Of the many issues Allen had last season, the number of undisciplined penalties certainly stands out and needs to change in 2019-20.

Here are a few examples:

Minor Penalties – Allen led the league with 423 minor penalties. In contrast, the Kelly Cup champion, Newfoundland Growlers, took 298 minor penalties.

10-Minute Misconduct Penalties – Allen led the ECHL with 23, Newfoundland had four and the Reading Royals had one.

Game Misconduct Penalties – Allen led the league with 30. Rapid City had 20, Idaho 13 and Orlando 12. No other ECHL team reached double digits in game misconduct penalties.

Match Penalties – Allen led the league with seven match penalties. No other team had more than four. 12 teams had zero match penalties and another nine had just one.

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