It does not appear that the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers will be sharing a minor-league affiliate next season.
A story this past week in the Palm Beach Post indicated that the Panthers would like to have their own American Hockey League farm team for the 2008-09 season. During the past three seasons, Buffalo and Florida have shared the Rochester Americans as their AHL affiliate. No other NHL clubs currently split an AHL farm team.
While Glens Falls -- which formerly hosted the AHL's Adirondack Red Wings -- and Cornwall, Ontario, are two possible locations for the Panthers' new affiliate, it is not out of the question that Rochester could have Florida as its exclusive parent club.
Steve Donner, the Amerks' president and CEO, told the publication that he would be open to considering a deal with the Panthers if they would agree to add some veterans to their AHL roster in order to become more competitive.
"They've been wonderful to deal with," Donner said. "It's a first-class operation."
The Sabres have been associated with Rochester for 29 seasons, which is the longest active relationship between an NHL and AHL club. The two sides agreed to a one-year extension of their deal in June, but no contract is in place for next season.
The current agreement calls for the Sabres to provide a minimum of 10 prospects and the entire coaching staff.
Buffalo and Florida began to share the Amerks in 2005, coming out of the NHL lockout. Back then a joint agreement was not uncommon, but it has since been phased out as a practice by all of the league's other teams.
"Our relationship with Rochester has been good," said Jacques Martin, Florida's general manager and coach, "but that time has come."
The Panthers are looking to set themselves up with their own AHL affiliate in an attempt to consistently get their prospects more ice time.
The Amerks are 6-7-1-1 after Saturday's win over Hamilton.