The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Monday afternoon that they have agreed to an affiliation with the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Toronto will join the Minnesota Wild and Iowa Wild in supplying prospects to the Solar Bears roster come the 2013-14 season.
“The Leafs are extremely pleased to have the Orlando Solar Bears as our new ECHL affiliate,” said Leafs GM Dave Nonis. “Our organization feels that Orlando will be a terrific environment for our prospects to continue their hockey development.”
Toronto’s roster last season had four players that spent time in the ECHL. Goaltender James Reimer spent time with the Reading Royals and South Carolina Stingrays in 2008-09. Ben Scrivens played 13 games with the Royals in 2010-11. Jussi Rynnas played just over half a season with Reading in 2011-12 and center David Steckel played nine games with the Royals in 2004-05.
Last season the Leafs did not have an ECHL affiliate, so they had prospects play in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Toledo and Reading. So it’s fair to say this agreement with the Orlando Solar Bears is something that needed to happen.
– In cased you missed it: The Leafs re-signed defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to a three-year contract extension Monday
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