This season could be one that could be chalked up to “what could have been” for Jack Combs.
Playing for the Allen Americans at the start of the season, Combs racked up 22 goals and 56 points in 32 games. He and Chad Costello (currently the top scorer in the ECHL) were tearing it up with Gary Steffes right along side chipping in here and there. Yet, it seemed like the allure of being one of the best players in the ECHL wasn’t enough for Combs.
On January 13th, the Allen Americans announced they had suspended the contract to Combs, who accepted an offer to play with IF Bjorkloven in Sweden’s second division. It would be the second time that Combs was in Europe during the 2014-15 campaign as he came over to Allen after playing Toros Neftekamsk in the Russian second division, where he got seven assists in 11 games. With Bjorkloven, it was a much shorter trip, as Combs only played three games and registered one assist.
Assuming that Combs wasn’t going to come back, the Americans didn’t want to keep a roster spot taken up and placed him on waivers, where the Stockton Thunder claimed him. Upon returning to North America, Combs reported to Stockton on February 25th and put up five goals and 13 points in his 10 games with Stockton before being released from his contract and put on waivers. The Missouri Mavericks were the next team to claim Combs, but as of yet– he has not reported to the team.
Mavericks head coach Richard Matvichuk is very high on Combs, saying he’s the best player in AA hockey. However, Combs wants to play on a winning team and was hoping that Allen would reclaim him. The problem is that Allen is so far ahead, they would have never gotten a chance go claim him. It’s not as if Missouri is a terrible team and as Joe Rozycki addressed on The Sin Bin Mailbag, he would be welcomed by the fans:
Combs wants to play for a team that is poised to make the postseason, and that’s understandable. What I hope he realizes is that this season was an anomaly for the Mavs, and they will return to their winning ways next season. If he sticks around, he would immediately be a fan favorite, and adored by the Orange Army. This team has had a lot of great players come through, and Jack Combs would have the chance to put his name towards the top of that list.
Rozycki is right. It’s been an odd year for the Mavericks, who are in their first year in a new league and with a new coach. Some things didn’t fall into place, therefore troubles were bound to happen. With the lineage that the Mavericks had, having the right personnel out there will allow them to rebound quickly from this year’s sub-par performance.
The decision lies with Combs and Combs alone. It’s almost a question of whether or not he has an ego and if that will get in the way of a solid career. His idea that he’s better off in Europe got him off a championship contender team and put him into a limbo state, which was all due to a decision that he thought would be best for him. Now, the question is whether or not the Mavericks can convince Combs to join the rebound by his solid contribution or if they want to convince him given his nature of being indecisive on where he wants to stay.