Tampa Bay to say Bye-Bye to the ECHL (UPDATED)
From Damian at the Times:
Lawton said the team will not have an ECHL affiliate next season. In fact, because of financial constraints, it will have only 20 contract players at AHL Norfolk. Lawton said the rest of the roster will be filled out with loaner players from other organizations. Riku Helenius and Dustin Tokarski will be the goaltenders. If Tampa Bay signs draftee goalie Jaroslav Janus, he perhaps could be loaned out to an ECHL team to get playing time. The same plan would apply to any players the Lightning determined needed more playing time that he was getting at Norfolk.
Between team financial troubles and the economy, cutting loose the lower affiliate makes sense. But it still hurts when you think about the Bolts controlling all levels of player development. Loaning out players means they have to fit in to another team's scheme... Or no scheme at all. Bad habits can be formed.
UPDATE: Had the incorrect affiliation posted, with a graphic to the defunct Augusta Lynx. Tampa Bay was not affiliated with them last season.