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Tag: Chicago Wolves

May Not Be A Golden Knight Yet (Or Possibly Ever), But We Like Tyler Wong

While it’s technically not an NHL contract, our man Reid Duke has a teammate. The Chicago Wolves announced the signing of 21-year-old forward Tyler Wong to a standard AHL contract.

The right-handed forward is coming off a monster year in the WHL, scoring 109 points in 69 games. The Lethbridge Hurricane split the league lead with 51 goals in the regular season. Wong also has AHL experience playing three games for the Toronto Marlies.

Wong’s speed and tenacity in puck drills throughout the week culminated in a two-goal performance… He’s the type of high-character, hard-working player the Leafs like; seeing whether he builds on his tryout opportunity makes him one to watch. -Kristen Shilton, TSN Maple Leafs Reporter

Before we get excited, let’s be realistic. First off, Wong signed an AHL contract with the Wolves, not the Golden Knights. Though he’ll be playing on the Golden Knights affiliate, he’s not under Vegas’ control contractually, and does not count as one of the 50 contracts Vegas may have. Any team can scoop up Wong at any moment if they please. However, George McPhee and the Golden Knights staff will get a chance to coach him throughout this season.

A stingy, competitive two-way forward that has the skill to consistently create offense and the defensive awareness to limit the opposition’s time and space. Excellent vision and creativity. Strong on the puck and quick to get on the backcheck. Very active defensively and doesn’t give up his own end to dominate offensively. Many smaller players play on the perimiter, but Wong isn’t afraid of going to the hard areas and battling for possession. A true all-around player with the drive to compete and win. –Eliteprospects.com

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Chicago Wolves, Golden Knights And The AHL FAQ

Rather than try to write an article that answers all the questions about the Golden Knights, Chicago Wolves, and their affiliation, I figured we should take out a step. Let’s just ask the questions, and then I’ll answer them. It’s the AHL FAQ, who knows maybe it’ll become a thing.

What is the AHL?

The American Hockey League is the premier minor league for the NHL.

Throughout the season, AHL players will be promoted (“recalled”) to the partner NHL club for a number of reasons. If an NHL player is injured, the team may recall a player from the AHL to temporarily take his place. They can then be sent back down to the minors (“assigned”) for a variety of reasons as well, including when an injured NHL player returns to full health. Every NHL team has its own affiliate in the AHL, from where more than 88 percent of active NHL players are graduates. -Golden Knights Press Release

Who are the Chicago Wolves?  

An AHL team that was previously part of the now folded International Hockey League (IHL). The Wolves were founded in 1994 and joined the AHL in 2001. They’ve won multiple Calder Cups (the AHL’s championship), but it’s the minor leagues, so who really cares.

What is the agreement between the Wolves and Golden Knights?

The Wolves will become the official primary AHL affiliate for the Golden Knights. The Golden Knights will be able to send players to the Chicago Wolves at any point during the NHL/AHL season and will also be able to recall them to the NHL at any point.

Who controls hockey decisions?

Under the current deal the Golden Knights will manage all aspects involving hockey     operations, such as personnel decisions, ice-time, and the hiring and firing of coaches.

Is this how the AHL usually works?

Normally, yes, but in the history of the Chicago Wolves, no. Their owner, Don Levin has always preferred to have control over hockey operations to ensure his organization had the best chance to win. Historically, that’s caused friction with the affiliating NHL club because their focus is usually on development rather than winning. Levin says his trust in George McPhee is why he was willing to relinquish all hockey decision making to the Golden Knights.

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Chicago Wolves Announced As Golden Knights AHL Affiliate

Brace yourself SinBinners, what we’ve been reporting since January is now official and it’s time for the local and national media types to report it like it’s breaking news. The Golden Knights will have the Chicago Wolves as their AHL affiliate for the 2017-18 season.

American Hockey League affiliates play a significant role in the success of all NHL clubs and are we are proud to have the Chicago Wolves as our first in team history. I would like to thank Don Levin, Wendell Young and the rest of the Wolves organization for their commitment to the game and helping young hockey players grow to reach their full potential as professionals. Chicago is without question one of the strongest, most passionate hockey communities in North America. This is a relationship that we truly believe will be mutually beneficial. -George McPhee in Press Release

McPhee has said he expects between six and eight players under Golden Knights control to be playing at the AHL level at any given point. Chicago’s central location in the country and two airports allow the team to quickly and easily get players from the AHL to the NHL, the primary concern for the Golden Knights next season.

In a conference call with season ticket holders in March McPhee detailed the type of relationship Vegas will have with the Wolves.

The deal that we are going to do is going to be an exclusive deal, we are the primary affiliate, and we are going to go into a market that has a good hockey history and the team has done well. We will supply our players, we may get some players from another club but the way that the deal would be structured is the affiliation is between us and the minor league club and we will decide what players come from the other clubs, if any. We have full authority in all hockey matters and we will have final say on what decisions that are made. -McPhee

There are no details on the exact length of the contract, other than being described as “multi-year,” but rest assured, Vegas is in the market to move their affiliate closer to home as soon as possible. 

Roster Move All But Confirms Chicago Wolves As AHL Affiliate

The plan is still to wait until the Chicago Wolves season ends to make the announcement that the Golden Knights will become their new parent club, but sometimes hockey logistics get in the way of a good plan.

