St. Louis Blues agree to terms with ECHL Florida Everblades

The St. Louis Blues have signed a deal with the ECHL Florida Everblades, opening up lots of possibilities for prospective players.
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"The Florida Everblades announced today that they have entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues. The Everblades will serve as an affiliate for the Blues and their primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League's Springfield (Mass.) Thunderbirds, starting with the 2024-25 season," released the St. Louis Blues.

Before today's announcement, the St. Louis Blues were among only a handful of teams without an ECHL affiliate.

Per NHL regulations, teams can be affiliated with AHL and ECHL teams.

The ECHL, often referred to as the younger brother of the AHL, has existed for a long time. Founded in 1988, it has had its share of success, sending both players and coaches to the NHL. The ECHL plays a crucial role in the development of hockey prospects, providing them with a competitive environment to hone their skills before potentially moving up to the AHL or NHL.

"The ECHL is represented by 37 former players and 19 coaches on the National Hockey League's 2024 Stanley Cup rosters, marking the 19th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players competing in the NHL postseason," shared the ECHL as the NHL postseason began.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong made a strategic and calculated decision to join forces with the Everblades. This move, as his prospect list continues to grow impressively, demonstrates the team's commitment to nurturing and developing young talent.

While it's not set in stone that draft picks from either the 2023 or 2024 draft will be assigned to the Everblades, such a move is a strong indicator that this could very well occur, especially for later-round picks.

According to league rules, the Blues have control over unsigned draft picks for two years or until they reach around 20 years old.

Agreeing to terms with the Everblades might extend the hockey dreams of several prospects, including quite possibly some who attended the recent development camp last week.