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Getaway Day, Bibeau Returns, Roster Update, Martinson’s Comments, European Players in North American Leagues and More

Wednesday, February 23rd
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It is getaway day for the Allen Americans as they left this morning for Cincinnati where they will play three games against the Cyclones. The teams will play Thursday and Saturday at 6:30 pm (Allen time) and 2:00 pm on Sunday.

– Allen will have some high end reinforcements when they face the Cyclones. I attended practice yesterday and had a chance to talk to Branden Troock who has returned from an injury that has kept him out of the lineup since January 29 and Josh Winquist who was just acquired by Allen in a trade with Reading. Both players are ready to go, looked great at practice, were on the same line for practice and are looking forward to the the games in Cincinnati.

– I waited to publish the blog hoping to catch up with coach Martinson during the team’s layover in Chicago so I could get the latest information. Hopefully it was worth the wait. Martinson’s comments:

“Luckily we got out of Dallas without any problems. We were a little delayed but have plenty of time to catch our connection to Cincinnati.”

“Antoine Bibeau is meeting us in Cincinnati.”

“Dawson Butt has an ankle injury so he did not make the trip.”

“We have 17 skaters and three goalies on the trip.”

“Adding Kneen, Winquist, Troock and Bibeau to the lineup is adding four top notch players.”

“The line of Costello-Asuchak-Leppard will stay intact. Combs-Winquist-Troock will form another line.

“We will have three lines in Cincinnati that are all capable of scoring.”

“We weren’t planning on skating when we arrived in Cincinnati today, just taking the day off. We will have ice time on Friday but not everyone will practice.”

OTHER COMMENTS

–  I found out from Josh Winquist that he and Branden Troock have known each other since they were kids. They grew up in the Edmonton area, they are the same age (Josh is six months older) and their hockey careers are parallel. They were in the same youth league (Alberta Major Bantam) and both played in the Western Hockey League. They both played in the AHL right after the WHL (Troock for the Texas Stars and Winquist for the Oklahoma City Barons and Bridgeport Sound Tigers). They are now both veteran players and teammates in Allen. They also played together briefly in 2019-20 in Toledo. Their AHL and ECHL experience is also very similar:

AHL Games

  • Troock – 130 games played (.32 points per game average)
  • Winquist – 140 games played (.58 points per game average)

ECHL Games

  • Troock – 152 games played (.90 points per game average)
  • Winquist – 171 games played (1.01 points per game average)

– More good news came from coach Martinson after practice. Defenseman Nolan Kneen was released from his PTO with Charlotte and is back with the Allen Americans. Nolan played 14 games during his loan to Charlotte and had six points (1G, 5A) with a plus/minus of +3. Kneen played so well on his loan to Charlotte, I figured he had earned a SPC (Standard Player’s Contract). I assume he just got caught up in a numbers game as contract defensemen returned from injury or were assigned by Charlotte’s NHL affiliates (Seattle, Florida). I know the number of ECHL players being loaned to AHL teams has gone down since the NHL taxi squads have been disbanded, but don’t be surprised if some other AHL team asks for Kneen. He is a free agent in the AHL and could go to any team.

OTHER COMMENTS

– As the regular ECHL season winds down, one stat that always comes to mind is this. The Kelly Cup has not been won by a team finishing lower than seventh in the regular season since at least 2005.

In 2012 the Florida Everblades finished seventh and went on to win the Kelly Cup. In 2016 (Allen) and 2007 (Idaho) finished sixth in the regular season and won the Kelly Cup. In every other season since 2005 the Kelly Cup winner finished in the top five during the regular season. Here are the current top eight ECHL teams in points percentage, the Kelly Cup contenders with about 30% of the season remaining are. It is highly likely the 2022 Kelly Cup champion is on this list and it is even more likely it is one of the top five on this list:

  • .744 – Toledo
  • .633 – Jacksonville
  • .638 – Newfoundland
  • .631 – Reading
  • .630 – Utah
  • .615 – Trois Riviéres
  • .612 – Florida
  • .612 – Atlanta

– Here is the regular season points percentage for the last six Kelly Cup winners:

  • .618 – Fort Wayne (2021)
  • .653 – Newfoundland (2019)
  • .708 – Colorado (2018)
  • .688 – Colorado (2017)
  • .618 – Allen (2016)
  • .736 – Allen (2015)

– I posted a chart on ECHL Stats from eliteprospects.com that compares the number of players from seven European countries (Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany) playing in various North Americans leagues this season versus 2010. I added up the totals for all seven countries and here are the results by league. The number of European players in 2022 is the first number, the second number is from 2010:

  • NHL – 283 vs 198
  • AHL – 189 vs 117
  • ECHL – 27 vs 16
  • NCAA – 100 vs 23
  • USHL – 36 vs 19
  • CHL – 102 vs 105 (OHL/WHL/QMJHL)

You can see from the data above a lot more European hockey players coming to play in the NHL and at US colleges. The only leagues with fewer players than in 2010 is in the Canadian major junior leagues but that may be because of the COVID rules.

– Five players have reached the 50 point mark this season. Jack Combs has 44 points but remember, he missed 10 games with an injury. Here are the top five ECHL players in points:

  • 57 points (21G, 26A) – Chad Costello, Allen
  • 53 points (14G, 39A) – Will Graber, Fort Wayne
  • 51 points (22G, 29A) – Blake Winieki, Florida
  • 50 points (22G, 28A) – Darik Angeli, Kansas City
  • 50 points (22G, 28A) – John McCarron, Florida

– Jackson Leppard has 15 goals on just 67 shots for a shooting percentage of 22.4%. Chad Butcher has seven goals on 31 shots for a shooting percentage of 22.6%. The Americans team shooting percentage is 11.4%.

DID YOU KNOW:  Josh Winquist will be the 38th player to play for Allen this season. That is actually at the low end of players used by ECHL teams. Fewer contract players could be part of the reason for the low number. Four teams have already used 50+ players this season.

  • 58 – Worcester
  • 58 – Trois-Riviéres
  • 50 – Fort Wayne
  • 50 – Maine

Here are the number of players used by Allen in each season since joining the ECHL:

  • 38  2021-22 (thru 47 games)
  • 52  2020-21
  • 41  2019-20 (shortened season, 62 games)
  • 45  2018-19
  • 41  2017-18
  • 42  2016-17
  • 46  2015-16
  • 41  2014-15

The post Getaway Day, Bibeau Returns, Roster Update, Martinson’s Comments, European Players in North American Leagues and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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