Saturday, June 9, 2018

Allen Americans Update and Musings of Barry the Blogger

It has been over six weeks since the Allen Americans played their last game (April 25) but today is one to remember because it was two years ago today (June 9, 2016) the American won their second Kelly Cup and fourth consecutive championship. There have been a lot of great moments as the Americans begin their 10th year as a franchise but it is very hard to top winning four straight championships and winning all of them on home ice.

- Two of Allen's four championships (2013 & 2015) were decided in game seven and hockey can't get more exciting than game seven. That will be the case tonight as the Florida Everblades play the Colorado Eagles in game seven of the Kelly Cup finals. It will be the fifth time in ECHL history the title will be decided in game seven. By the way in the four prior Kelly Cup finals that went to game seven the home team is 2-2. However, if you are looking for a home team game seven advantage check out these stats. The game tonight will be the 44th game seven in ECHL post season history. The home team is 31-12 in game sevens and has won 18 of the last 23.

-  There are a lot of stats you could look at to predict the outcome of the game tonight in Florida but two old standbys are pretty powerful. The first goal of the game is so important as combined the Everblades and Eagles are 22-2-1 when scoring first in the playoffs and Florida is 13-0-1. The team leading after the first period stat shows these teams are a combined 14-2 and Florida is 9-0 when leading after the first period. Getting that good start will be the key to victory tonight.

- There were a lot of great story lines coming out of the Stanley Cup finals with the Capitals finally winning the championship but none better than that of  Washington's forward Jay Beagle who became the first player ever to win the Kelly Cup, Calder Cup and the Stanley Cup. Beagle has played close to 500 NHL games (all for Washington) as a hard working fourth liner. His story is one of inspiration for any young hockey player. When he was 18, Jay tried out for his hometown Western Hockey League (WHL) team, the Calgary Hitmen and was cut. He ended up playing for a tier II junior team and then attended the University of Alaska - Anchorage as a grinding forward for two years where his stat line after 67 games was 30 points (14G 16A), 133 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of -18. With his academics failing he left school at the end of his sophomore season and signed with the Idaho Steelheads at the end of the 2006-07 season. He played eight regular season games and 18 playoff games as Idaho went on to win the Kelly Cup. Beagle had one goal and two assists in his 18 playoff games with Idaho. The next season he ended up in Hershey (AHL) where he won two Calder Cups. How he got to the AHL is also an interesting story. Check it out here:

- Blake Sebring of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel did a Q&A with incoming ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. Here is that interview where Crelin talks about his background, his goals for improving the ECHL, shortening the season or playoffs, the all-star game and balancing the desires of ECHL fans while serving as a developmental league for the AHL.

 - The Allen Americans recently issued their protected but it is not a very meaningful list since you can put an unlimited number of players on the list as long as they meet the criteria which is very broad. Here is a link to the press release with all of the details:

Here are the 24 players on the Allen protected list:

Jeremy Brodeur

Olivier Archambault
Vincent Arseneau
Jared Bethune
JC Campagna
Alex Carrier
Matt Foget
Alex Guptill
Tristan King
Jonathan Lessard
Peter MacArthur
Wade MacLeod
Zach Pochiro
Tyler Poulsen
Braylon Shmyr
Casey Pierro-Zabotel

Gordie Ballhorn
Joel Chouinard
Mike Gunn
Miles Liberati
Eric Roy
Josh Thrower
Dalton Thrower
Micheal Webster

Don't read too much into this list as it represents those players that meet the criteria for being on the list and nothing more.

It is important to note that players on AHL contracts cannot be protected. Here are the players that were on AHL deals so are missing from the protected list.

Spencer Asuchak
Thomas Frazee
David Makowski
Colby McAuley
Bryan Moore
Jake Paterson
Alex Schoenborn

- The next list that will come out is the season ending roster which must be submitted to the league on June 15 (3:00 pm EDT). This list can be no more than 20 players and can only include players that signed an ECHL contract in 2017-18.

- The first day to officially sign players for the 2018-19 season is June 16. You can expect coach Martinson will sign a lot of players between June 16 and June 30 when qualifying offers are made. Only eight players can be given qualifying offers. It doesn't mean players signed will be announced. If you see your favorite player not getting a qualifying offer when the qualifying offer list is released (June 30) it could mean they are already signed.

- It is all speculation at this point but if you attended the get together at the Allen Event Center a couple of weeks ago and listened carefully to what coach Steve Martinson had to say and made a few assumptions it sounds like there is a good chance that the rookies that came in at the end of last season will return (Ballhorn, Shmyr, Foget) with the exception of Jared Bethune who is headed to college (Queen's University). You have to also assume the four veteran spots will go to Chouinard, Pierro-Zabotel, Asuchak and Frazee.

