Have had a lot of questions after the update post the other day about what is happening with specific players in regards to returning to Allen for next season so thought it might be helpful to give the tried and true "WAG" (wild ass guess) for everyone that was on the roster at the end of last season. For those of you that can't wait for the start of hockey season and stay engaged all through the summer this is an exercise you may have been going through yourself. Some are easy to figure out but many are not so here goes.
- Five have already been announced as returning for next season so they are easy. Chad Costello, Nolan Descoteaux, Aaron Gens, Riley Gill & Kevin Young will all be returning.
- Spencer Asuchak (signed one way deal in AHL), Tyler Ludwig (retired), & Brian McMillin (signed in France) won't be back unless something changes during the season.
- Justin Baker, Kyle Follmer, Greger Hanson, Ian Schultz, and Gary Steffes were all given qualifying offers by the Americans so unless they sign in Europe (very unlikely at this point) or get an AHL deal, their only option would be a return to Allen. Would assume they will all return for next season with the possible exception of Follmer. Baker, Hanson, Schultz and Steffes were all major contributors last season during the regular season and playoffs and are most likely still hoping for AHL deals so you can understand their delay in signing with Allen. Kyle Follmer played in 45 regular season games and just four playoff games so you would have to speculate if he was returning he would have signed during the qualifying period which ended August 1st.
- If you recall, the Americans only gave qualifying offers to seven players even though they could have by ECHL rule given eight qualifying offers. It would indicate players like Jesse Messier and Patrik Valcak will not be returning to Allen. Garrett Clarke also falls into this category but he has always been the type of player that coach Martinson appreciates. His agitator role along with his versatility in playing both forward and defense makes me think he might be back even though he is an unrestricted free agent. He may have already been signed and not announced.
- Jamie Schaafsma and Trevor Ludwig were also not given qualifying offers most likely because they are veterans and could eventually become free agents even if protected. It is difficult to see both of them returning given the fact the team is only allowed four veterans on the active roster and it would mean not bringing in any new vets this year. It is possible only one of the two returns and who it is may be decided on need, cost or even age. Two defensemen aren't returning (Tyler Ludwig & Konrad Abeltshauser), Trevor lives in the area and is two years younger than Jamie. Jamie lives in Canada, is older but was the team captain last year, has been the most durable player on the team the last three years and always makes the championship finals. If cost (salary, housing, insurance, travel etc.) becomes a big factor and only one is signed you would have to guess Trevor would be signed, but let's hope some how, some way, both of these guys return.
- The other group of players that are mostly unknowns as to whether they will return are those players that were in Allen for the playoffs but are under AHL contracts. The exception is Konrad Abeltshauser who was traded by San Jose to St. Louis after the season so he will not be returning to Allen. Vincent Arseneau, Chris Crane and Dyson Stevenson should be back in Allen if they don't make their AHL team.
- San Jose will also assign a goalie to Allen and again that will depend on NHL & AHL training camps and goalie play is always a wild card but Joel Rumpel could be the goalie assigned to Allen. This is definitely a wait and see.
- Rylan Schwartz will miss the first part of the season and the best guess is he will sign with Allen once he is ready to play.
- Tanner Eberle is a special case as you recall he signed in Allen, played in five games, was recalled to the AHL and was injured. He is an unrestricted free agent but should be back in Allen if he does not get an AHL deal.
- Finally, you can't do a WAG post without mentioning Jack Combs who is also a free agent at this point. He has not signed in Europe according to eliteprospects.com and has also not signed with any AHL or ECHL team. While it is still in the unlikely to happen category there is a possibility he could return to Allen. It will take a special set of circumstances for everything to fall the right way but as long as Chad Costello is with Allen there is a chance.
- So there you have some food for thought on everyone from last season. If it all falls as predicted there will only be a few new faces on the team. Some of the new faces will be assigned by San Jose and some will be players Martinson has recruited but the bottom line is for the first time in team history there will be a lot of familiar faces on the opening night roster.
DID YOU KNOW: At this time one year ago the Allen Americans had signed and announced eleven players versus five this year. Here are the eleven players that were signed at this time last year.
Young (D), Jamie Schaafsma (F), Tyler Ludwig (D), Jonathan Lessard (F),
Trevor Ludwig (D), Travis Ouellette (C), Garrett Clarke (D), Jeremy
Beaudry (D), Aaron Gens (D), Sy Nutkevitch (C), Raphael Girard (G)