Not much new to report on the Allen Americans this morning as the team prepares for three big games against the Utah Grizzlies starting tomorrow night. It was a spirited practice yesterday with a few players taking a maintenance day, but everyone will be ready to go on Thursday with the exception of Chad Butcher who is on injured reserve.
– Tomorrow is trade deadline day for the ECHL and you can assume a lot of players on teams already out of the playoff picture are on the trading block. You never know what can happen, but I don’t think it is very likely the Americans make another trade before the deadline. Much more likely is the possibility Allen signs players turning professional after completing their college careers. A lot more players will become eligible as teams get eliminated from the playoffs which are in full swing right now.
– All three teams in the Ottawa, Belleville and Allen affiliation are battling to make the playoffs. All three teams are on the outside looking in as of this morning.
- Allen – The Americans are in fifth place, two points out of the last playoff spot. Allen has 16 games remaining. The last regular season game is April 15.
- Belleville – The Senators are in sixth place in the seven team North Division, but five teams make the playoffs. Belleville is one point out of the last playoff spot with 13 games remaining in the season. The last regular season game is April 16.
- Ottawa – The NHL playoff system has the top three teams in each division making the playoffs plus two wild card teams from each conference. Ottawa is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference wildcard race, six points from the second wildcard position. The Senators will have to jump four teams to get to the second wildcard spot. Ottawa has 15 games remaining. The last regular season game is April 13.
What does this all mean for the Allen Americans? If Belleville and Ottawa don’t make the playoffs, would they send help to Allen if the Americans do make the playoffs? Only one player on the NHL/AHL roster has played the five ECHL games to qualify for the playoffs. Goalie Kevin Mandolese played six games in Allen in December with a GAA of 2.45 and .927 save percentage. With all of the injuries between Ottawa and Belleville, Mandolese has spent a lot of time in Ottawa and has three NHL starts in the last month. If Ottawa and Belleville miss the playoffs will Ottawa want to get the young (22) prospect some playoff games in Allen or is that too much to ask from a goalie on the NHL roster.
– Playoffs in many European leagues are underway or will be starting soon. Here are some former Allen players on teams that are in a good position to make a splash in the playoffs:
EIHL – The Belfast Giants are the top team in the league with former Allen players Scott Conway (leads the league in goals (35) and points (79), Steve Owre and Sam Ruopp on the roster. Belfast won the regular season championship last season but lost in the playoffs to Cardiff with Matt Register and Josh Lammon on the roster.
Liiga – The top league in Finland is in the early stages of the playoffs. Les Lancaster (2021 ECHL Defenseman of the Year) plays for the #2 seed in the playoffs (Ilves). Les led all defensemen in the league in points (47), goals (13) and assists (34). The team has won 16 championships dating back to 1936. The last championship came in 1985.
Extraliga – The top team in the top league in Slovakia is Kosice. Alex Breton (2020 ECHL Defenseman of the Year) signed with Kosice at the beginning of February. Brett Pollock, who played for Allen in 2019-20 is also on the team. #1 seed Kosice had a bye in the first round of the playoffs and will play its first playoff game on Friday. The club won its eighth and most recent title in 2014-15.
There are only four ECHL games on the schedule tonight. The only Mountain Division team in action is Idaho who plays Orlando at home. Idaho has won 12 straight home games. Here is the ECHL Today with the previews: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2023/3/echl-today-march-15
– I am sure you have been waiting for 2023 Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair Teams. It is long but well worth your time. Watch to the end for the Top 10. https://youtu.be/TBW9qm_wCiw
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about goalies with the most minutes played this season. Luke Peressini leads Allen with 1696 minutes in 30 games.
The work horses. Seven ECHL goalies have played 1900+ minutes this season. Games played is in parenthesis:2425: Cam Johnson, Florida (42)2375: Shane Starrett, Kansas City (42)2140: Beck Warm, Cincinnati (36)2079: Sebastian Cossa, Toledo (36)2059: Zach Driscoll, Indy (35)1953: Daniil Chechelev, Rapid City (36)1941: David Hrenak, Greenville (35)