I want to start this morning by thanking you for hanging in with me as this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season winds down. I can see from the number of page views each day the interest is waning. I was encouraged this morning to wake up and see so many insightful comments about the team in general and specifically about the list of veterans I talked about yesterday. Thanks to Jon, Andrew, Gilley, Mark and Kari for the comments at the end of yesterday’s post. Here is some additional information based on your questions and comments.
– The number of players Allen has used this season is not any different than in the past so that is not the root cause of the poor season. The number may go up one or two if Martinson brings in amateurs. Here is the number of players on the Allen roster for each of their five ECHL seasons. You will note the year they used the most players Allen won the Kelly Cup.
41 – 2018-19
41 – 2017-18
42 – 2016-17
46 – 2015-16
41 – 2014-15
– Tulsa has used 36 players this season. The range of players used goes from 53 by Atlanta, who is fourth in winning percentage in the South Division, to 28 by Cincinnati who is the top team in the league. There are good teams that have used a lot of players (Orlando and Maine have used 51) and there are non playoff teams that have not used a lot of players (Indy and Wheeling have used 39). Systems and skill have as much to do with chemistry as playing with the same players all of the time. The best example of this for the Americans this season is Dante Salituro and Riley Bourbonnais who had instant chemistry and became the top two point scorers on the team.
– Another issue that was raised was about the motivation of players not interested in moving up to the AHL and whether this contributed to the lackluster performance this season. That could be a factor but in my opinion it is much more complex than that. If you look at the Americans two Kelly Cup champions there were plenty of players not looking to move up to the AHL and were just focused on winning in Allen. Led by three time MVP Chad Costello and Riley Gill but also players like Jamie Schaafsma, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Aaron Gens, Kevin Young, the Ludwig brothers and Brian McMillin who were not focused on moving to the AHL. In my opinion what distinguished the championship teams were how tight they were on and off the ice. I think Martinson’s goal is to have a core group of top experienced players in Allen all season supplemented with younger players that can move to the AHL.
– There are as many opinions about veterans as there are names on the potential veteran list. With only four veterans allowed on the active roster it is a resource that is critical to success. It will be one of coach Martinson’s toughest tasks to determine the four vets he will sign.
– This is the time of year where fans start to count up games to see who will become a veteran for the first time. As a reminder, if you are a game counter 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)
– Some current and former Allen players that will become veterans next season include David Makowski, Adam Miller, Dyson Stevenson and Vincent Arseneau who all passed the 260 games threshold during this season. Miller is the most interesting case since he is 34 and just becoming a veteran. The reason is he played seven years overseas in leagues that don’t count toward vet status.
– Allen is practicing in the afternoon this week (2:45-3:45) in the community rink and everyone is invited to attend. With the kids on Spring break it is a good chance to stop by and watch practice.
– Some good news for Allen and a surprise after coach Martinson’s comments to the season ticket holders after the game on Sunday was Jake Doty participating in practice yesterday. Doty left the ice on Sunday after a fight and did not return. There was fear he was injured and would be out of the lineup.
– C.J. Motte took part in a portion of the practice and is getting closer to returning. Per coach Martinson it is not expected Motte will play on Sunday.
– Etienne Boutet was a full participant in practice and he should be back in the lineup on Sunday. Kevin Sundher is still practicing in the yellow no contact jersey so he is getting closer to being ready to play.
– Chase Lang and Mitch Maloney did not practice as they are still recovering from upper body injuries. Lang was injured in practice and hasn’t played since February 16. Maloney was injured when he crashed head first into the goal post last Saturday.
– Curt Gogol will not play against Wichita on Sunday. He will be serving a one game suspension after receiving a game misconduct penalty on Tuesday. Gogol was penalized under rule 46.22 which calls for an automatic one game suspension for instigating an altercation in the last five minutes of a game.
– There were only three games in the ECHL last night but they were all exciting. Florida came back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Orlando in a shootout. Cincinnati trailed Fort Wayne 4-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game and scored four unanswered goals to beat the Komets. The game winner was scored with 19 seconds left in the game by a rookie defenseman playing his first pro game. The third comeback of the night saw Atlanta come back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score and eventually win in a nine round shootout against South Carolina. The game was also unique as there were only two penalties called, both against South Carolina.
– There is only one game on the ECHL schedule tonight as Rapid City is in Utah to take on the Grizzlies. These teams are in the midst of playing each other six straight games. The first three games were in Rapid City and the Rush won all three. The next three games will be in Utah.
– Five of the last six Kelly Cup champions have had regular season winning percentages above .682. The only exception was Allen who had a winning percentage of .618 when they won the 2016 Kelly Cup. With the season winding down there are just four teams with a winning percentage above .618. The odds are one of these four teams will be the 2019 Kelly Cup champion. Here is the list:
.775 – Cincinnati
.722 – Florida
.680 – Newfoundland
.627 – Toledo
DID YOU KNOW: Here is another interesting stat I found and posted on my ECHL Stats Twitter account (@ECHLStat). In the last 10 seasons there have been just six players in the ECHL who have played in 50 or more playoff games and averaged a point per game. Two of them won championships in Allen. Here are the six:
1.258 – Chad Costello
1.177 – Trent Daavettila
1.135 – Ryan Hayes
1.032 – Andrew Rowe
1.017 – Greger Hanson
1.000 – Shawn Szydlowski