The Moose were among six IHL teams absorbed by the rival American Hockey League on Monday. The Winnipeg-based club announced Tuesday that they are affiliated with the NHL Vancouver Canucks.
The addition of the six former IHL clubs increases the AHL ranks to 27 teams. Besides the Moose, IHL refugees include the Milwaukee Admirals, Utah Grizzlies, Grand Rapids Griffins, Chicago Wolves and Houston Aeros. The AHL hopes to have 30 teams by the 2002-2003 season.
“The benefits for our organization and for those other applicants that were successful in obtaining membership in the AHL are quite obvious,” Chipman said.
“We’re delighted to be able to become a part of the rich history of the American Hockey League.”
Possible off-season moves that could affect the Flames depth chart.
The minor league affiliate in Saint John had a stellar season, winning the Canadian Division crown, then going on to capture the Calder Cup as league champions. The success on the farm and the failure of the NHL squad should have some sort of impact on the roster in the upcoming season. The uninspired play of many veterans may also force a shuffling of personnel. So what can we really expect between now and training camp?
Promotions, Demotions, Minor League Shuffling
On the Farm
The success for a minor league affiliate is normally great news for any NHL team. Especially when the average age on that team is 22 years of age. It usually means that the minor league team is stacked with some great talent that could help out a weak NHL squad. But the Flames are not lucky enough to fall into that category. While the team they played in the Calder Cup finals, the Wilkes Barrie-Scranton Penguins, sported young AHL scoring stars like Milan Kraft and Andrew Ference, the Saint John Flames success can be tied to their great team play. There is not a single NHL star player in development in Calgary’s farm team. There is no expected impact player to be delivered that could change the NHL team’s fortunes. But there are a few players that could help out the Flames become a better scoring team, and provide more depth and balance to the roster.
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“It’s sort of depressing,” said Earl Towers, another Timmins player who settled in Chatham. “It’s sort of sad. But I’m glad we did it.”