The Nashville Predators have reached an agreement with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL as a developmental affiliate for the organization.

The Everblades tweeted out the announcement earlier today on their Twitter account, with the related story on their website.

The agreement will begin in the 2019-20 season. The Everblades will serve as another developmental team under the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators current AHL affiliate. The Everblades former NHL affiliate was the Carolina Hurricanes.

“We are thrilled to have the Nashville Predators as our new NHL affiliate,” said Craig Brush, President and General Manager of the Florida Everblades.

“Nashville’s President of Hockey Operations and General Manager David Poile has done a remarkable job developing an expansion franchise into one of the most prominent teams in the NHL. We are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the development of players for the Predators and Milwaukee Admirals.”

Re-Affiliating With The ECHL

The Predators have been without an ECHL affiliate since their agreement with the Norfolk Admirals ended, quite abruptly, in the middle of the 2017-18 season. Neither the Nashville Predators nor the Norfolk Admirals released any additional information on why that agreement ended, but the Predators did not pursue another ECHL team until now.

Viktor Arvidsson Milwaukee Admirals
Viktor Arvidsson was an excellent player for the Milwaukee Admirals before make the AHL to NHL jump. Image via Milwaukee Admirals.

The benefits of having an ECHL team in an NHL pipeline are important, but minor. While NHL teams have much more control over their AHL affiliates (the partnership between the NHL and the AHL is a strong one), NHL teams do not have a lot of control over their ECHL teams. Essentially the Predators will now be able to send players to Florida without paying a developmental fee, plus some other benefits.

The real benefit perhaps is in building relationships with the Florida staff and expanding the franchise’s ever important prospect pool. Without an affiliation, the Predators are forced to pay extra and have less rapport with the teams controlling their players. (Last year, the Predators were loaning players to the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators).

For 10 years, the Predators had an agreement with the Cincinnati Cyclones, which ended in 2017. The most well known and successful player from the Cyclones to make the Predators is Frederick Gaudreau.

In the short run, this is only minor news for the Nashville Predators. But having a good relationship with an ECHL team can be good for the franchise in the long run. Though most of us probably know very little about the Everblades, the Predators made the right choice in adding an ECHL team to their franchise.

— Featured image via Steve Roberts/USA TODAY Sports —

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