The official start of the 2018-19 season took place on Saturday with the first day players could be signed. Allen got out of the gate early with the announcement that player/assistant coach and leading scorer for the Americans (69 points in 72 games), Casey Pierro-Zabotel, will return. Here is the press release announcing Casey's return and the involvement of former player and assistant coach Erik Adams as the Ambassador for the tenth anniversary celebration which will include an alumni game. https://allenamericans.com/casey-pierro-zabotel-returns-erik-adams-named-ambassador-for-10-year-anniversary-team/
The Allen Americans just issued their season-ending roster. This roster can contain up to a maximum of 20 players and cannot include any players who did not sign an ECHL contract for 2017-18. Each team is entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight players from the list of 20 by extending a qualifying offer no later than June 30. Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are not required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract prior to June 30. Here is a link to the press release with all of the details: https://www.echl.com/echl-announces-2018-season-ending-rosters
Here are the 20 players on the Allen season ending list:
- It is important to note that players on AHL contracts last season cannot be on the season ending roster and are free agents. Here are the players that were on AHL deals so are missing from the list above.
- The next 10 days will be very busy for coach Martinson as he tries to sign players on the season ending roster. Since there are only eight qualifying offers for the 20 players on the list it is important to get as many players as possible signed prior to June 30. Martinson has already come to terms with many of the players on the list with more to get done this week. Some players may not want to sign because they think they can get an AHL deal or are looking to sign in Europe.
- The bottom line is much will be known by the end of the month. The 20 players on the season ending roster will have to be signed or given a qualifying offer or they will become free agents. However, there are many other moving parts in putting together the roster. Once the new affiliation is announced (my guess is in the next week) coach Martinson will get a better idea of what players will be assigned by the AHL team to Allen. He is also recruiting free agents around the ECHL and AHL and of course talking to the five players above who were on AHL deals last season.
- When players are signed and when they are announced are two different things. History says the Americans will spread out the announcements throughout the summer.
- Several former Allen Americans signed contracts this week. Tanner Eberle, who played in Jacksonville last season has signed to play for the Sheffield Steelers (England). Harrison Ruopp, who didn't play pro hockey last season, has signed with the Manchester Storm (England). Jake Marchment re-signed with the Utah Grizzlies where he ended the season and Dyson Stevenson was the first player announcement by the Wichita Thunder. Here is a video the Thunder used to announce the return of their captain. The video starts with some Dyson highlights (goals & fights) and then he talks about his return to Wichita.
- The ECHL league meetings are taking place this week. Have not heard much about potential rule changes but apparently one topic of conversation is whether the first round of the playoffs should be the best of five rather than a best of seven series.
- This time of year the definition of veteran status frequently comes up so it is always good to review. The definition of a veteran from the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is, "Veteran shall mean any player, other than goaltender, who has played in at least 260 regular season games in any recognized professional hockey league as defined by the rules." Here are the defined leagues from the CBA:
- CHL (defunct but games played count toward veteran status)
- Czech Extraliga (Czech Republic)
- Liiga (Finland)
- DEL (Germany)
- KHL (Russia)
- Slovak Extraliga (Slovakia)
- SHL (Sweden)
- National League (Switzerland)
DID YOU KNOW: It is hard to quantify the value Casey Pierro-Zabotel brings to the Allen Americans. He is a two way player that plays in all situations. He has led his team in scoring in Allen, Colorado and Atlanta. Casey has not missed a game in two years and even though he has only played 130 regular season games for Allen he is already 10th all-time on the Americans career assist list. If all goes well this season Casey will be #2 all-time on the career assist list.