The location of the Vegas Golden Knight AHL and ECHL affiliates is probably the next big piece of news on the horizon.
Back in August Murray Craven, joining the SinBin.vegas Podcast, identified Christmas as the target date to unveil the details on the Golden Knights’ minor league affiliations. Craven recently confirmed via email it will more likely come in January, and George McPhee agreed.
But as much as McPhee accomplished this summer, he still has additional off-ice tasks that have yet to be accomplished. He hopes to knock two of these off his list in the weeks just after the New Year, in January. “We’re going to be working on a couple of bigger items for our organization,” McPhee said. “We’ll be trying to get our physician group finalized, and working on an AHL affiliate opportunity.” -Dan Marrazza, VegasGoldenKnights.com
“We’re probably going to affiliate with an AHL that’s owned by a 3rd party. We’ll do a 3-5 year deal. Then we’ll move away from that deal.”
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) November 9, 2016
McPhee’s plan isn’t to have many players at the AHL level anyway.
Most of our prospects will still be at the junior and college level, so there’s really no need to fill out an entire team. We’ll have six or eight guys that we can call up if we get banged up. But we’ll share for a couple years and then we’ll hone in on a place and see if we can have our own club. –George McPhee to NHL.com
Binghamton, NY, the former affiliate for the Ottawa Senators recently lost the team to Belleville, Ontario. The owner in Binghamton was quoted after losing the team saying “there will be an AHL team in Binghamton in 17-18.” Craven denied any involvement when we wrote about this in October, but it absolutely remains a possibility either via Vegas using Binghamton or an affiliation swap with another existing team.
Another organization that may make sense based on being under current ownership and not being affiliated is the Fort Wayne Komets (Indiana). They are the only team in either the ECHL or AHL who is currently unaffiliated.
As for the ECHL, Vegas is almost certainly going to jump on board with another team. Reno has been positioning itself recently to be the future home of an ECHL affiliate for Las Vegas, but they will not have anything in place by the time next season rolls around.
That’s all we’ve got. See ya in 2017 AHL/ECHL!