Thursday, January 16, 2014

Allen Mid-Season Best of the Best, Pineault Injury Update & More

As the Allen Americans head down the road this morning to Arizona to begin the second half of the season it is time to reflect on the first half and pick those players that have stood out. Coach Martinson has said many times this team is still a work in progress and they are not where he wants them to be in many phases of the game. So deciding the best of anything at this point may be like giving out winners at the halfway point of a marathon, not too meaningful. With all the appropriate caveats and subjectivity here are the players that have excelled in the first half. While I made the final decisions, input was received from many others.

Most Valuable to His Team & Best Playmaker: Alex Lavoie - the team leader in virtually every offensive category, on pace to break the franchise record for points in a season and improving defensively. Alex's 46 points leads the CHL rookie scoring race by 10 points. Not much discussion on this one.

Most Underrated Player: Dallas Erhardt - another rookie who has developed into a solid blueliner as he has gained confidence. A stay at home defenseman who is a quiet guy off the ice. Others getting consideration were Daniel Tetrault and Spencer Asuchak.

Best Penalty Killer: Spencer Asuchak - a lot of discussion on this one as early in the year before he got hurt it was Jarret Lukin and recently it has been Brain McMillin but the consistency of Asuchak along with a league leading three shorthanded goals gives him the edge. The PK has been good because of a team effort as Fox, Kerbashian, & Schaafsma have also contributed.

Best On The Power Play: Tyler Ludwig - His onetimers from the blue line have been the key to the power play as he leads the team in power play goals (6) and has over half of his points on the power play. Up front Alex Lavoie and Kale Kerbashian have been the power play leaders.

Best Defensive Forward: Spencer Asuchak - there is no doubt Brian McMillin is currently the best defensive forward on the team and goes against the top line from the other team every night but looking at the entire first half the nod goes to Asuchak.

Best Defensive Defenseman: Daniel Tetrault - he usually is playing against the other teams top line, a great decision maker and leader on and off the ice.

Best Body Checker: Greger Hanson - might be an unusual choice given his size but Hanson delivers his checks with as much velocity as anyone. Pound for pound he is one of the best hitters in the league. The hardest checker on the team is Trevor Hendrikx and the most consistent finishers have been Spencer Asuchak and Daniel Tetrault.

Best Offensive Defenseman: Tyler Ludwig - not much discussion here, a unanimous choice by everyone I talked to as Tyler leads all CHL defensemen in goals (10).

Best Fighter: Garrett Klotz - Hasn't lost a fight all year. Enough said.

Best Player On Faceoffs: Alex Lavoie - this is a tough one as these stats are not kept by player but the consensus of those that pay the most attention to this is Lavoie. Asuchak & McMillin (neither natural centers) get honorable mention.

Best Shooter In Shootouts: Tyler Ludwig - This one is pure statistics and Tyler has two goals in three attempts. Kale Kerbashian is in second place with two goals in four attempts. Look for Jamie Schaafsma to step up in this category in the second half as he is always considered a threat in shoot outs.

Best Goaltender: Bryan Pitton - Another pure stat category as Bryan leads in wins (12), GAA (2.72) & save percentage (.919). Look for Mark Guggenberger to challenge these numbers in the second half.


- Exchanged messages with Monique Pineault last night and she gave me an update on Adam who is recovering from a broken jaw he suffered in early December. "Adam is doing well. We actually see the doctor tomorrow (Thursday) and he is praying the anchor bar comes off! He has been assistant coach on the bench at home games working with the defense. Adam may be back on the ice in four weeks if X-Ray's look good. Fingers crossed."

- Here is some information from the CHL with an interesting chart that compares points by team from last year to this year:
As the CHL sits in its mid-season break, one can examine which team has made the most improvement from where they stood one year ago. The Allen Americans led the way last season at the break with a 24-6-3 record en route to their regular and post-season crowns.  The Americans are still near the top sitting just one point behind the Rapid City Rush for the conference lead.  Allen is off by six points from where they were last season at this time. The biggest movers are the Tulsa Oilers who reinvented themselves in the off-season with a change in ownership and the signings of several impact players.  Tulsa is 17 points ahead of where they were last year sitting with a 19-18-2 record compared to their 10-24-3 mark one year ago. Last year, the Denver Cutthroats were an expansion club and they got out of the gate strong with a 19-13-4 record and this season they are off to a nearly identical mark sitting with an 18-10-6 record and an identical 42 points. With the Oilers showing the most improvement, the team that has fallen the same amount of points that Tulsa has improved is the Wichita Thunder who are 17 points off their pace from last season.  Wichita was 21-13-3 one year ago and this season are saddled with a 12-17-4 record.  The Thunder have been to the CHL Finals in each of the past two seasons.

The point difference is taken from this date last season although not all teams have played the identical number of games as they did at this time one year ago.
Tulsa Oilers +17
Rapid City Rush +7
Quad City Mallards +5
Missouri Mavericks +1
Denver Cutthroats E
Allen Americans -6
Arizona Sundogs -7
Wichita Thunder -17

DID YOU KNOW: The 45 points the Americans have after 34 games is the lowest point total (tied with 2011-2012) at this point in franchise history. Here are points by year after 34 games.
2013-2014 -  45
2012-2013 -  52
2011-2012 -  45
2010-2011 -  53
2009-2010 -  48

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