Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Practice Update, Roster Update, ECHL Playoff Update, Quad City to SPHL, Breakdown of Allen Roster by Games Played

As I sat and watched the tail end of practice yesterday I started to reflect on how much the Allen Americans roster has changed since the team started the season winning their first three games by scores of 8-3, 5-3 and 6-2. It is a given that all ECHL teams have to deal with injuries, callups and turnover because of trades. Allen is actually in the middle of the pack when it comes to the number of players used during the season. The Americans have used 39 players this season. There are 10 ECHL teams that have used fewer than 39 players with Kalamazoo the leader having used just 27. There are 15 teams that have used more than 39 players led by Wheeling who has used 55.

-  On the ice yesterday at practice were two players in yellow no contact jerseys. Tristan King got injured in his first game with Allen after being acquired in a trade with Quad City. Zach Hall has been with the team all season but has been plagued by injuries and as played in only 23 games. Neither player will be in the lineup on Wednesday.

- There were seven forwards at practice that have played less than 10 games with Allen and four with less than five.

- Who wasn't at practice may say more about how the season has gone than who was at practice yesterday. Olivier Archambault, Vincent Arseneau, David Makowski, Colby McAuley, Alex Schoenborn and Stephon Williams are all playing in the AHL. If and when any of these players will return is unknown. I did do some checking regarding Makowski and my reporting is the Barracuda only have seven healthy defensemen so until they get one of the injured defenseman back Makowski is needed in San Jose. The Barracuda don't play again until Friday night. Since David has not been playing it is too bad he can't return to Allen for the crucial game against Wichita tomorrow (Wednesday) night and then return to San Jose for their next game on Friday. Wishful thinking.

- There have been four players that Allen has really missed. They have been gone for most of the season and their unavailability was unexpected.

Riley Gill - First and foremost is the reigning ECHL Goalie of the Year Riley Gill. As a reminder of what Gill brings to the table he is a three time Kelly Cup champion who is the winningest playoff goalie in the 30 year history of the ECHL. His record last season was 32-7-2-0, his GAA was 2.22 and his save percentage was .935. Riley had seven shutouts and didn't allow a shootout goal all season. Who would have predicted when Riley got hurt in his second start of the season it would be his last game of the season. The most frequent question I get asked is whether Gill will return for the playoffs. There has been no official word from the team or Riley but it is clear the answer to that question is no he will not return.

Peter MacArthur - Peter suffered a season ending shoulder injury on December 22. A point per game player last season as the captain of the Adirondack Thunder his veteran presence has been missed on and off the ice.

Olivier Archambault - Olivier is one of the most dynamic players ever to play for the Allen Americans. He has played 19 games for Allen this season and averaged 1.63 points per game. Everyone was thrilled when he recently signed a standard player's contract (SPC) with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) through the 2018-19 season. While Archambault's talent is off the charts the four year pro had limited success in the AHL prior to this season. In 2016-17 he had no callups to the AHL and in 2015-16 he played just six games in the AHL with no points. I am sure coach Martinson expected Archambault would play more than 19 games in Allen and would be with the Americans for the playoffs. He will not be in Allen for the playoffs.

Jonathan Lessard - This is the fourth unexpected loss for Allen this season. For personal reasons that make perfect sense if you know the story, Jonathan made the decision to move to France at the beginning of December. Lessard brought both scoring and toughness to the team. The timing of his departure was unfortunate and it caught coach Martinson by surprise. Had he known Lessard was about to leave, Martinson would not have traded Tanner Eberle who was a similar type of player. He traded Tanner just a couple of weeks prior to Lessard's departure.

- There are 11 days left in the regular season and the Americans will be relying on seven forwards that were all playing elsewhere at the beginning of March. They will join with Pierro-Zabotel, Guptill, Moore and Pochiro to try and get Allen into the playoffs. The unanswered question is will any other forwards be added from those in the AHL or will Martinson sign additional amateurs.

- If the playoffs were to start today Allen would be out as they would lose the first tiebreaker (regular season wins not including shootout wins) to Tulsa. The Western Conference matchups would be Toledo vs Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne vs Cincinnati in the Central Division. The Mountain Division would have Colorado vs Tulsa and Idaho vs Wichita.

- There are only 11 days remaining in the season but only five teams have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Those already making tee times are Brampton, Norfolk, Greenville, Quad City and Rapid City.

- If you look at the teams that are playing the best hockey as the playoffs approach it is no coincidence they are all teams that are at the top of the standings. Here are the best records in the ECHL over the last 10 games. If you look at the list below they are seven of the top eight teams in the ECHL in points. The only team missing from the list below is Fort Wayne who is 5-3-2-0 in the last 10 games. The Kelly Cup champion will very likely come from this list.

9-1-0-0 - Florida
8-2-0-0 - Toledo
7-2-0-1 - Idaho
7-2-0-1 - Adirondack
7-3-0-0 - Colorado
7-3-0-0 - South Carolina
7-3-0-0 - Manchester

- The race for the Brabham Cup, given to the team with the most points in the regular season is still very much up for grabs. There are five teams that have at least 90 points led by Toledo with 99 points. Here is the list with points and games remaining home and away.

99 points - Toledo (2H, 2A)
98 points - Florida (4H, 3A)
94 points - Colorado (3H, 2A)
93 points - South Carolina (3H, 4A)
91 points - Fort Wayne (3H, 3A)

With seven games remaining including four at home and a record of 9-1-0-0 over the last 10 games Florida would have to be the favorite for the Brabham Cup.

- Came across the article written by Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal Star that has a small section on Quad City having a SPHL franchise within the next 30 days. http://www.pjstar.com/sports/20180326/eminian-rivermen-poised-to-clinch-top-spot-visit-from-qc-and-key-d-man-might-be-on-way

- I have four FREE loge tickets (second level) for the game against Wichita tomorrow (Wednesday) night. Coach Martinson has described this game as the mot important game of the season. The face value of these tickets is $45 each. I will have a drawing for the tickets late this afternoon, notify the winner and leave the tickets at will call. If you are interested let me know by email (janssenfamily@msn.com). All I need is your name and whether you are interested in two or four tickets. The tickets are in the end of the rink where the Zamboni enters the ice. Good luck!

DID YOU KNOW: Allen has played 66 games this season. Here is a breakdown of the 21 players on the current Americans roster by games played.

60+      4 players (Pierro-Zabotel, Chouinard, Roy, J. Thrower)
50-60   5 players (Gunn, Liberati, D. Thrower, Moore, Asuchak)
40-50   1 player (Guptill)
30-40   2 players (Pochiro, Brodeur)
20-30   1 player (Hall)
10-20   0
0-10     8 players (Frazee, Carrier, Campagna, Shmyr, Bethune, Poulsen, King, Paterson)    

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