It has been an odd year for the minor league branch of the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Not having an AHL affiliate has been challenging and odd for the franchise. The lone Canes property in the AHL that made the All-Star roster is defenseman, Dylan Coghlan.
Last year, the Canes affiliate was the Chicago Wolves. However, this year they have loaned out players over the AHL, while still having a working relationship with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, where Yaniv Perets has played. The Admirals are officially the affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.
In last year's AHL All-Star game, the lone Canes player was defenseman and then captain of the Chicago Wolves, Max Lajoie.
Needless to say, besides retaining the contracts of some important restricted free agents this summer, the next biggest decision for general manager, Don Waddell, is figuring out the affiliates at both the AHL and ECHL. Loaning players is no way to develop the future of the organization, not to mention, treating prospects.
It was a bizarre off-season for Waddell and the defensive group. He seemed to be negotiating and working on a trade with Brett Pesce while bringing in right-handed defenseman, Tony DeAngelo. With this depth on the right side, it did not appear that Coghlan was in the plans for the Canes.
But lo and behold, Coghlan came to an agreement in the summer for one year. After no trade was made involving Pecse, Coghlan ended up not making the NHL roster and heading to Springfield to play for the Thunderbirds.
At just 25 years old, Coghlan went down with the right attitude and is clearly making a name for himself in Springfield. As a defenseman, he has 10 goals and 11 assists in 31 games. He has consistently produced at the AHL level and had some snippets of success at the NHL level.
Being a restricted free agent at the end of the year, the Canes could let him walk or include him in the plans if they can't agree on a contract extension with Pesce.