In recent weeks we have heard whispers about new minor league affiliates for teams in the National Hockey League, with the Phoenix Coyotes being one of those teams.
After spending the last six years with the San Antonio Rampage serving as their AHL club, the Coyotes have agreed to a new deal with the Portland Pirates to assume that same role.
This was part of a shuffle among three NHL teams, all of which appear to be picking up each other's AHL affiliates. The Pirates are the former AHL club for the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres just picked up the Rochester Americans, formerly of the Florida Panthers. With the Coyotes signing this new deal, it looks like the Panthers will be picking up the Rampage as their AHL affiliate.
While the Rampage did have some longevity with the Coyotes, none of their seasons as Phoenix's minor league club can be considered a major success. They made the playoffs just once, but did post three winning records over that span.
It wasn't until recently that we started seeing San Antonio sending some quality talent to the Coyotes, with the likes of Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker looking like they are going to grow into serious NHL talent.
The head coach of the new Portland affiliate, which is Portland, Maine, will be Ray Edwards, who was the Rampage head coach for the last two years. He'll take over a Pirates squad that has made the Calder Cup playoffs 14 of the 18 seasons that they have been in existence, and has produced three winners of the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award, for most outstanding rookie.