It’s once again time to talk about the St. Louis Blues and their affiliates. The bizarre AHL situation for the 2017-18 season has already been discussed, but thankfully that problem will resolve itself in 2018-19. However, the Blues have added some stability to their overall affiliation situation by adding a new ECHL partner for the upcoming season.
The Blues and the Tulsa Oilers will join forces in 2017-18, giving the Blues an ECHL affiliate after not having one in each of the two past seasons. The Oilers will team up with the Blues after previously partnering with the Winnipeg Jets.
The new agreement with Tulsa won’t solve the crazy AHL situation the Blues will have to deal with this season. They can’t stick all of their youngsters who won’t fit on the shared AHL roster down at the ECHL level. However, they could have one of their goalies play down in the ECHL with Tulsa as there won’t be any room on the AHL roster for both the Blues and Golden Knights to find time for their budding netminders. That’s fairly significant as you don’t want a goaltending prospect sitting idle with no hope of playing time.
Just like the announcement of the Blues finding an AHL partner for 2018-19 through San Antonio, the Blues finding an ECHL club will give the franchise more flexibility and control over how their prospects are handled. The new agreement may not pay immediate dividends, but it will definitely add some needed long-term stability for the franchise as a whole.