The Washington Capitals and South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL have renewed their affiliation, signing a three-year extension that will keep them together moving forward. The Stingrays were first affiliated with the Capitals between 2004-2012, and were reunited in 2014. The two teams, along with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, have experienced plenty of success as one of the strongest three-tiered development system in professional hockey.
Perhaps the best-known success story is Braden Holtby, who spent time with the Stingrays in 2009-10 before eventually moving up the depth chart. The ECHL is routinely used to give raw goalie prospects a chance to hone their talents in game situations and will continue to be a valuable development path for the Capitals.
- With the shortened season the league had to institute a pro-rating system for things like the entry-level slide rule in the new CBA. Previously, players had to eclipse ten games for their entry-level contract to kick in. That changed slightly with the new rules, but according to CapFriendly the new formula will only actually affect one player—Nicolas Beaudin. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect could see his first year burned if he is to play in eight more games, even though he only played one in the regular season. There are still many players who could see their first year kick in should they play enough games in the playoffs, but those thresholds remain at 10 games. CapFriendly has the entire list right here.
- Mikko Koivu is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, but he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether he’ll continue to play. The 37-year old Minnesota Wild captain told Michael Russo of The Athletic that he would make that decision after his season is over. After several major injuries and the slow march of time Koivu isn’t the same two-way monster he was for so many years, but he did still contribute 21 points in 55 games for the Wild this season. He’ll get a chance to strengthen his legacy with a playoff run, but the Wild will have to dispatch the Vancouver Canucks in their qualification round first.