The St. Louis Blues have no AHL affiliate for this season after the Chicago Wolves signed a partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights instead, and will have to distribute their minor league players throughout various teams. That won’t last long though, as Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Blues have come to a five-year agreement with the San Antonio Rampage starting in 2018-19.
The Rampage are currently the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche but there has long been rumors of the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL moving up next season and providing the Avalanche with an at-home affiliate. More and more teams are trying to bring their affiliates as close as possible so that recalls and assignments are easier, and the development staff can quickly transit between teams.
- Recently Jeff Marek of Sportsnet reported that the Erie Otters of the OHL could soon trade Minnesota Wild prospect Ivan Lodnia, and the discussions were even confirmed by the player’s agent. Now however, Otters’ GM Dave Brown told GoErie.com that a deal is “very unlikely.” Lodnia dropped to the fourth round after a poor playoff performance, but is still expected to be a top player in the OHL this season at both ends of the rink.
- Matt Kalman of NHL.com released his top prospect list for the Boston Bruins today as part of their “31 in 31” series, and the usual names are included. That said, Mike Morreale of NHL.com chimed in on Twitter saying that his personal prediction for the Calder Trophy is Bruins’ defender Charlie McAvoy, who made an impact in the playoffs and will be expected to take on a big role for the team this year. McAvoy has had immediate success at every level of his career, and now the 14th-overall pick from 2016 will face his toughest test in a full professional season.
The Family Arena is 30 miles from downtown St Louis in St Charles. Why can’t they figure out how to get the st. Charles Chill or some other franchise into an AHL affiliate so the Blues can have their minor league team 30 minutes away?
Where their AHL team is located is largely irrelevant, they spend 41 games on the road too so no guarantee they’d be around when the prospect might be needed. Now I’d advocate for a closish non NHL city (KC for example) to build the brand but this is a good move.