What Happens to AHL Players When Team Affiliations Change


There seems to be a lot of questions from fans surrounding what happens when an AHL franchise is sold or its affiliation is changed.  The answer is fairly simple, but I thought it needed to be addressed.

An NHL franchise can have players playing in the AHL, but they are still property of the NHL club.  So take Jake Allen for example.  Jake Allen is signed to an entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues, but has played the majority of his career in the AHL.  Allen may have suited up for the Peoria Rivermen, but he was never their property.  Since the St. Louis Blues had an agreement with the Rivermen to be an affiliate of the team (and in this case the Blues owned the Rivermen) Allen was able to switch back and forth.

AHL franchises can also sign players to contracts.  In this scenario, a player can be signed to an AHL only deal.   If they excelled in the AHL and wanted to move up to the NHL, and NHL club would have to offer them a contract.  The player would be the property of the AHL club alone and not have the ability to switch between the AHL and NHL.

Although this is a simplistic explanation of how things work, it should help to clear up some of the questions fans have since the St. Louis Blues are now affiliated with the Chicago Wolves.  All of the Blues prospects which have been drafted and signed to entry-level deals will now be playing for the Wolves, but any players signed only to an AHL contract will stay with the Rivermen.

The changing of an AHL team just means that you should expect your prospects to be wearing a different sweater.

Hope this helps those who have questions.


-Alex Hodschayan