As September arrives rather than thinking about the start of training camp all I can think about is three more months (best case scenario) before the Allen Americans season starts. With a tentative date for the start of the ECHL season being December 4, no date has been published for the start of training camp. Training camp typically opens two week before the season opens but there was some talk bout having a longer than usual training camp. Will have to wait and see as dates firm up over the next 60 days.
– Steve Martinson continues to sign players for 2020-21 and the team has been announcing a player each Tuesday. That will continue again this week and if everything goes as planned it will be another defenseman. Here is the current roster with each player’s combined totals from last season including all teams and all leagues.
Spencer Asuchak – 32 points (7G, 25A), 47 games, 42 PIMS
Corey Durocher – 25 points (9G, 16A), 50 games, 22 PIMS
Zane Franklin – 91 points (29G, 62A), 63 games, 89 PIMS
Josh Lammon – 27 points (8G, 19A), 54 games, 27 PIMS
Braylon Shmyr – 16 points (7G, 9A), 34 games, 25 PIMS
Jared VanWormer – 37 points, (22G, 15A), 60 games, 12 PIMS
Patrick Watling – 34 points, (10G, 24A), 30 games, 24 PIMS
Cody Corbett – 12 points (4G, 8A), 48 games, 24 PIMS
Cole Fraser – 8 points (4G, 4A), 36 games, 84 PIMS
Nolan Kneen – 40 points (12G, 28A), 61games, 58 PIMS
Les Lancaster – 28 points (5G, 23A), 43 games, 10 PIMS
– You may be wondering what is happening with goalies for 2020-21 and that is yet to be decided. The first question that needs to be answered is will the Wild assign one or two goalies to the Americans. If the Wild end up with six goalies under contract you would expect two being sent to Allen. It is too early to know the answer to this question. In the meantime coach Martinson will assuredly sign a goalie or two. He has carried three goalies in the past and you could see that being a possibility with all of the uncertainties going into the 2020-21 season.
– Here are some players with Allen connections that have signed for 2020-21:
Jake Doty – Ontario Reign (AHL)
Matt Register – Iowa Wild (AHL)
Josh Atkinson – Iowa Wild (AHL)
Gabe Gagne – Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Mitch McLain – Iowa Wild (AHL)
Stepan Falkovsky – Dinamo Minsk (KHL)
– There are still many key players from last season that are unsigned. Here is my take on a few of them:
Tyler Sheehy – Would have to believe the Iowa Wild are interested in re-signing the ECHL Rookie of the Year and MVP Runner-up. Tyler certainly deserves a chance at the next level.
Alex Breton – Alex wants to play in Europe and it is hard to see him back with the Wild or Allen organization. This is a strange year so anything can happen.
Olivier Archambault – Another player looking to Europe that has not signed yet. Doubtful he would sign in Allen but he could find an AHL team sign him to a two way AHL/ECHL deal.
Jordan Topping – Still another player that was looking to sign in Europe. He was given a qualifying offer by the Americans so he is likely to be back in Allen if he doesn’t go overseas.
Kayle Doetzel – Another qualified player that will likely be back in Allen unless he finds an AHL deal.
Turner Ottenbreit – Turner will be back in Allen unless he is signed by the Iowa Wild. He seems to be a good fit with Iowa and they just lost a defenseman (Menell) to the KHL.
Jack Sadek – Another player that had an AHL deal with Iowa last season that is looking for another AHL deal.
– The other unknown at this point is how many players will be assigned to Allen by Iowa. The Wild have been one of the AHL leaders in signing depth players early and the trend is to have more players assigned to ECHL affiliates. Who Allen gets assigned will go a long way in predicting how good the team will be in 2020-21. You can’t win in the ECHL without a lot of help from your NHL/AHL affiliate.
– I recently came across this article about British Ice Hockey which is a professional league that is like the ECHL in that they cannot survive without fans in the stands. The title of the story is “Prolonging the Inevitable” which provides food for thought about what the ECHL could be up against in November and December. I know everyone hopes it all goes smoothly but risks are clearly present: https://www.britishicehockey.co.uk/post/comment-prolonging-the-inevitable/
DID YOU KNOW: If you talk to players you will hear one the the reasons Steve Martinson is successful is because he knows how to push even elite players to be better. When you have a championship ring for all 10 fingers and over 1000 wins as a coach players listen.