Which NHL Team Should Pick Up the Cincinnati Cyclones as their ECHL Affiliate?

On May 30th, the New York Rangers decided to end their affiliation with the Cincinnati Cyclones as their ECHL Affiliate and instead announced a new partnership with the Bloomington Bison. This change follows a one-year affiliation between New York and the Cyclones. As a result of this move, several NHL teams, including Utah, Columbus, Carolina, Toronto, and St. Louis, now have an opportunity to establish a partnership with the Cyclones. Toronto is now in need of an ECHL Affiliate due to the Newfoundland Growlers loss, and it looks like there will be a total of 29 teams in the ECHL come next season. In my opinion though, it’s an ideal time for three Ohio hockey teams to finally join forces.

Related Post: Bloomington Bison Announce Affiliation with NY Rangers & New Head Coach

The Cleveland Monsters, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Cincinnati Cyclones are all located along I-71, making it convenient for player transfers between the AHL (Cleveland) and ECHL (Cincinnati). Uniting these teams has been long-awaited by fans and could greatly benefit all parties involved. The recent change in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ affiliation away from the Kalamazoo Wings presents an exciting opportunity. Having a strong ECHL Affiliate is crucial for player development and roster flexibility. A three-team system within the same state makes logistical sense, and I believe Columbus management should seriously consider this opportunity with Cincinnati.

With the recent appointment of Don Waddell as the new GM in Columbus, there might be a focus on other staffing decisions. However, passing up this opportunity would be disappointing for all three fanbases. I hope the Columbus Blue Jackets take advantage of this chance to unite Ohio’s hockey teams. Also, the Blue Jackets are expected to make a lot of changes with their roster this summer, and many new prospects may come through the system, and having an ECHL team in the backbone would be pivotal.

Lately, the Cleveland Monsters have been dominating the AHL North Division, but they are currently trailing 1-0 in the AHL Eastern Conference Finals against the Hershey Bears. The Monsters have a talented roster, and any players who don’t make the cut can head down to Cincinnati to further develop their skills if this scenario was to occur. It’s likely that many of the Monsters’ players will move up to the NHL for full-time roster spots. For example, goaltender Jet Greaves saw significant playing time this year with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Additionally, several defensemen and forwards were called up to the Blue Jackets last season due to their challenging year, and this experience has helped them develop their game significantly.

Last season was a tough one for the Cyclones, as they ended with a 31-34-7 record, landing them in 6th place in the Central Division and causing them to miss the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2016-2017 season. However, the team has a talented young core that holds a lot of promise for the future. Looking ahead to next season, they are expected to come back stronger and be a formidable presence in the Central Division. As the NHL Affiliate extension is pending, it remains to be seen which players will return or move up to the AHL, but there’s a lot of anticipation surrounding their potential moves.

Matthew Buhrmann

Writer at Inside the Rink l Covering Cincinnati Cyclones l Student @uofcincy l @Mbuhrmann61 on socials

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