New Jersey Devils Keep Adirondack Thunder As ECHL Affiliate

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New Jersey Devils made major changes this offseason to its affiliate agreements when they decided to leave Binghamton and move to Utica with their AHL team. Binghamton was a fanbase that seemed to be growing, but the Devils decided it would be better to go to the former home of their AHL squad and to keep them the Utica Comets.

When it comes to their ECHL team, no major change is happening. The Devils came to an agreement on Thursday to keep the Adirondack Thunder as their secondary minor-league team.

The Devils have seen players grow from the ECHL into the NHL. Most notably, Mackenzie Blackwood spent 10 games in the ECHL during the 2017-18 season. Blackwood struggled in the AHL in his first professional season, but he seemed to gain some confidence in the ECHL. He dominated in five playoff games, putting up a .964 save percentage.

The Devils might have to use their ECHL affiliate more than other teams with so many prospects coming in and needing playing time. There seems to be a full AHL lineup already without considering veteran signings and other prospects making the move to professional. The Devils need as many spaces for ice time as possible as their prospect pool grows.

It’s good to get some consistency for the Devils. The Adirondack Thunder allow the Devils to put together a long process of minor league affiliates after a tumultuous year. The Thunder announced they will have full capacity after skipping the 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Thunder have a pretty consistent formula with Alex Loh set to go into his fourth year as head coach. With Mark Dennehy spending the same amount of time with the AHL team, the Devils can promote at least some consistency in their minor league affiliates.