The Kalamazoo Wings will continue to be the Columbus Blue Jackets’ ECHL affiliate for next season, after signing an extension today. Blue Jackets director of player personnel Chris Clark released a statement explaining the new agreement:
We enjoyed working with Head Coach Nick Bootland and the K-Wings organization last season as they offered a great place for some of our prospects to play and develop. The Blue Jackets and Monsters are pleased to continue that relationship as Kalamazoo will once again be our ECHL affiliate for the 2022-23 campaign.
As part of a three-tiered development system, the ECHL is important for maintaining the depth and success of an AHL program, while also providing playing time to raw prospects. In this case, Kalamazoo saw Jet Greaves for 15 games, an undrafted netminder that ended up signing an NHL contract partway through the season.
Greaves, 21, could be back in the ECHL at some point during next season, given the goaltending depth that the Blue Jackets have built by re-signing Joonas Korpisalo and extending Daniil Tarasov. The low minors give an organization more playing time for netminders, given the relative lack of opportunities at the position.
The Wings had previously been affiliated with the Blue Jackets between 2014-16, and have been in operation since 1974 (though not always in the ECHL). The team went 36-35-1 last season and did not qualify for the postseason.