The Allen Americans were a good team from the very start of the franchise back in 2009-10 when they lost in the CHL championship finals to Rapid City. Since that time the Americans have won four championships (four in a row from 2013 to 2016) and have missed the playoffs just one time. When the topic of the best team in Allen history comes up there are so many sides to the argument it always makes for a good discussion. Today I picked out three regular season stats to compare all 11 Allen seasons to see which teams fares the best. There are many stats you could pick to determine best team but my choice was winning percentage, finish in regular season standings and goal differential.
.710 – 2019-20
.389 – 2018-19
.542 – 2017-18
.722 – 2016-17
.618 – 2015-16
.736 – 2014-15
.629 – 2013-14
.659 – 2012-13
.659 – 2011-12
.735 – 2010-11
.695 – 2009-10
Finish in Standings
3rd – 2019-20
27th – 2018-19
14th – 2017-18
2nd – 2016-17
6th – 2015-16
2nd – 2014-15
3rd – 2013-14
1st – 2012-13 (by one point)
2nd – 2011-12
1st – 2010-11 (by 13 points)
4th – 2009-10
In order to aggregate these three stats I assigned points from 11 for the top team in each stat to one for the bottom team. If a team finished first in all three stats they would have 33 points and if last they would total just three points. Here are the results:
There are many conclusions you can draw from these stats, the first of which is they are not a good proxy for the best teams in Allen’s history. I believe the stats are instructive and the two teams with 30 points are indeed the best teams in franchise history. Here are some of my conclusions:
– Regular season success does not predict playoff success. The three teams at the top of the list were all great teams and stand above the rest but only one (2014-15) went on to win the Kelly Cup.
– The 2015-16 Kelly Cup winning team is not given enough credit when you consider their regular season was not that remarkable. Their .618 winning percentage is ranked 9th in Allen’s 11 seasons or said another way it was the third worst winning percentage in team history. They finished sixth in the ECHL standings, again the third worst finish in history. Finally their goal differential of +18 is only ahead of the 2017-18 (+3) and 2018-19 (-61) teams. Things didn’t look good for the Americans in the first round of the playoffs as they fell behind 3-2 in the series against Idaho and had to come from behind in game seven to win in overtime. After the first round the Americans beat the #1 seed, Missouri, 4-2, Fort Wayne (4-1) and Wheeling (4-2) to claim their second straight Kelly Cup and fourth straight championship.
– The argument for the 2010-11 team being the best in history is evidenced by the fact they not only finished #1 in the regular season, they won their conference by 20 points and had 13 more points than any other team in the league (CHL). Allen has had just nine 30+ goal scorers in their 11 year history and three (Bruce Graham, Colton Yellow Horn, Nino Musitelli) came from the 2010-11 team. The outstanding regular season ended in disappointment in the playoffs when Allen lost 4-1 in the conference finals to Bossier-Shreveport who went on to win the championship.
– If you come from the school of thought you can’t be the best team in history if you don’t win a championship, hands down the best team is the 2014-15 Allen Americans. That team had the best winning percentage (.736) in team history. They finished second in the ECHL with 106 points, just one behind Toledo. Their +89 goal differential is second all time. The only two 40 goal scorers in Allen history (Chad Costello & Gary Steffes) were on that team. In the playoffs, after cruising through the first two rounds, beating Tulsa (4-1) and Rapid City (4-2), the Americans had epic come from behind seven game series wins over Ontario in the conference finals and South Carolina in the Kelly Cup Finals. The upstart Allen Americans were given little chance to win the Kelly Cup having just arrived in the ECHL from the defunct CHL which made the championship even more rewarding.
– The is no argument on the worst team in Allen history. The 2018-19 team has by far the worst ever winning percentage (.389), they finished dead last (27th) in the standings and with a goal differential of -61 it is the only team in history with a negative goal differential, enough said.
– We will never know how good the 2019-20 Allen team could have been because of the shortened season. When the season ended Allen had a winning percentage of .710 (4th all time), was third in the ECHL standings and had a goal differential of +52 with 10 games remaining. It sure looked like another deep playoff run was a possibility.
– For a long time I have thought the best team in Allen franchise history was the 2010-11 team and there is no doubt that team had the most dominant regular season in team history. But as of today I am convinced, at least for me, the best team of all time was the 2014-15 Kelly Cup Championship team. The cherry on top of the success of the 2014-15 team was the fact Chad Costello had the best season in the history of the ECHL. Chad had 125 points that season and won the scoring championship by 45 points, the largest margin in ECHL history. Chad had more assists (84) than any other player in the league had total points.
– In case you don’t remember the names from the best team in Allen Americans history here are the players that played at least 20 games (playoffs and/or regular season) for the Americans that season in alphabetical order. That team was loaded with talent.
– Riley Gill was the primary goalie in 2014-15 and played the vast majority of the games in the regular season (50) and playoffs (21). Aaron Dell started the season in Allen in 2014-15 and played in 12 games before his promotion the AHL. Joel Rumpel played in a total of 11 games, four in the regular season and seven in the playoffs.