ALLEN, Texas – The Allen Americans schedule this season will consist of many three-game series against the same team. The Americans just finished three games against Wichita, they travel tomorrow to Rapid City for three games, and the following week they play Wichita again, three games in three days at home. When the rest of the 2020-21 schedule is released you can expect a lot of games against the same teams and a lot of three-game series. Minimizing travel costs and nights in hotels is one of the goals as the schedule is created.
The Allen Roster
– With center Conner Bleackley arriving in Allen, coach Steve Martinson released center Jake Gricius yesterday. Gricius played in six games with the Americans and had no points. There are many factors Martinson has to consider when deciding how many players to keep on the roster. Salary cap and housing space are big factors, but even more important is the overall budget. Players on reserve and IR don’t count against the salary cap but they still are being paid so managing the budget drives decisions as much as salary cap and roster limits.
Braylon Shmyr is the only player on the Allen IR list. He is still recovering from an injury he sustained at the end of training camp. He is not expected to return until some time in February.
– Here is the current Allen roster which includes two goalies, eight defensemen, and 14 forwards:
#31 – C.J. Motte
#34 – Zach Sawchenko
#4 – Turner Ottenbreit
#5 – Phil Beaulieu
#7 – Kayle Doetzel
#14 – Les Lancaster
#20 – Ben Carroll
#23 – Cole Fraser
#25 – Nolan Kneen
#43 – Matt Register
#8 – Joe Garreffa
#9 – Braylon Shmyr
#10 – Conner Bleackley
#11 – Kam Kielly
#15 – Corey Mackin
#18 – Jake McGrew
#19 – Alex Lavoie
#22 – Tyler Sheehy
#26 – Spencer Asuchak
#27 – Sam Laberge
#29 – Jesse Mychan
#40 – Josh Lammon
#44 – Zane Franklin
#71 – Dyson Stevenson
Today is the day AHL teams must declare if they will play this season or opt-out. The AHL is set to start play on February 5. There is no doubt some teams will opt out the only question is how many.
Most AHL teams (19) are owned by their NHL affiliate and are more likely to play because their NHL team will absorb the losses. The 13 independently owned AHL teams have a different set of circumstances. These teams will work with their NHL affiliate to determine the best approach.
Just like the ECHL, the AHL is fan dependent, so the question becomes how much loss are the independent teams willing to take and what help will they receive get from their NHL affiliate? You hear rumors of teams opting out completely, some teams playing but a minimum number of games (as few as 24), and teams combining for the season. Should be an interesting day.
Other News and Notes
– I have never seen in writing the COVID protocol for players moving between the NHL, AHL and ECHL to see how similar they are. I did see this question answered in regards to moving players on and off the newly established NHL taxi squad.
Q: Can players be added to or removed from the taxi squad?
A: Yes, but not immediately. They can be added to the taxi squad after a seven-day quarantine and four negative COVID tests. If players are removed from the taxi squad and sent to another league (AHL most likely) they must follow the protocol of the league they are joining.
– The number of games played thus far by the 13 ECHL teams currently playing varies from a low of five (Utah, Wichita, Kansas City) to a high of nine (Florida). There is already a fairly wide gap between the teams at the top and bottom of the standings. The top six teams have winning/point percentages above .700 with two teams (Indy, Utah) above .800. The bottom seven teams are all below .571 including three below .400 (Wheeling, Jacksonville, Rapid City).
Did You Know?
Newly signed center Conner Bleackley has twice as many AHL games played as any other player on the Americans roster. Allen has a total of 543 games of AHL experience on the current roster. While 14 of the 24 players have played in the AHL just six have more than 20 games of AHL experience. Here is the list:
133 – Conner Bleackley
60 – Spencer Asuchak
42 – Dyson Stevenson
41 – Matt Register
33 – Turner Ottenbreit
31 – Samuel Laberge
For all things Allen Americans, follow Barry Janssen on Twitter @AllenAmericans1. For the latest stats and trends in the ECHL, follow @ECHLStats. And for the latest news on your favorite AHL & ECHL team, “Like” The Sin Bin on Facebook!
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