If you don’t keep up with the happenings around the ECHL and the Allen Americans it is easy to lose track of all the activity. Here is my list, in no particular order, of some of the activity over the last couple of weeks.
– Scott Conway and Sam Ruopp became the 10th and 11th players from Allen’s playoff roster to sign in Europe for the 2021-22 season. They signed with the same team (Belfast Giants) in the EIHL. They are the third duo from Allen to sign in Europe. Matt Register and Josh Lammon signed with the Cardiff Devils (Wales). Corey Mackin and Chad Butcher signed with HC Vita Hasten (Sweden).
– Allen added two defensemen to the 2021-22 roster last week, Miles Liberati and Ben Carroll. They join Spencer Asuchak as the players announced thus far. Liberati didn’t play last season but in 2019-20, playing for the Tulsa Oilers, he was the second leading scorer in the ECHL among defensemen with 46 points (11G, 35A) in 56 games. Ben Carroll returns to Allen after a very successful rookie season. He played in more games (65) than any of the 26 different rookies that saw action for the Americans last season. If there was a team award for unsung hero, Carroll would be the winner. He became part of Allen’s top defensive pairing with Les Lancaster and took on more responsibility as the season progressed.
– This is the time of year fans are anxious to find out which players from last season have been signed for next season. There is a way to make an educated guess by looking at Allen’s qualifying offers and see what players didn’t receive one. That is because if a player was signed prior to the final date for qualifying offers (July 23) they don’t need to be qualified. Here are some of players that were on the season ending roster that did not get one of the eight qualifying offers. What that means is these players are either signed by Allen for next season or they are free agents and can sign with any team. Since these players have not been announced as signed elsewhere the odds are they are not going to Europe and have signed with Allen. The one exception, that doesn’t make sense to me, is Collin Shirley since he is caught in what I call the “rookie trap” which means he didn’t play 25 games last season (he played 19) so he is considered a rookie for all of the 2021-22 season. Rookie salaries are capped between $500-$585 per week.
– Co-captain Dyson Stevenson was on the season ending roster but did not receive a qualifying offer. His situation is different because he is a veteran. Teams can only buy time by qualifying veterans because if the vet doesn’t sign a qualifying offer by August 1 they become a free agent. For that reason, teams rarely qualify veterans. Stevenson is looking for an AHL deal so whether he returns to Allen remains to be seen. He is now a free agent so he can sign with any ECHL team though you have to assume if he plays in the ECHL next season it would be in Allen.
– Of all the questions I get asked every off season the most frequent is about the possibility of Chad Costello returning to Allen. Chad’s 2020-21 season in Norway was over early with a season ending knee injury. Chad had played just 11 games for his new team (Stavanger) and was off to a great start with 14 points when he was injured on December 3. At this point it is an unknown if, when or where Chad will play in 2021-22. If you are an Allen fan his comments to me when I contacted him in Iowa a couple of days ago contains some hope. Here are his comments in his own words, “My son has a tournament in Minnesota next weekend and we are planning on moving to Texas after that. My knee is getting better and I have been able to start training pretty hard. After rehabbing my knee and starting to train hard all I can say is I am all in to play again next season.” This is definitely a stay tuned story.
– Many of the players Steve Martinson is recruiting are waiting to sign because they are looking for AHL deals. Allen will be their first choice if they don’t sign with an AHL team. Not having an affiliation can hurt in recruitment. In the past, having slots in the Wild training camp or prospect tournament was a great recruiting tool but not the case this season. I asked Martinson this morning about the status of an affiliation and he said, “Hoping to square that up this week. Had to wait for NHL free agency to settle down.”
– Speaking of recruitment I love this stat which was posted on my ECHL Stats and Information page recently. It should be part of any pitch when recruiting offensive defensemen to Allen. Since 2016-17 just four ECHL players have a combined points per game average above .800 (minimum 100 games). All you can say is offensive defensemen thrive in Steve Martinson’s system.
.858 – Les Lancaster
.836 – Matt Register
.825 – Alex Breton
.810 – David Makowski
DID YOU KNOW: Just 1/2 of a percent of all ECHL players played in 72 regular season games in 2020-21. Now this is an elite group.