At a time where several NHL teams are moving their AHL affiliates closer to home, the Lightning took a different course of action on Thursday, inking a six-year extension with Syracuse.
“We are pleased to be extending our affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch,” Bolts GM Steve Yzerman said in a release. “The Crunch and [owner] Howard Dolgon, along with the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County, have been, and continue to be, an excellent place to develop our prospects.
“We look forward to what will hopefully be many successful years to come on and off the ice.”
In 2012, the Lightning moved their affiliate to Syracuse from Norfolk — which is where current head coach Jon Cooper led the team to the ’12 Calder Cup. Some of the key contributors on that championship team included Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn.
Cooper then moved with the team to Syracuse, before getting promoted to the parent club in ’13. The Lightning note that since the affiliate move four years ago, 36 players have appeared with both the Crunch and the Bolts.
All told, 14 former Crunch players are currently on the Lightning’s current playoff roster.