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Barry the Blogger Gets Update from Coach Costello

Saturday, June 4th
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I had a chance to sit down with Chad Costello to get an update on a variety of topics related to his transition from player to coach and his recruiting process for the 2022-23 season. My first question for Chad was what his bike was doing in his office? I know where he lives and as a bike rider myself, a 20+ mile commute from his home to his office is not easy. Turns out Chad’s dad and brother are serious off road bikers so the skill runs in his family.

– Allen released its protected list this week. It is the first step in the establishing the Americans roster for 2022-23. The protected list is comprised of every player that Allen holds the rights to, based on the ECHL criteria and there is no maximum number of players that can be on the list. Here are the 34 players on Allen’s protected list. This list doesn’t tell you much since it is everyone that Allen could but on the list (except Costello himself).

Luke Peressini, Nick Albano, Ben Carroll, Kris Myllari, Darian Skeoch, Nolan Kneen, Jake Kearley, Philip Beaulieu, Andrew Jarvis, Eric Roy, Miles Liberati, Sam Ruopp, Lester Lancaster, Will Lochead, Turner Ottenbreit, Corey Durocher, Chad Butcher, Josh Winquist, Branden Troock, Justin Young, Colby McAuley, Spencer Asuchak, Jack Combs, Jackson Leppard, Jared Bethune, J.D. Dudek, Gavin Gould, Zach Hall, Kelly Bent, Josh Lammon, Scott Conway.

– Next up on the critical dates list is settling the outstanding future considerations deals, which have to be completed by a week from Monday (June 13th). You can expect to see a lot of activity on the transactions list next week as these deals get completed all around the ECHL. The ECHL is like most pro sports when it comes to the trade deadline, teams in the playoffs or battling for the playoffs become buyers while teams with no chance of the playoffs become sellers. Kansas City and Wichita were sellers who traded top players for futures which will turn into players for next season. Buyers included Florida who added top scorers from other teams to help in the playoffs. Allen was also a buyer, adding Josh Winquist and Colby McAuley (among others) down the stretch. Winquist was Allen’s leading scorer in March with 12 goals in 12 games (no other player had more than seven). Winquist also led the Americans in plus/minus (+8) in March. Winquist had four game winning goals down the stretch including two in overtime. After McAuley was acquired right at the trade deadline he played in nine games between the regular season and the playoffs and had eight points (5G, 3A). Colby had a goal and assist in each of the last two regular season games when the playoffs were still in doubt. You can certainly make the argument Allen would not have made the playoffs with out the acquisition of Winquist and McAuley.

– Future consideration trades can run the gamut from a set amount of money, to a specific player, to picking from a fixed number of players, to a mutually agreed upon player or any combination of these. It is also important to remember the terms of a future considerations trade can change as long as both parties are in agreement. The number of players and names of players can change. The bottom line is general manager Costello will be busy this week satisfying his future consideration trades.

– Costello has spent a lot of time on the phone talking to players to gauge their interest in returning to Allen. Chad said he has already talked to 90% of the players. Some players are a definite yes, some will come back to Allen if they don’t go to Europe and some will return if they don’t get an AHL deal. What Chad did tell me is he feels good about the number of players that are interested in Allen if they play in the ECHL.

– There is nothing new to report on an NHL/AHL affiliation for the 2022-23 season. The Americans are reaching out to several NHL teams to try and find the right fit. It is hard to rush these things but it would sure be nice if Costello had a few AHL training camp spots to help recruit players from last season that are looking for AHL deals and also to help recruit new players.

– Chad is also working on what his staff will look like for 2022-23. You can expect some changes to the existing staff and also some new additions in terms of roles and responsibilities. It is still a work in progress but decisions will be made soon.

– Costello had a Zoom call with the league office last week to go over all of the paperwork, rules, regulations, access to information and deadlines he has to deal with as the coach and general manager. He told me the league office was very welcoming and answered all of the many questions he had put together.

– Costello is also looking into some changes in the locker room that will help the players as the rehab from injuries, warmup and help in their development. He is also looking into adopting some of the training approaches he saw in Europe where training plans and activities are individualized and monitored.

– A week from Thursday (June 16) is the first day to sign players to contracts for 2022-23 season. Costello already has some informal agreements with players but they won’t be finalized until the 16th. Allen typically spaces out player signings over the summer, but with a new coach I would expect the Americans will try to make a big splash with some early signing announcements.

OTHER COMMENTS

– The ECHL will have its summer meeting in Las Vegas June 28-30. The Board of Governors (BOG) usually meet just before the meeting. Sometimes rule changes and/or franchise changes are considered at these BOG meetings. Will have to see if there is a heads up on agenda items.

– The ECHL Defenseman of the Year, Charle-Edourad D’Astous of the Utah Grizzlies has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors, Les Lancaster and Alex Breton who moved to Europe after winning the Defenseman of the Year Award. As a defenseman, D’Astous just set the all time record for goals scored in a single playoff season with 19 goals in 18 games. You can only imagine what the record would be if Utah had made the Kelly Cup finals. D’Astous just signed to play in Finland next season and will be playing in the same league as Lancaster.

– D’Astous is one of many top players from the Mountain Divsion that will not return in 2022-23. Here is a few examples of leading scorers not returning. The annual exodus to Europe is just beginning:

  • Chad Costello, Allen, retired (72 points)
  • Jay Dickman, Wichita, signed in Slovakia (58 points)
  • Darik Angeli, Kansas City, traded to Florida for future considerations (65 points)

– There are just six individuals that have their names etched on the Kelly Cup three times and only four of them were players all three time. Two of the four are Riley Gill and Matt Register. In addition, 45 individuals have their name on the Kelly Cup twice. Ten of the 45 to have their names engraved twice were part of Allen’s back-to-back championship teams in 2015 and 2016: head coach Steve Martinson, as well as players Vincent Arseneau, Spencer Asuchak, Chad Costello, Aaron Gens, Riley Gill, Greger Hanson, Joel Rumpel, Gary Steffes, and Dyson Stevenson.

– Some former Allen players are on the move for the 2022-23 season:

  • Alex Lavoie – from Sweden to Denmark
  • Josh Atkinson – from Hungary to Germany
  • Braylon Shmyr – from Scotland to Germany
  • C.J. Motte – from England to USA (Iowa)
  • Evan Weninger – from Slovakia to France

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL stats post for today is about how many games it has taken in the Kelly Cup finals to determine a winner. Allen won 4-3 over South Carolina in 2015 and 4-2 over Wheeling in 2016. Incidentally, six years ago today on June 4, 2016, Allen took a 3-2 series lead over Wheeling when the Americans won on the road in overtime. Greger Hanson scored the game winner just 17 seconds into the overtime period.

The Kelly Cup finals pit two #1 division teams, Toledo #1 in the Central Division against Florida #1 in the South Division. It should be a great series but history says it is unlikely to go seven games. Here is a breakdown of how many games it took to crown a champion in the 31 best-of-seven finals series in ECHL history. There is an 84% chance this series will be decided in fewer than seven games:4-0: 4 times (12.9%)4-1: 14 times (45.2%)4-2: 8 times (25.8%)4-3: 5 times (16.1%)

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