(Since I'm putting this post up so late tonight Friday Links will be up sometime after noon)
It looks like the Blades decided the best way to handle being dumped by the Panthers was to buddy up with their cross state rivals. You may remember (from my awesome spreadsheet) that the Tampa Bay Lightning were sending their prospects from the Norfolk Admirals to a CHL team. Apparently, the new regime in Tampa is smarter than that, and opted to go with an ECHL affiliate instead. If you're interested,you can check out some info on their prospects in Norfolk here.
There were two other affiliation announcements made recently. The Jackals announced an agreement with the Anaheim Ducks, and the Kalamazoo Wings announced an agreement with the New York Islanders.
There are two ECHL teams who have no affiliate, Greenville and Bakersfield. I would put good money on The Wild signing an agreement with Bakersfield. The Rangers, Panthers and Flyers don't have too many options if they want an affiliate in the East. If you take a look at the ECHL location map and compare it to the aaffiliation chart. You'll see the only real options available (this doesn't include Trenton and Wheeling as their owned by their parent clubs and seem to be kept on a short leash) in the East are Greenville and South Carolina.
View ECHL Team Locations in a larger map
The teams could decide to use the CHL. They could also arrange to send players to an ECHL team without an affiliation agreement (if they do this, won't be able to call-up players that have an ECHL contract), the team could also tough it out until next year, and hope a good option for them becomes available. As always, we won't know until it happens. Until then, I guess I have to check out our new affiliates schedule to see when I'll be heading up North.