With Reid Duke’s WHL season ending last week, we have explored opportunities and options for him to play additional games this year. The Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League – who are currently the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues – agreed to take Reid on a professional tryout agreement. Reid will be available to play for Chicago beginning Friday. We are appreciative of the Wolves organization for affording Reid this opportunity, which will be beneficial for his development as a player -George McPhee in Press Release

Duke’s WHL season wrapped up on the 29th of March when the Wheaties were swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. Duke scored three goals and racked up eight penalty minutes in the four game series.

But now, the 21 year old is left with no where to play. Normally, an undrafted free agent like Duke would find his way to the AHL or ECHL for the final few games of the season. If he’s promising enough, he may even find his way on to the NHL team. Well, Vegas doesn’t have any of those, so they had to find something to do.

It was originally reported back in January that the Golden Knights and Chicago Wolves were in discussions. Then in February a team source told us the deal is done but nothing could be confirmed until the AHL season ends. Finally, during George McPhee’s Q&A with the fans in March the GM confirmed Vegas would have complete hockey control over their AHL affiliate.

Add it all up, and this is not a favor the Chicago Wolves and St. Louis Blues are granted the Golden Knights. This is the first transaction Vegas is making with it’s AHL club… despite what the team says.

The Golden Knights AHL affiliation discussions are still ongoing. We will announce those details after the affiliation agreement has been finalized and confirmed. -McPhee in Press Release

This is a move any NHL club would make with their minor league affiliate, just Vegas has to call it something different… for now.

Vegas To Control All Hockey Operation At AHL Level; Likely Affiliated With Chicago Wolves

Remember about a month ago when we were discussing the Chicago Wolves organization and how they may not be the perfect fit for the Golden Knights? Well after a little further digging, it appears the information that led us to that conclusion is a bit out-dated, and the concerns we had aren’t going to be an issue at all.

Vegas will have full control over hockey operations of it’s minor league affiliate. They will be the primary NHL team to be affiliated with their minor league team, and the Chicago Wolves are still the likely destination which will be announced when the AHL season concludes in late April to mid May (depending on the Wolves success in the playoffs).

Let me back up a minute and show my work here, cause this is quite a bit different from what I said a little more than a month ago.

The first report of an affiliation with the Wolves was posted by Steve Carp of the RJ on January 1st. At that time it was reported as “in discussions” with Chicago.

Since then, sources have assured with me on multiple occasions that unless something changes, it’ll be Chicago. I even got a pretty strong hint of that yesterday as well.

So that’s when I went into dig mode on what an affiliation with the Wolves would look like. Historically, the Wolves are one of the most independently run AHL franchises even making comments like this.

They are in no way defined by their NHL parent. Affiliation, for (Wolves GM Wendell Young), is just another league rule. –Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business

That quote was from 2013, but Ecker doubled down on that in an article written in June 2016 about the Blues extending their affiliation with the Wolves.

Then yesterday, in a special Q&A with season ticket holders, George McPhee was asked about the minor league affiliation and exactly how that will process will work.

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AHL Has No Expansion Applications; Vegas To Share With St. Louis?

Since the moment the Vegas Golden Knights became a reality there has really only been one name truly linked to them in regards to the AHL. That’s the Chicago Wolves, the current affiliate with the St. Louis Blues.

Why it made so much sense was because there appear to be plans in the works for the Blues to pick up and move their AHL affiliation to Kansas City. We discussed that in depth here. But here’s the problem, the AHL’s President and CEO David Andrews says they have yet to receive an application for expansion.

I don’t think we can go much beyond the middle of March without having a commitment with respect to where each of these NHL clubs are going to [have their affiliate] play and whether we are ready to expand. -David Andrews

Stephen Gross, a reporter from The Morning Call (it’s a newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I had to look it up so I figured I’d save you the time. Don’t worry, they’ve never heard of SinBin.vegas either, so the confusion is mutual) said Andrews put the odds at 50-50 that the league will indeed expand in time for next season.

So where does that leave Vegas in all of this?

It means there’s a 50-50 shot the Golden Knights and Blues will share an affiliate in the Chicago Wolves. GM George McPhee says Vegas will only have “six or eight guys” in the AHL, but the situation in Chicago gets tricky with the Blues still in the picture.

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AHL Affiliate In Chicago? LVRJ Reports Discussions

According to Steve Carp at the RJ, the Vegas Golden Knights are in discussions to lock in the Chicago Wolves as their AHL affiliate.

The Wolves are currently affiliated with the St. Louis Blues, but their deal with the NHL club expiries at the end of this season. The Creator offered a quick “no comment” to the RJ and the Chicago Wolves released this statement.

We have no comment on that rumor. We are affiliated with St. Louis and happy. -Lindsey Willhite, Chicago Wolves spokesman

Not that happy though, as St. Louis has been consistently linked to a project in Kansas City headed up by Lamar Hunt Jr., son of the NFL’s Chiefs founder, Lamar Hunt. There have also been disagreements between the Wolves organization and the Blues over coaching decisions and the handing of a few Blues owned players. Since the Wolves are privately owned, they have the final say, not the NHL parent club.

Sources tell NHL.com’s Lou Korac that the move to KC is “a done deal,” however that report was denied the day after it was reported.

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