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The Florida Everblades affiliation with Lightning, Syracuse Crunch, comes to an end

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Since new ownership and management took over the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, the franchise has taken a broad focus on player development. Since then, the club has had two teams vie (and one win) the AHL's championship trophy (the Calder Cup) and it's had a joint affiliation with the ECHL's Florida Everblades who play in Estero.  They've shared that affiliation with the Carolina Hurricanes.

That affiliation has been forced to an end by way of ECHL league ownership.

From the News Press article on the matter:

An ECHL vote has led to the Florida Everblades ending their affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Everblades president and general manager Craig Brush said league owners voted unanimously to have single affiliation. The Everblades now will affiliate solely with just the Carolina Hurricanes.

The ECHL will possibly expand to 30 teams to coordinate with each NHL parent affiliation. This opens questions for the lower-rung minor league (as to alignment and where new teams would be placed) as well as for the Lightning itself. ECHL affiliation in the development cycle matters for exactly that purpose - development and being the backup to the AHL affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch.  Syracuse matters, and ridding them of a backup affiliate puts the club's compete level at risk.

If an ECHL affiliation is available in the northeast, it might be better for the sake of logistics and synergy with the Crunch - recalling or demoting players might be more timely and cheaper by way of less travel expense. Depending on where the ECHL adds teams could also make things very interesting...