St. Louis Blues Will Have Their Own AHL Affiliate In 2018-19

LONDON, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Adam Laishram
LONDON, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Adam Laishram /

The St. Louis Blues have a bad situation regarding their AHL affiliation this coming season. It will not be for long, thank goodness.

The St. Louis Blues do not have an enviable situation regarding their AHL affiliation in 2017-18. With 31 NHL teams and only 30 AHL teams, there was always going to be a team left out.

Unfortunately, the Blues were that team for the upcoming year. They will still be able to send their prospects to the Chicago Wolves, but they will not be in control.

So, for 2017-18, the Las Vegas Golden Knights will control the fates of the Blues prospects as they are the actual affiliate of the Wolves. While the Blues will still likely have the majority of the players on the Wolves, that is not an enviable situation to say the least.

It will be an odd situation with potential misunderstandings. That further complicates matters when the Blues had a strained relationship with Chicago anyway.

Fortunately, the Blues will not be in that predicament for long. There will be an affiliate for the following year.

The AHL board of governors finished up their annual meeting on July 6. While there were plenty of things discussed, including realignment for this season, expansion was on the docket.

The board “made a commitment to an expansion applicant” according to their website. That essentially guarantees there will be a 31st team in the top North American minor league.

We do not know where that team will be, but at least we know the Blues will have their own affiliate come 2018-19. Of course, there are already rumors about what could happen.

Back in mid-June, the Denver Post ran an article discussing the possible promotion of the Colorado Eagles. The idea there would be the Eagles become the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL affiliate.

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That would work wonders for the Avalanche. Their current affiliation is with the San Antonio Rampage. Suddenly, their prospects would be less than an hour away.

If that happened, and it’s a big if at this point due to logistical reasons pointed out in the Post article, San Antonio would need an affiliate. That might not be completely appetizing to St. Louis.

While the San Antonio Spurs ownership have shown quality leadership in their basketball operations, they have not fared as well in hockey. The Rampage, owned by the Spurs ownership, have only made the postseason four of their 15 seasons. They only advanced to the second round once.

At this point, perhaps beggars cannot be choosers. Nevertheless, the Blues might not immediately sign with San Antonio in that situation. There are always teams flip flopping affiliations, so they might wait and see if anyone else wanted to connect with the Rampage.

An interesting side not will be the ramifications of Colorado breaking their affiliation. They signed a five-year agreement with San Antonio prior to the 2015-16 season. That has little bearing on what happens to the Blues though.

For awhile, there were minor rumblings about an AHL team for Kansas City. However, KC always seems to be on the outs when playing footsie with hockey and those talks fizzled.

If the Colorado Eagles can try to jump to the AHL, then perhaps there is still an outside chance the Missouri Mavericks will do the same. As pointed out in the Game Time article, Lamar Hunt Jr. owns the Mavericks and was part of an ownership group looking to get into the AHL game.

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It’ll all be interesting to watch to see how it shakes out. From the Blues perspective, they might not have an affiliate as close as Chicago, but they won’t be sharing.

No offense to all the parents that taught us otherwise, but in these situations, sharing is not caring. The Blues need to have their own minor league team to develop their guys their way.

They will have that in a year’s time. The only remaining question will be where that team is located.