AHL affiliation swaps announced for 2015-16

Hope you weren't too attached to the NHL/AHL affiliation situations this season. Because next season things will be very different.

Check out the infographic on the right for a quick look at the changes, then read on for a more in-depth discussion.

We've been following the creation of the AHL's new Pacific Division since January. Five teams are moving to California. Plus, the St. John's IceCaps are heading back to Manitoba and will, in turn, be replaced by the Hamilton Bulldogs. (Hamilton's getting an OHL team.)

In all those cases, the team affiliations aren't changing, just the franchise identities and home arenas. However, as of last Friday, four other AHL teams will have new NHL partners.

It all started just over a month ago when the Florida Panthers signed an affiliation agreement with the Portland Pirates — breaking ties with the San Antonio Rampage.

On April 17, the Rampage announced they were joining up with the Colorado Avalanche — who were previously with the Lake Erie Monsters.

That turned out to be brilliant for the Cleveland-based Monsters because it presented the opportunity to create an Ohio hockey powerhouse by aligning with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So with all the switching of dance partners, that left the Arizona Coyotes (previously with the Pirates) and Springfield Falcons (formerly with the Blue Jackets) with no one but each other.

So what does it mean to jersey geeks?

At the very least, new shoulder patches for some of the AHL teams involved. If we want to be optimistic about it, there could be jersey changes on the horizon too.

Springfield Falcons

The Falcons recolored their logo and uniforms to match the Blue Jackets when they got together in 2010. Will they go back or adopt Coyotes colors? Bear in mind the Coyotes have new home and road sweaters coming next season.

San Antonio Rampage

The Rampage have always had their own unique identity so I don't see much changing there. They don't even wear their NHL affiliate's shoulder patch at the moment.

Lake Erie Monsters

The Monsters have a well-established brand, so changes should be minimal. However, it was announced at a joint press conference yesterday that a new third jersey is in the works.

The Monsters are developing a new jersey that will marry the identities of the two organizations.
"We're going to collaborate on an alternate jersey that the (Monsters) players will wear once a month," Bulholz said. "Those will be Blue Jackets nights."

It's also worth noting that the Monsters have been trying to establish themselves more as the "Cleveland" team in recent years, so a significant name or jersey change wouldn't be completely out of left field.

Portland Pirates

The Pirates are in a good position. They already wear red, like the Panthers. We'll probably see them swap out shoulder patches and call it a day.

So what sort of jersey or logo changes are you hoping will come from these new affiliations?

UPDATE · May 6 · The graphic above has been updated with the announcement that the Winnipeg Jets' affiliate will be named the Manitoba Moose.