– Not much new to report on the recruiting front for the Allen Americans. I did have a chance to talk to coach Martinson and as he has said in his recent interviews he has been recruiting for a while and was waiting for two things to happen before plans can move forward. One is the ECHL signing date which is still a month away with no indication the June 16 date will be changed.
– The other decision he was waiting for was the fate of the AHL season. That was answered yesterday with the announcement the AHL would cancel their 2019-20 season. With the AHL season coming to an end you can look for more attention focusing on the 2020-21 season. I know coach Martinson has been working with the Wild organization to identify players they might sign to add depth to the Iowa roster and also be a good fit in Allen. Martinson has always been an advocate of signing these depth players early in the recruiting process.
– Because of COVID 19 the dynamic in Europe has changed and recruitment for imports from North America has slowed down some and the money being offered is less. This could have an impact on recruitment for ECHL teams. Players could be available for next season that would normally be heading to Europe.
– No matter how it all plays out one thing is certain, the 2020-21 Allen team will have more grit and toughness. Martinson mentions that every time he talks about the recruiting process for next season.
– There are a lot of moving pieces in the recruiting process this year with what is happening in the AHL, Europe and the overall uncertainty with COVID 19. Coach Martinson has much of his recruiting done but has to remain flexible as there are a lot of moving pieces to the recruitment puzzle and he will have to adapt to the changes as they develop.
– I have been doing a look back at some of the players on Allen’s roster from last season for another project. Here is the latest from that look back:
Andrew Shortridge – The rookie goaltender signed a one year free agent contract with the AHL San Jose Sharks for the 2019-20 season and was assigned to Allen in January. Andrew allowed 13 goals in his first three games with the Americans. He took extra practice with Allen’s goalie coach and also put in a lot of time on video review. After those first three games Shortridge was very effective allowing just 14 goals in is last seven games before the season was canceled. In those seven games he had two shutouts and a save percentage of .932.
Stepan Falkovsky – Known as “The Falcon” and with a cannon of a shot, Stepan led the ECHL in goals by a defenseman with 15 and finished #4 in points with 41. Falkovsky also led all ECHL defensemen in power play goals (8), shorthanded goals (2) and shooting percentage (17%). The native of Belarus, Stepan was able to get back home to Minsk after the season was canceled, before flying internationally became so difficult. Falkovsky just completed a three year NHL deal he signed back in 2017 so it is doubtful he will return to North America next season.
Jared VanWormer – Jared finished his college career at Ferris State University in 2016-17 having scored a total of 25 goals in four seasons and never had a 10 goal season. He is a tenacious worker that never takes a shift off and despite his size lives in the dirty areas of the ice in front of the net and in the corners. He has improved in each of his three pro seasons. In 2019-20 he had 22 goals in 54 games, the best goal production of his pro career. Coach Martinson did not name a team captain at the beginning of the season as he made a decision to wait but when the time came he selected Jared to wear the “C.” Jared has played in 201 pro games so he is not yet a veteran (260 games). If he isn’t signed by June 30 he will be one of the up to eight players coach Martinson will give a qualifying offer.
Josh Lammon – Rookie Josh Lammon was acquired by the Americans in a trade with Florida just before the start of the 2019-20 season. A smart player who is always in the right position, he was captain of his college team (Mercyhurst) and was voted the best defensive forward in the entire league as a senior. After scoring just one goal in the first three months of the season in Allen the dam broke on January 18 when Josh had two goals and an assist in a win over Kansas City. Over the next eight games Josh had 11 points (6G, 5A). Lammon finished the season with 27 points (8G, 11A) but you get the feeling his second pro season will show he has just scratched the surface of what he can accomplish. Josh is another player I would expect to be back in Allen next season. He could get an AHL deal or sign in Europe but most likely will sign with the Americans who hold his ECHL rights.
DID YOU KNOW: It never ceases to amaze me the records Chad Costello set in his three seasons (2014-17) in Allen. Two Kelly Cups, three scoring titles and three MVP’s (two from ECHL, one from PHPA). In his three season in Allen Chad did not miss a game (regular season or playoffs) which was 276 games straight. He won his three scoring titles by 45, 34 and 23 points. I came across this stat while doing some other research which shows just how dominant Chad was in those three season. He certainly stood above the rest and had three of the best seasons in the history of the ECHL. Here are the top six players in total points, combined regular season and playoffs, from 2014-15 to 2016-17. As you can see Allen dominates this list but Chad lapped the field.
426 points – Chad Costello, Allen
263 points – Shane Berschbach, Toledo
249 points – Shawn Szydlowski, Fort Wayne
236 points – Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Florida, Allen, Colorado
234 points – Greger Hanson, Allen
207 points – Gary Steffes, Allen