Terry Pegula is smart to purchase the Rochester Americans. Just six months ago he was a fan with an aspiration to own his favorite hockey team. Not only does he own one hockey team, but now he owns two (pending an official announcement after the AHL board of governers meeting today).
**The AHL President and CEO David Andrews have welcomed Terry Pegula and the Buffalo Sabres into the AHL as new owners of the Rochester Americans. The only thing to finish now is to let Portland know the romance is done, that our old girl friend wants us back, and to tell Florida that they can pick up from their upstate New York affair and find a new home. **
This move doesn’t just affect the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans, they are merely a ripple in the frozen pond. And they aren’t the only ones causing problems with AHL affiliates.
With Atlanta losing their NHL franchise, one would think that the Chicago Wolves would continue to provide fodder for the new Winnipeg franchise. Not the case. Winnipeg will align itself with the new St. Johns AHL franchise, leaving Chicago without an affiliate.
With the Sabres aligning themselves once again, returning to an almost thirty year relationship after a three year seperation, Portland is left looking for a dance partner, and the Florida Panthers need somewhere to send their prospects. Florida could end up with either Chicago or Portland – but in reality they should be looking at a regionalized AHL affiliate.
Teams that might be interested in swapping affiliates to let Florida regionalize are Minnesota (could go with Chicago, current affiliate is in Houston) and Los Angeles could be interested in moving to an affiliate with Chicago, their current affiliation is with a team in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Now I have no reason to believe that Los Angeles or Minnesota are even interested in moving their affiliates; I am just going off the presumption that teams are trying to regionalize to make it a faster process of getting replacement players to the big league faster.