- Until the new affiliation is finalized and it is determined how many players will be assigned to Allen the number of players Martinson will have to re-sign or recruit is an unknown. The last I heard was hope the affiliation would be announced prior to the ECHL summer meetings in Las Vegas which start June 18.

- Congrats to Vincent Arseneau who signed a one way contract with Utica (AHL) this week.

 - If you follow social media you most likely saw recently that former Allen Americans forward Wade MacLeod signed with a new team in Germany (Dresden) back in April after playing for Frankfurt this past season. Wade finished the 2017-18 season with 49 points (25G 24A) in 49 games. Last week it was announced that Wade will not be playing in Dresden because he has had a reoccurrence of a brain tumor that will require surgery. Wade has gone through this surgery two times before. Wade is a fighter and he will come through this battle in the relentless way he plays hockey. Here is the "Google Translate" version of the German press release issued by the team.

"Wade MacLeod has to undergo surgery again

Shattering news for the Dresden Ice Lions: Striker Wade MacLeod, the first newcomer to the Blue-White, can not get into the preparation as planned. The 31-year-old striker will have to undergo surgery again in the weeks following a recurrent tumor. In mutual agreement, a contract was agreed. MacLeod's shirt number 19 will not be awarded this season.

Over the next few weeks fans and supporters will have the opportunity to write down the best wishes for recovery on a special jersey print in the EnergieVerbund Arena, which will then be forwarded to the striker. The start date for the action is in the communicates the next few days.

Wade MacLeod: "Of course the re-operation is a setback for me. I'm extremely disappointed, but I'm not giving up. I can promise everyone that I will fight back again this time."

Thomas Barth, sports manager at the Dresden Ice Lions: "The fate of Wade touches us very much. We wish him all the best for the healing process, we are in close contact with him. His health is the focus and he should be able to focus on that for the next few months alone. In consultation with him and his advisor, we have therefore agreed to dissolve the existing contract. When Wade signals that we want to return to the ice, we are of course his point of contact."

- The pace of ECHL players signing overseas has really picked up over the last two weeks. Here is the list:

Adam Vay (G)                Rapid City to Kazakhstan
Gabriel Desjardins (F)    Fort Wayne to Sweden
Scott Jacklin (F)             Brampton to France
Mason Baptista (F)         Fort Wayne to Germany
Jordan Smotherman (F)  Manchester to Germany
Kyle Bonis (F)                Toledo to Norway
Paul Geiger (D)              South Carolina to Italy
Dylan Olsen (D)             Adirondack to England
Matt Caito (D)                Rapid City to Austria
Colin Sullivan (D)           Atlanta to France
Simon Denis (D)             Toledo to South Korea
Micheal McNicholas (F)  Indy to Norway
Ben Marshall (D)            Atlanta to Slovakia
Garrett Thompson (F)     Fort Wayne to Norway
Nolan Zajac (D)              Reading to Sweden
Josh Pitt (F)                     Kalamazoo to England
Kevin Schulze (D)          Wheeling to Sweden
T.J. Moore (F)                 Norfolk to Denmark
Evan Jasper (F)              Greenville to Denmark
Mark MacMillan (F)        Wichita to Sweden
Scott Tanski (F)               Reading to Scotland

DID YOU KNOW:  There is just one game remaining in the ECHL playoffs and David Makowski is still #3 in goals scored in the playoffs by defensemen. Jake Marto (Colorado) is #1 with seven goals in 23 games and Daniel Maggio (Fort Wayne) is #2 with six goals in 12 games. David is third in goals scored with four goals in seven games. Makowski also leads all defensemen in the playoffs in points per game average at 1.00. In seven games David had seven points (4G 3A).


  1. Barry, how did you pick Florida to win it all without mentioning that the previous champs must always be knocked off first.

    1. Unknown, Thanks for your comment and your point is well taken. I tend to look at the stats and percentages and going into this series Florida was better statistically, was the much fresher team and had home ice advantage. None of that factors in the heart of the champions. When Florida scored the first goal last night and took a first period lead it looked bleak for the Eagles as the Everblades were 9-0 with a lead after the first period in the playoffs. Colorado proved once again they never give up and it was an impressive comeback. I guess that Brabham Cup curse lives on another year with the regular season champs losing again. It is also good that the Allen Americans division has now won the last four Kelly Cups!

  2. Yes sir, thanks for the response. Sad that Colorado is moving on to the AHL. I wonder how it will all shift next year, the ECHL seems to be migrating to the EAST more. (Chad G)

  3. Proof positive that in spite of seemingly overwhelming statistics and their connection to success, they are not absolute and actually make the victory more stunning. Colorado overcame both being scored on first and not having a lead after the 1st period to hoist the Cup on the visitor's ice. Quite a feat.