Today, the ECHL will conclude its 2014-15 season on the ice, as the Allen Americans will host the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Final.
On Monday, the 2014-15 season will officially end, as teams will release their end-of-season 20-man rosters. Saturday was the ECHL’s Future Considerations trade deadline – the date by which teams had to complete trades that were made due to future considerations. None have been publicly announced, but those deals will likely be reflected on the rosters that are released Monday.
On Tuesday, ECHL teams may begin signing players for the 2015-16 season, as the new year will officially begin. Up to eight players from the roster who are not signed may be tendered qualifying offers by June 30.
We do know the whereabouts of a handful of players from the Indy Fuel for next season:
- Defenseman Doug Jessey signed with a team in Brest, France.
- Captain/forward Mike Duco announced Sunday he has signed with the Sheffield Steelers in Britain.
- Forward Chris DeSousa stayed in the organization, inking a deal with the AHL Rockford IceHogs.
- Defenseman Kirill Gotovets, who played a number of games with the Fuel on loan from Rockford, re-signed with the IceHogs.
The summer will likely see a number of changes throughout the Chicago/Rockford/Indy organization with the Blackhawks’ salary cap crunch leading to reliance on younger players to fill the depth positions on the roster, leading to a number of promotions from Rockford. DeSousa and Gotovets could each be reassigned to Indy by the IceHogs, but with the way they played at the end of the season, it’s likely they’ll stay in the AHL.
A few other ECHL tidbits:
- For the second straight year, the league will have a defending champion from another league. With the absorption of the CHL this fall, the league had both its own defending champ (Alaska) and the CHL champ (Allen) in the fold (and, of course, a third market – Indy – had a separate franchise win a championship in another league in 2013-14). Last night, the Manchester Monarchs won the AHL’s Calder Cup. Manchester and the Ontario Reign will swap franchises, making Manchester an ECHL market next year, meaning they’ll be unveiling their AHL banner as an ECHL franchise. While the Monarchs will inherit the Reign’s roster and history (and vice-versa), their city will be celebrating as defending champs.
- Known affiliation changes for next year. The 3 new teams will bring their affiliations from the teams that moved the AHL franchises to them: Manchester (Los Angeles), Norfolk (Edmonton) & Adirondack (Calgary). Two other teams have announced affiliations – the Missouri Mavericks picked up the New York Islanders as an affiliate. The Mavs played 2014-15 as an independent, sharing an AHL Chicago Wolves affiliation with Kalamazoo. Also, the Brampton Beast picked up the Montreal Canadiens as an affiliate. The Habs had previously shared the Wheeling Nailers affiliation with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Brampton played as an independent. Montreal will become the first team to have its AHL, ECHL and NHL affiliates all in Canada – the Habs also temporarily moved their AHL team from Hamilton, Ontario to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and will eventually move it to Laval in suburban Montreal.