May 13 2013 09:17AM
Here's some bad news from the Peoria Journal Star's Dave Eminian:
The Vancouver Canucks have notified Peoria Civic Center they will not be operating their AHL team here. So Rivermen officially gone.— Dave Eminian (@icetimecleve) May 13, 2013
Sources say Vancouver likely to keep former Rivermen team dormant next season and loan prospects to other AHL teams.— Dave Eminian (@icetimecleve) May 13, 2013
The possibility that Vancouver wouldn't be able to find a spot to park their newly acquired AHL affiliate has been broached previously by Mike Gillis, but still, this comes as a bit of a surprise. Read past the jump.
It was obvious that the Canucks were originally hoping to move their newly acquired AHL affiliate to the Fraser Valley, before a three-way deal with the city and the Calgary Flames fell apart. Since then it has been speculated that perhaps Rogers Arena could be a spot for the Canucks to operate an American Hockey League team locally, though Mike Gillis wrote off that possibility in his season ending press conference.
Dave Eminian's reporting has been solid throughout this Peoria/Abbotsford/Chicago saga, and frankly, I think we should take his report completely unsalted. The Canucks may yet manage to work out a deal with some city or arena in the next six weeks, but there isn't much in the way of whispers or reports of negotiations out in the public sphere currently. The lack of smoke may not tell us much, but the calender does, and it would appear that the club is running out of time.
For all of the hand-wringing about how the Chicago Wolves prioritized winning over player development, going a full season without an AHL affiliate of any kind would be a much worse situation for Vancouver's already weakened prospect pool. Had the Canucks operated their own AHL affiliate we would've probably seen the likes of Nicklas Jensen, Henrik Tommernes, Peter Andersson, and Alexandres Grenier and Malllet given prominent roles. Scattered across the American Hockey League on loans, that's a much less likely proposition.
Brad Ziemer asked Canucks Assistant General Manager Laurence Gilman for comment on this latest report and got nothing:
Assistant GM Laurence Gilman at AHL BOG meetings and will not comment at this time on suggestions #Canucks may leave team dormant next year— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) May 13, 2013
Which doesn't tell us anything at all, really, but is worth including I figure.