On Thursday afternoon, the question that has been on everyone’s mind for the past several weeks was finally answered. The Cincinnati Cyclones have renewed their affiliation with the NHL’s Nashville Predators and AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals for the ninth consecutive season. 2015-2016 will be the Modern Day Cyclones’ 10th season in the ECHL. Of those 10 seasons, the Predators have been involved with all but one of them, which was the first season, back in 2006-2007. That’s something you have to admire about the Predators. Their farm system has been pretty stable, compared to those NHL & AHL teams who seem to switch up affiliations on a yearly basis. Nashville has been affiliated with Cincinnati since 2007-2008, and Milwaukee since 1998-1999.
Another question that immediately pops into the mind when reading about the renewed affiliation with Nashville is “What about the Florida Panthers?”. The Cyclones have been affiliated with Florida since the 2010-2011 season, and that relationship is unfortunately over. A new rule that was established at the ECHL’s league meetings in Las Vegas a few weeks ago only permits one NHL affiliation per ECHL club as the league continues its goal towards aligning itself with the NHL & AHL to create a farm system a lot like Baseball where everybody only has one affiliation.
Here’s the list of players the Cyclones will lose due to losing the affiliation with Florida: (F) Andrew Yogan, (F) Wade Megan, (F) Steven Hodges, (F) Joe Basaraba, (D) Tony Turgeon, (D) Shayne Taker, (D) Josh McFadden, (D) MacKenzie Weegar, & (G) Sam Brittain
(NOTE: Those included in the above list each skated in at least 1 game for Cincinnati during the 14-15 season.)
Here’s the loophole from the above list. Of those players, the following are currently free agents: Tony Turgeon, Josh McFadden, Joe Basaraba, Andrew Yogan, & Shayne Taker. I doubt Turgeon and Yogan will go without getting offers from other AHL teams, but it’s possible Basaraba, McFadden, and Taker could be in Cincinnati on ECHL contracts.
I was a bit shocked at this as I stated in an earlier post, I expected the Clones to keep Florida and dump Nashville. That, my friends, is just another reason why I’m the guy blogging and not behind the bench. It certainly makes my job a heck of lot easier now that I only have to focus on one AHL roster, as compared to two.
Nashville has been nonexistent in the past when it comes to developing players in Cincinnati. But, that was due to the dual affiliation with the Panthers. Now that Florida is out, Nashville has Cincinnati’s undivided attention. So, expect the Preds to be a lot more active in Cincy this season than they have been the past few seasons.
The Nashville/Milwaukee/Cincinnati trio has been a very successful one for the Cyclones. Over their nine seasons together, 2 Kelly Cup Championships, 3 Conference Championships, 3 Division Championships, and 1 Brabham Cup Championship have been brought to Cincinnati. Lots of great talent has been produced. Anthony Bitetto, Mark Van Guilder, Magnus Hellberg, Kevin Henderson, Chris Mueller, Mark Dekanich, and Taylor Aronson are just a small sample of the many players to make their way from Cincinnati to Nashville. Hopefully the success will only increase even more this year between Cincinnati-Milwaukee-Nashville without having to worry about sharing affiliates.
Last season, Milwaukee certainly had some Grade A talent sent to Cincinnati. Those would be in the form of (F) Frederick Gaudreau, (D) Jaynen Rissling, (D) Garrett Noonan, and (F) Joe Pendenza. I’d expect to see a couple, if not all wind up in Cincy at some point in the near future. The only player I am 99.9% sure that will start the season in Cincinnati is (G) Brandon Whitney. For the full list of players you need to keep an eye on during the off-season. Visit Admirals Roundtable’s Projected Roster Page for Milwaukee, Here.