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Colby McAuley and Zane Franklin Trade Deadline Details, Allen vs Kansas City Preview, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Defensemen Assist Leaders and More

Friday, April 1st
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If you track ECHL transactions, you saw a lot of activity all this week leading up to the trade deadline yesterday (3:00 pm EDT). General Manager Steve Martinson made two trades yesterday and they both show why he is the best in the business:

  • Colby McAuley – I will call this the “Hail Mary” trade or Martinson pulling a rabbit out of a hat. This story starts when McAuley and teammate Evan Wardley were traded by Idaho to last place South Carolina on March 16 for forward Ryan Dmowski. You might remember, Dmowski scored five goals in his second game for Idaho. McAuley and Wardley made a decision not to report to South Carolina which set off a scramble among many ECHL teams to obtain their rights from the Stingrays. Nothing happened because the players decided they were going home rather than join a new team for the last few weeks of the season. Once McAuley was back home in Canada, I am sure everyone was convinced he was done for the year, but not Steve Martinson. A last-minute call probably went something like this, we (Allen) are playing well, Colby was a piece Allen needed down the stretch (tough, gritty, skilled) and the Americans could face Idaho in the playoffs. It all happened quickly and Martinson was able to make a trade with South Carolina for McAuley’s rights and he was once again an Allen American. A great last minute pickup that will help down the stretch and do you think McAuley might be motivated if Allen and Idaho should meet in the playoffs.
  • Zane Franklin – The other trade Martinson made yesterday was to Reading, which was to complete the trade that brought Josh Winquist to Allen. If you recall, when the trade took place it was for future considerations. My reporting is this could have been one of several players depending on certain circumstances. At first blush, trading the rights to Zane Franklin seems like trading away the type of player Allen has missed this season. However, here is way this is a great move for Allen. Zane Franklin just finished his first season at the University of Saskatchewan, where he led the team in scoring and penalty minutes. If he was going to turn pro he would have done so after his college season was over. It means to me he will stay in school next season, so Allen gave up the rights to a player that they would not have been able to sign. In other words, Martinson acquired Winquist, who has been Allen’s best forward since he arrived in late February (12 goals in 15 games & +9) for the rights to a player the Americans would never have been able to sign.

– It is more true than ever that the next three days will say a lot about Allen’s season. It will be grueling with three games in three cities in approximately 45 hours. It starts in Kansas City tonight, then Tulsa tomorrow night and Allen on Sunday (against Tulsa). The two games against Tulsa will be critical but Allen must not look past Kansas City tonight.

– Here is the travel roster for the trip to Kansas City and Tulsa:

Goalies

  • #31 – Luke Peressini
  • #40 – Frank Marotte

Defensemen

  • #3 – Darian Skeoch
  • #4 – Kris Mylari
  • #20 – Ben Carroll
  • #23 – Nick Albano
  • #24 – Nolan Kneen
  • #25 – Phil Beaulieu

Forwards

  • #9 – Josh Winquist
  • #10 – Jackson Leppard
  • #11 – Branden Troock
  • #13 – Chad Costello
  • #16 – J.C. Campagna
  • #17 – Chad Butcher
  • #18 – JD Dudek
  • #19 – Jared Bethune
  • #21 – Jack Combs
  • #26 – Spencer Asuchak
  • #27 – Ryan Lohin
  • #41 – Tyler Poulsen
  • #49 – Dawson Butt

– Kansas City appeared to throw in the towel on the 2021-22 season yesterday. It was an uphill battle for the Mavericks to make the playoffs after the loss to Allen on Wednesday, but it was still mathematically possible. The Mavericks organization apparently decided it wasn’t going to happened as they traded their leading scorer, Darik Angeli to Florida at the trade deadline yesterday. Angeli had 65 points (28G, 37A) for the Mavericks. He led the team in points by 16 points and in goals by six. He was tied for the team lead in assists (37) and was second in plus/minus (+15).

– Allen has to be careful tonight as this could be a trap game for the Americans. It is obvious to everyone the Kansas City organization has given up on this season. The Mavericks just traded away their best player for a defenseman that has played sparingly and future considerations. Teams like Kansas City can be dangerous because the pressure to win at all costs is gone. The players can play relaxed and for a job for next season. Allen has no reason to look past the game tonight, given the struggle it was to beat the Mavericks in overtime on Wednesday, but the two games against Tulsa on Saturday and Sunday could be a distraction for the Americans.

