With all that has happened the last few days thought a recap is in order as to what has happened with each player from last year's championship team. A couple of thoughts to keep in mind that might contribute to the large turnover. The salary cap is not expected to increase this year even though all players feel they deserve a raise after a championship season. Also, whenever a team wins a championship a lot more opportunities come the players way from Europe and the ECHL. There is always a lot of turnover but this year it will definitely be more than usual. It is no secret the team was dealing with ownership issues during last season which also created some undesirable issues. With new ownership in place the team now has security going forward and that is a good thing.
The players that are returning (Jonathan Lessard, Tyler Ludwig, Trevor Ludwig, Jamie Schaafsma) were key members of last year's team and will provide important leadership this year. So while it is difficult to lose so many players that everyone has gotten to know and appreciate the key is the new players that will be arriving in Allen for training camp. The defensive group is pretty much set with the players that have been announced and those that have been signed and not yet announced. Coach Martinson is very happy with the new defensemen led by former CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman, Kevin Young. You can expect more offense out of this group than any group in team history along with a couple of stalwart, stay at home guys mixed in.
The forwards are still a work in progress as recruiting is picking up with most European teams starting to complete their rosters for the upcoming season. North American players hoping for AHL deals who have not been signed are starting to look for a place to play. Having talked to coach Martinson this week he is close to signing some real impact forwards that will put the Americans in the hunt for a third championship. Stay Tuned.
Here is an updated list of what is happening with the players from last year:
5/30/14 - Bruce Graham signs with Nottingham (England)
6/21/14 - Bryan Pitton signs with KH Sanok (Poland)
7/8/14 - Garrett Klotz signs with Indianapolis Fuel (ECHL)
7/8/14 - Anthony Maiani signs with Rungsted (Denmark)
7/14/14 - Mike Berube signs with Nottingham (England)
7/15/14 - Kale Kerbashian signs with Evansville (ECHL)
7/16/14 - Trevor Hendrikx signs with Cardiff (Wales)
7/17/14 - Dallas Ehrhardt signs with Missouri (CHL)
7/19/14 - Brain McMillin signs with Eindhoven (Netherlands)
7/28/14 - Greger Hanson signs with Cincinnati (ECHL)
7/30/14 - Darryl Bootland signs with ECHL team
7/31/14 - Daniel Tetrault signs with Rapid City (CHL)
8/1/14 - Alex Lavoie signs with Florida Everblades (ECHL)
And for the players that have not announced what they are doing:
Phil Fox - Phil has been pursuing a coaching job and will probably not play this year
Ross Rouleau - Ross is working outside hockey and is not expected to play this year
Cain Franson - Have not heard anything recently about his plans, he was leaning to attending college
Jarret Lukin - Heard Jarret was training and plans to play again but unlikely in Allen
Jonathan Zion - Most likely will sign in Europe but have heard nothing
Steven Tarasuk - Thought to be signing in Europe but have heard nothing.
- With Darryl Bootland leaving the Americans have no players announced that are defined as veterans by CHL rules (over 300 games). Since games for most leagues in Europe don't count players such as Jamie Schaafsma with close to 450 professional games and Kevin Young with over 400 professional games are not considered veterans in the CHL. This will give Martinson lots of flexibility in recruiting veteran players.
- Talking about veterans, many have asked what the veteran rule will be this year. I have no inside information but have an inkling the veteran rule will stay the same as in the past. I base this on the fact that two CHL teams have reportedly already signed but not announced more than four veterans. Secondly, coaches around the league have said they were pleased with how the summer meeting turned out. The assumption would be the coaches prefer the current veteran rule (6 vets) while the owners and team Presidents favored a lower number (4 vets) in an attempt to save cost. If the coaches came away from the meeting pleased with the outcome they may have made a compelling case to the owners to keep the status quo. This is a Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA) issue so whatever the outcome it will have to be discussed with the PHPA.