Rochester seeking broader affiliation terms with Panthers - or not


At least that's how Amerks' president Lewis Staats' "the agreement we have needs to be changed" comment should be translated.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle's Kevin Oklobzija - backed up by numerous Twitter entries from the club itself - the Americans want nothing further to do with the current "all-development" deal with Florida, preferring to have a more active role in the shape of their on-ice product, i.e. sharing veteran salary costs, among other concerns.

The two clubs have until November 1st to either iron out their differences or part ways after the season. Considering that date is really only hours away can lead one to believe for all the bustle, Rochester intends to go the route of free-agency. Stranger things, of course, have happened over shorter periods of time, but let's be realistic: Neither organization has been all too enamored with the other, for reasons far too lengthy to list here. Call it a necessary union.

Rochester fans (and likely management, for geographical reasons) have generally wished for a reconciliation with former parent Buffalo, but philosophical and financial differences (coming to a head several years ago when the Sabres left for Portland) may have pushed that partnership past the breaking point.

As Oklobzija points out, three AHL clubs will be available as dance partners come next spring: Lake Erie (Cleveland), San Antonio, and Springfield (Massachusetts) all have expiring deals with their current "parents". None of these options ostensibly improve upon the travel distances currently experienced with the Sunrise-to-Rochester Express.

In any case, don't hold your breath for an AHL expansion team in West Palm Beach. More to come as this grows legs...

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