The first ECHL affiliate in Seattle Kraken history will be the Kansas City Mavericks, who will partner with the expansion team and their new AHL affiliate Coachella Valley this season. The Mavericks had been affiliated with the Calgary Flames for the past several years.
It is a multi-year agreement between Kansas City and Seattle, though the exact details were not revealed. The Kraken had gone without full-time minor league affiliates in their first season as they built up their prospect system but will now need three tiers to develop and train players properly. More and more, the ECHL is being used as a proving ground for raw skaters or young goaltenders, giving them a chance to receive game action and improve through competition.
The Mavericks meanwhile had struggled of late, putting up losing seasons in each of the past three years. In fact, throughout the five-year affiliation with the Calgary Flames, they reached the playoffs just once and lost in the first round. The best season on record for the club is 2015-16 when they won 52 of 72 games.
At that time, they had a young star by the name of Carter Verhaeghe, who was trying to sort out his career after being sent to the low minors. He was joined the following season by a young netminder named Ville Husso, in his first year of North American hockey. These are the kinds of players that can benefit from time in the ECHL, meaning an affiliation like this is not something to be overlooked, even if it isn’t the landing spot for high-profile names.