– The game tonight will be Allen’s fifth of the season in Kansas City. The Americans record in the first four games was 2-1-0-1. Allen lost twice early in the season and won the last two games in Kansas City (February 15 & 16) by scores of 7-2 and 5-4.

– Here are some keys for tonight and the three remaining games against Kansas City:

  • Good starts, the team that has scored first has won seven of the nine games this season. On Wednesday, Allen was out shot 14-5 in the first period and gave up the first goal of the game. The Americans came back and tied the score 1-1 at the end of the first period largely because of the play of goalie Luke Peressini.
  • Take more shots, the team with the most shots has won seven of the nine games this season.
  • Play with a lead, Allen is 15-0-1-1 with a second period lead, Kansas City is 17-1-2-0.
  • Win the special teams battle, the Americans have scored more power play goals than Kansas City in just one game of the nine games this season. On Wednesday Kansas City was 1-4 on the power play, Allen was 0-3.

COACH’S CORNER WITH STEVE MARTINJSON

“It is good to get Colby McAuley back in Allen. He is the type of players that is a natural backchecker. He hunts and tracks the puck and wins puck battles. He kills penalties, has skill and is tough. He is just what we need right now.”

“We have a lot of players that are very good with the puck but not very good at getting the puck.”

“Ryan Lohin didn’t make the road trip. He is day to day and I hope he can play on Sunday.”

“I won’t make a decision on the lineup tonight (skaters) until after the morning skate. Frank Marotte will get the start in goal.”

“We have been making some bad decisions on the power play. Successful power plays react to what the penalty killers are doing. Too often we are making up our minds what to do rather than reading and reacting. On Wednesday we were shooting the puck with no traffic in front of the net.

“We have a lot of players that have been on the #1 power play unit in their college and junior careers. What we need is five guys all in sync. I have tried to give more power play time to the players that have been going well and not just players that feel they should be on the power play based on what they have done in the past.”

OTHER COMMENTS

– There is a full slate of 13 games in the ECHL tonight. The one team that is idle is Kalamazoo. Here is the ECHL Today with previews of all of the games: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2022/4/echl-today-april-1

– Here is Mountain Division schedule tonight including points percentage:

  • Rapid City (,594) at Utah (.592)
  • Idaho (.546) at Florida (.641)
  • Allen (.532) at Kansas City (.492)
  • Wichita (.452) at Tulsa (.523)

– I asked Matt Harding from Field Pass Hockey, who tracks the trades around the deadline, his thoughts on what happened this week.

“It was a busy week. Ironically, yesterday was a slower day than previous trade deadline days, with eight trades made. Prior to COVID, that day had between 10-14 trades made annually,”

“For the first time in a number of years, we saw teams like Wichita and Kansas City move top-end players to playoff contenders. Wichita was the biggest distributor of top-end talent, moving four players.”

– After the games tonight Allen and a handful of other ECHL teams will have nine games remaining in the regular season. Three teams in the Mountain Division will be down to the final six games of the regular season.

– How important are the three games this weekend for the Allen Americans? Looking at the extremes says it all. If Allen goes 3-0 it will have a points percentage of .554 and will likely be in third place with an outside chance at second place. If the Americans go 0-3 the points percentage will be .508 and they could be in fifth place, just one win above .500.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about assists by defensemen. The leaders for Allen are Phil Beaulieu (29 assists) and Eric Roy (23 assists).

The playmakers, ECHL leaders in assists by defensemen:39 – Ben Finkelstein, Newfoundland37 – Marcus Crawford, Kansas City36 – Willie Corrin, Fort Wayne34 – Randy Gazzola, Toledo34 – Mike Brodzinski, Orlando34 – Cam Clarke, Wichita (just traded to Toledo)Here are the ECHL assist leaders (defensemen) the last five seasons:47 – Matt Register, Allen (2020-21)44 – Alex Breton, Allen (2019-20)43 – Dylan Bredo, Tulsa, (2018-19)48 – Matt Register, Colorado (2017-18)47 – Kevin Schulze, Wheeling (2016-17)

The post Colby McAuley and Zane Franklin Trade Deadline Details, Allen vs Kansas City Preview, Steve Martinson’s Comments, Defensemen Assist Leaders and More appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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