Report: Columbus could be affiliated with Lake Erie next season

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The top farm club of the Columbus Blue Jackets could be a lot closer to its parent team next season.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Jackets could partner with the Lake Erie Monsters beginning as early as next season.

The Monsters play at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.

The talks of an affiliation change reportedly began with news of the Florida Panthers partnering with Portland. The Portland Pirates had been the affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes while San Antonio had been partnered with Florida.

The Dispatch’s report cites a story from radio station WHTK in Rochester, N.Y., which has the Colorado Avalanche looking to move from Lake Erie to San Antonio. The station also reported the Arizona Coyotes are now interested in Springfield, MA as a possibility for their AHL club.

The aforementioned relocations would then leave Lake Erie without an NHL partner

Springfield has been the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets since 2010, but according to the Dispatch’s sources, there is a mutual opt-out clause in the contract between the two clubs this summer.