Jul 29, 2010, 12:34 PM EDT
When the Lightning aren’t signing three defensemen to fill out their depth chart, they’re doing something they haven’t done since 2008. The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they’ve reached a very logical affiliate agreement with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Damian Cristodero shares the news.
The Everblades, founded in 1998 and a former affiliate of the Hurricanes, have made 12 straight playoff appearances and became the first ECHL team to make back-to-back appearances in the Kelly Cup final in 2004 and 2005. The Everblades had the best regular-season record in the ECHL in 1998-99 and 2008-09. The team has averaged 6,288 fans at home games in its history.
“That is exactly the type of winning environment our players should develop in,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in a release.
Tampa Bay will provide players under both AHL and NHL contracts, the team announced. The Lightning has not had an ECHL affiliate since the Augusta Lynx ceased operations in December 2008.
Having depth all through an organization is a big deal, and for the Lightning to rejoin the ECHL world of development helps them out. The added upside to this is that if you’re going to help market a Florida team to Florida fans, having a minor league team in Florida goes a long way towards growing the brand and let’s face it, after Oren Koules and Len Barrie helped salt the earth for hockey’s interest in Florida, repairing that structure even at the most basic professional level will help that out.
- Maloney signs long-term contract as Coyotes GM 3
- Playoffs Tonight: Penguins aim to finish off Senators 16
- Kings’ Quick ‘didn’t have to work hard’ in shutout win over Sharks 7
- Discuss: Kings dominate Game 5, one win away from Western Conference final 21
- Discuss: Red Wings take 3-1 series lead 62
- Discuss: Rangers stay alive with OT win 85
- What they’re saying about the Avs hiring Patrick Roy 9
- It’s official: Colorado names Roy sixth head coach in franchise history 56
- Couture accuses Kings captain Brown of diving 38
- Three reasons why the Rangers might buy out Richards 26
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting (113)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (101)
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (95)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Tiger, LeBron and bids to be the best that ever lived
- PBT: Pacers must take back paint to beat Heat
- PHT: Senators fight for playoff lives in Game 5
- HBT: A-Rod sells Miami home for $30 million
- PST: Key battles for Champions League final
- Struggling Blackhawks on brink of elimination
- PHT: Wings push Blackhawks to brink | Highlights