When the Vegas Golden Knights decided to purchase the San Antonio Rampage and relocate them, the St. Louis Blues were left without an AHL affiliation. No longer, as the team has signed a five-year agreement with the Springfield Thunderbirds beginning with the 2020-21 season. That will leave the Florida Panthers looking for a new affiliation. AHL reporter Mark Divver tweets that the rumor is that the Panthers will move their AHL affiliate to Charlotte, while Carolina will make a partnership with the Chicago Wolves.
The Rampage will be turning into the Henderson Silver Knights for next season, throwing the Blues’ plans into chaos once again. The team previously spent a season without an AHL affiliate when the Golden Knights came into the league, but will at least not have to go through that situation again.
GM Doug Armstrong released a statement on the new partnership:
We are excited to announce our deal with Springfield and close our search for a new affiliate. Springfield is a strong franchise in a city with a rich hockey history. Our partnership will allow us to continue to develop our players and further strengthen our franchise as a whole.
The Thunderbirds are 30-26-2 this season and sit in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.