ST. LOUIS - Starting with the 2017-18 season, the Blues won't be the primary affiliate of the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves. That's because the Wolves now have a primary affiliation with the Vegas Golden Knights.
However, the Blues will continue to assign players and recall players from the Wolves next season.
If you're confused, you're not alone. Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong held a conference call with the media on Tuesday afternoon and cleared up some of the confusion.
Here are the basics of what you need to know:
- The Blues will continue to send prospects to the Chicago Wolves in 2017-18, as will the Vegas Golden Knights.
- The Golden Knights will not be using Blues prospects on their NHL club in Vegas, just like the Blues won't be calling up Golden Knights prospects to St. Louis.
- Vegas will be participating in the NHL Draft next month, and most of the players they select will be around 18 years of age and not yet ready to play in the American Hockey League. This is where the Blues come in - St. Louis can supply plenty of AHL-ready players right now.
- Because the Golden Knights will select 30 NHL players at the expansion draft, all of them won't be able to play on Vegas' NHL roster. Therefore, some veteran NHL players will likely be assigned to the Wolves, where they can mentor some of the Blues' upcoming prospects.
- Because of roster size limitations, Blues prospects that won't report to the Chicago Wolves will be reporting to other organizations, which are yet to be announced.
"Part of my comfort level is my relationship with (Vegas GM) George McPhee," Armstrong said of the arrangement. "He and I have talked extensively on the benefits of this relationship… I think it's a really competitive advantage for Vegas and us to join forces. We can input some of our better prospects into their environment."
Armstrong said the Blues have looked into options that included having their own AHL affiliate for this season, but those options have not yet worked out.
"We've had some irons in the fire, but they didn't take hold," Armstrong said.
The Blues will continue to look into having their own affiliate beginning with the 2018-19 season.