Report: Canucks “Likely” to go without AHL affiliate this season

Here’s some bad news from the Peoria Journal Star’s Dave Eminian:

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:

Which doesn’t tell us anything at all, really, but is worth including I figure.

  • Mantastic

    Idont know guys….I’m really starting to lose faith in Mike Gillis ability…to do anything.

    As time goes by, he seems to be showing more and more incompetence.

    I don”t think the man has any idea what hes doing anymore.

  • Mantastic

    Tired but true Canuck fan but considering how the organization decided to ‘compensate’ fans for the lock-out, the way the season went, the absolutely embarrassing way the goalie situation was handled and now this I’ve got to admit I’ve lost a lot of respect for this club this year.

  • Mantastic

    How much of this is on GMMG, serious question? To be honest I haven’t been on a fire MG bandwagon (yet) because of unforeseeable poor luck colouring some of his decisions, but if this is included in his handy work… this is a new level of mismanagement.

  • Newbie hockey fan here. With the purchase of the Rivermen, do the Canucks now manage those Peoria players? Or are our Chicago Wolves magically transformed into (Peoria) Rivermen? It seems ridiculous to spend so much time/effort/money to acquire prospects, and then leave them behind with a new team acquisition.

    • Mantastic

      the players the Riverman owned (the ones they signed contracts to) will stick with the team, the prospects owned by the Blues will be going to the wolves next season.

      Canuck fans would be thilled if they actually had all the players from the Riverman team. that would be a great trade.

  • I hate to add to all the criticism and make the comments section seem like CDC or hf… But what the hell is going on here? I’m not blaming this all on Gillis but the organization is really starting to lose it if this is actually true, it just screams of utter incompetence on their part. Now you can basically wash away a year of development for their AHL prospects all because they didn’t have a proper plan in place if Abbotsford didn’t work out… Is this organization seriously arrogant enough to think they could simply take the Heat out of Abbotsford this year without a hitch?! It’s pretty obvious they were just bluffing on putting the farm team in GM place.

    God damnit now I’m sounding exactly like the type of fans I hate… But this is really scary if its true.

  • Mantastic

    Ugh. More ammo for the haters. The problems just keep piling on.

    So what’s next? Sedins announcing that they’re leaving after their contract is up? :p

    *nervous laughter*

  • BrudnySeaby

    I think perhaps this is just a bluffing game from the Canucks where they are trying to get a better deal for the Peoria arena.

    I mean, they “own” the team (or rather the rights, I guess!?), they have a bunch of AHL players that they want to develop, and they also have Arniel under contract to coach. So wouldn’t the Canucks do anything to be able to operate the team?

  • KleptoKlown

    Not having a team is pretty much the worst possible outcome. If this does happen, Gilly should be publicly flogged before being fired. Not once have I thought Gilly should be fired, but this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  • Mantastic

    This probably has more to do with ownership than it does Gillis.

    Aquillini wants a AHL team in the Fraser Valley (for good reason). They couldn’t get it done this year, but the owner’s probably hoping that things change next year. If that’s the case, why plug the team somewhere for just one year (if one could even do that)? And why would, say, Peoria want a team with just a one year commitment?

    I’m not blaming GMMG for this one. This is about the bigger picture beyond next year, not just in player devolpment, but business development as well. Likely, his hands are tied.

    • elvis15

      Exactly. The rumour is the Aquilini’s would lose $1.5M operating the team in Peoria again this coming season. Moving the team short term is also likely an unnecessary expense when they could just wait a year and try again for Abby. Having said that, they have about a month to decide what to do and there is also the rumour that the team will operate an AHL affiliate next season.

  • puck-bandit

    Been reading all the great articles, but this really takes the pudding. I tend to write without showing too much distain for the organization that I have supported for many years, but it’s due.
    We have little in the Canuck Cupboards as it is, now we are shipping, or loaning our prospects away. The level of failure lately gets difficult to bare here. Really comes down to no control over development, the other team won’t give our kids that consideration, as with Chicago. Will we get a chance to get them on a rotating roster, I would say not likely.
    These compounding failures belong to the very man that has yet to take one iota of responsibility for the Canuck disaster on ice-capades. Good business sense would have been to secure a rink then make the notification to us paying public. Mike is so smug and reckless he has now become the butt end of a bad joke.
    I feel for the kids, and can only imagine how they feel, all the uncertainty and knowing the level of incompetence the organization has shown.
    Something either has to give, or go.

    • KleptoKlown

      Agreed. No accountability and incompetence are the hallmarks of this franchise. The fact that they expect the Sedin’s to lead them to anything is a sign of the organization’s sheer scope of delusion.

    • KleptoKlown

      The ECHL Victoria Salmon King left town in 2011. They were replaced with the WHL Victoria Royals.

      The Save on Foods Memorial Center is the only arena in Victoria that could support an AHL team. I would personally love it if the Royals could share the arena with the Canucks farm team, but the Royals won’t be leaving town any time soon.

  • KleptoKlown

    Well looks like the leafs just pulled a Canuck against the Bruins. Never a surprise so see one of Burkes team implode. Good to know both the teams Burke put together are DOA.

  • chinook

    @Elvis 15

    If Aquilini is worried about losing $1.5M in Peoria, imagine how excited he will be to kiss goodbye to $8.4M writing off Keith Ballard’s contract.