There has been a lot of activity this past week so thought it would be a good time to try to gather as much of it as possible into one blog post. If you are a regular user of social media there may not by much new but for the others there certainly will be, so here goes.

ALLEN AMERICANS:

– Brian McMillin has signed to play in the top French league (Ligue Magnus) for next season and will be playing for the Ducs de Dijon (Dijon Dukes) which play in Dijon, France. Dijon is in eastern France about 200 miles southeast of Paris. And yes it is where Dijon mustard originated in 1856 when the acidic green juice of not quite ripe grapes was substituted for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe. The regular season is just 26 games long and will start in mid September and finish in mid February.

– Tyler Ludwig is retiring and will not return. Pretty nice way to leave the game with three straight championships. Best of luck to Tyler, Taylor and family!

– Coach Martinson is hard at work trying to get players signed before qualifying offers are due tomorrow (Tuesday, June 30) at 11:59 EDT. He expects to have six players signed by the deadline.

– Martinson will utilize all eight qualifying offers which carry with them a minimum of a 5% increase in salary. By making a qualifying offer he will be able to protect the rights to these players. If you combine the six players he hopes to have signed, the players who have AHL contracts that he can’t sign, and those players he knows won’t be back, he should have enough qualifying offers available to protect every player he is interested in.
– With the NHL draft just completed Martinson has not had an in-depth conversation with San Jose on what players might be assigned to Allen. He will attend the Sharks development/prospects camp which starts July 5th and will have a much better idea at that time how things might look for the Americans. The relationship between Martinson and San Jose is outstanding which makes things work for both parties. It is also great for players that sign in Allen.
– Martinson has not signed any new players yet with most of the effort this past week concentrating on re-signing players from last year and getting all of the qualifying offers prepared and sent out.
– It will be interesting to see the list of those that get qualifying offers. Because veterans can become unrestricted free agents on September 1st, even if they are given a qualifying offer, some teams do not give qualifying offers to veterans. I would not expect to see qualify offers used on all of the Allen veterans if they are not signed by tomorrow. There might be an exception but some of the veterans may not be protected which doesn’t mean they won’t be back if they are interested in returning to Allen.

– The ECHL releases qualifying offers for all teams (unlike the CHL) so look for the complete list to be released on Wednesday, at least last year it was released on July 1st.

AROUND THE ECHL

– Won’t go through all of the activity around the league but some high profile players have already signed to play in Europe. Here are some that played in the ECHL Central Division or for the Allen Americans in the past along with some former Allen players that have been traded or retired.

Sebastien Thinel – The long time CHL player who played many years in Odessa and has been the Missouri Mavericks captain for the last four years is headed to France where he will play for Grenoble.

Jesse Schultz – The long time Rapid City Rush forward and leading scorer has signed in Germany.

Erick Lizon – The long time Wichita Thunder bad boy who led the team in penalty minutes has signed in Great Britain (Nottingham).

Devin DiDiomete – Devin played for a short time with Allen this year before going to Missouri and then finishing the season in Idaho. He has signed in Slovakia.

Mario Lamoureux – The leading scorer for the Quad City Mallards has signed in Denmark.

Mark Guggenberger – The former Allen Americans goaltender (2013-2014) has signed to play in Hungary for next season.

Mike Berube – The longtime Allen defenseman who was the team captain for the 2013-2014 CHL championship and played in England (Nottingham) this past season has announced his retirement.

Alex Lavoie – Alex was the third leading scorer for the Florida Everblades this season after setting many rookie records for Allen in the 2013-2014 season. Alex has been traded from Florida to the Gwinnett Gladiators.

Matt Register – Another former Allen player who was the ECHL Defensemen of the Year two years ago and runner-up this past season. Matt has been traded from Ontario to Gwinnett.

Judd Blackwater – Judd played for Allen in 2010-2011 and was in Ontario last season. He has signed to play for a team in Hungary next year which plays in the Austrian League.

Colton Yellow Horn – The long time Allen favorite will move from Japan where he played this past season to Austria League for the upcoming season. He will play for a team in the Czech Republic.

ECHL LEAGUE MEETINGS

– Congrats to the Allen Americans who won the “Award of Excellence” for the best website in the ECHL.

The Allen Americans won best website at the ECHL Annual Meetings
The Allen Americans won best website at the ECHL Annual Meetings

– The biggest news coming out of the ECHL meeting was the change in overtime and shootout rules. The ECHL will follow the lead of the NHL in the 2015-16 season with fewer skaters in overtimes and in shootouts. The ECHL will now allow just three skaters during the five-minute overtime instead of the four used this past season. And the number of shooters in a shootout will be reduced from five to three, only going beyond three if there has not been a winner determined with those first three shooters. Based on the experience in the AHL this year where they had three minutes of 4 on 4, followed by four minutes of 3 on 3 many fewer games will go to a shootout. In 2014-2015, the AHL witnessed 75% of its games end in overtime compared to 35.3% the year before under the 4 on 4 format. Since Allen had one of the worst overtime/shootout records in the ECHL last season these changes are welcome news. For the record Allen was 3-6 in overtime games and in shootouts scored just 9-39 or .231 percent which was the fourth worst percentage in the league.

– Have not seen any other rule changes for next year reported out of the league meetings but have been told there will in fact be some changes that will impact rosters. Will have to wait on the specifics. The ECHL will put out a recap of the Board of Governors meeting from last week which will have more details on other rule/roster changes for next season.

OTHER ITEMS

– Former Allen player, Liam Huculak (2009-2011), recently started working for the Bakersfield Condors (AHL) as the Director of Business Development. If you recall, Liam had an interesting background as he graduated from Colgate University with major in environmental geography and a minor in theater. He also recently got married. Congrats Liam/Hooch!

– Just like the hockey team the Allen Ice Angels are already preparing for next season. The Ice Angels received so much great publicity throughout the playoffs and Allen is so lucky to have such a great group of professionals entertaining at each and every game. Prep classes for auditions start July 10th and auditions are August 9th.

– If you have an interest in tracking the players that have been signed by all 28 ECHL teams check out thesinbin.net as they have done all of the work to compile this information. It is always current and all you have to do is click on the “ECHL Transactions” tab. I will include the info on the Central Division in my blog updates but the complete list will be at thesinbin.net.

– Here are the players that have been signed and announced by the four Central Division teams. Expect many additions to this list this week as there are many players signed but not announced.
Allen (0) – None
Missouri (2) – Andrew Courtney (F), Tanner Fritz (F)
Tulsa (4) – Phil Brewer (F), Kevin Carr (G), Kevin Noble (D), Adam Pleskach (F)
Wichita (0) – None

– The Americans had more than their share of serious injuries this season with Brian McMillin, Jesse Messier and Ian Schultz all having fractures with long recovery times of 4-6 months. Tough to see the x-rays of those fractures with screws holding things together. Hope they are all back to 100% next season. Ian just had his surgery recently so he will miss the start of the season.

– On a more pleasant note here are couple of videos you might enjoy if you haven’t already seen them. The first is produced by the ECHL and it is their weekly show which covers the playoffs and championship. It is 36 minutes long but worth the time. The second video is produced by the Allen Americans and is just four minutes long.

DID YOU KNOW: Salaries increase as a player moves from the ECHL to the AHL to the NHL but so does their per diem, the money they get each day on the road for meals and incidentals. Here are the per diem rates by league for the past season. Incidentally, the ECHL per diem increases $1 to $40 next season.
ECHL – $39 per day
AHL   – $69 per day
NHL   – $103 per day

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