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MAVS MAILBAG: Contracts, Playoffs, Enforcers and Consistency

Friday, January 17th
MAVS MAILBAG: Contracts, Playoffs, Enforcers and Consistency

I'm fairly new to hockey so I was wondering if the players have contracts like baseball or how do they figure out how long a player will stay on the Mavericks team? Not really sure on anything about hockey because I just got into it the past few years ago. –StacyThat’s a great question and one that comes up a lot. Yes, each player is signed to some kind of contract, and you often see acronyms describing said contract, which can cause more confusion. So let me break it down for you:

SPC = Standard Player Contract – This one is pretty self-explanatory. This is a standard contract that grants the ECHL rights of a player to a team for an entire season. However, these players can be lured away with contracts from NHL, AHL or European teams.

PTO = Professional Tryout – These are only signed at the AHL and NHL level. It is limited to a maximum of 25 games.

ATO = Amateur Tryout – These contracts can be signed in any league, however only on an emergency basis in the NHL. These are designed for collegiate players that are attempting to play professional hockey.

Also, contracts are either considered one-way (the player’s salary remains the same regardless of the level they are playing) or two-way (the player’s salary differs depending on the league they are playing in. Do the fans really help rally the team? – MarkIf you ask the players, absolutely. They feed off of that energy. Players that come to KC have raved about the energy the fans bring. It makes a difference.  As for affiliates how many years do they have left with Stockton and are they happy with them as affiliates and do you see them renewing affiliate with them or moving to another organization? –DevinThe Mavericks are currently on a year-to-year renewal with the Calgary Flames/Stockton Heat organizations. After each season, the teams evaluate their current affiliation. Generally, it makes a lot of sense to remain with an affiliation as lines of communication are established and systems remain intact.  Who would the team label as their “enforcer” if such a position still existed ? –NicoleThe role of “enforcer” is pretty much obsolete at this point in hockey. Teams are no longer wasting valuable roster spots on players that are just out there to throw hands. That being said, players still very much police the ice and that aspect is just as valuable as ever. Players that can throw booming checks and drop the mitts are still expected to be skilled on both ends of the ice. There is no greater evidence of that than Loren Ulett. When he’s on the ice, the opposition knows it. He can change the course of the game with his physical play, spark his team with a well-timed fight, and contribute on both sides of the puck. What has impressed me the most about Ulett is his restraint. He could go out there and be a wrecking ball every shift if he wanted to, but he knows when to act and when to back off. He has learned to not taken bad penalties that put his team in bad situations. His growth has been impressive. What percentage chance do you give the Mavs at making the postseason? –JeffIf I just look at the numbers and standings, I wouldn’t put that number any higher than 20%. However, knowing how good this team looks when they are on their game, they are fully capable of stringing together an 8-2-0 streak that would put them right in the thick of things again. So, I would say 40% at this point because so much of their destiny is in their own hands.

Recent success aside, why have the Mavs been so inconsistent this season? – AdamSometimes, it’s getting players to buy into a system. JSD has a very specific style of play and finding the correct grouping of players to perform in that style is a process. Roster movement definitely plays into that, as well. The Mavs had a lot of players signed at the beginning of the season without knowing exactly what help from Stockton was coming outside of goalies. Once the team received some players from Stockton, there were some roster decisions that had to be made and you had to move on from some players that are playing for other organizations now. I love a quote that our good buddy, Nick Potter, made earlier this season, “Every team will win 20 games and lose 20’s what happens in the other 32 that determine your team’s success.”  The Mavericks are still in the race for a playoff spot and have traditionally been a second half team under JSD. Is there something specific you'd like to talk about or answer? If so - that's my question. – MaryAnnKansas City weather is like a temperamental child. It’s impossible to deal with, and just when you think you have a firm grasp on things, it changes for the worse. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been cooped up for too long. -Rozycki

Joe would like to discuss the Eagles’ season and why Carson Wentz can’t stay healthy. -Twenter How can any ECHL team put on a quality team when the players are changing so much? – ToddIt’s the nature of the beast, especially when you’re the low man on the totem pole. Everything feeds upwards, so when you’re the ECHL team in an NHL affiliation, players get plucked and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a developmental league. Prospects are sent here to get seasoning and experience, but I understand the frustration when a player seems to be hitting their stride and then the next day they are gone (see Hults, Mitch). That’s going to happen though. What really takes a toll is when there are injury issues up and down the affiliation. Healthy bodies are hard to come by and the Mavericks are left scrambling to put a full slate of players on the ice. Running a team at this level is not an easy thing to do. You try not to rely on those AHL players that are sent down, but then you see what they bring to the table, start to rely on them, and then they are gone. It happens and it’s just the way it is.  As fairly new hockey fans (last 5 years) all of us including the 7yr old wonder how the boys know when and who to sub? That’s a great question!!!! As the dad of a 5, 7, and 11 year old, I’ll explain it how I do to them.  The team sets their lines to begin the game based off of matchups with the opposition or based on who has been playing well with other guys. Throughout the game, any changes made to lines to mix things up or create matchup problems for the other team come from the coaching staff. During the game, the players know when their line is next based on who is on the ice, who just came off the ice and the direction of assistant coach Kohl Schultz. Kohl runs the bench a lot of times to free up John-Scott Dickson to watch what is happening on the ice. If you watch the bench, you’ll notice the players tend to slide down the bench with their linemates until it’s their turn. You’ll see the line jump together as the line on the ice heads to the bench. If the entire line can’t get to the bench at the same time, you’ll see them switch position by position (right wing for the next line’s right wing, etc). With most ECHL teams playing 10 forwards, the 10th guy will rotate through some different lines to either create matchup issues or give a guy an extra shift to rest up. Defensive pairings are a bit easier because there’s only 6 defensemen typically and they play in pairs. 

What is the biggest thing the Mavs need to do to make that push to get into the playoffs? – JohnI could be a smart aleck and say “win,” but that’s not helpful. They need to stay healthy. They need to play sound defensive hockey. They need to out-work every opponent that they face. They are currently nine points back with 34 games to play. They have time to start climbing the standings, but every point right now is crucial. Taking a shift off is inexcusable and could cost this team more than just a goal or a win. It could cost them a shot at the playoffs.

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