Fascinating post, thanks. It's interesting that on the one hand the Stars seem to be trying to move closer in their relationship with Idaho by holding training camp there next fall, yet the developmental climate seems to be deteriorating. How much influence does an NHL team really have on the hockey operations of an ECHL club?
In general it feels like there's been some drift with both affiliates. When the Texas Stars were founded both clubs hailed the partnership as something that would move closely in sync, playing similar systems/styles and sharing an overall philosophy. That's the ideal that many NHL teams try to achieve with their farm club -- a smooth transition all the way up the ladder for their prospects, plug and play. But it didn't pan out that way. First with the offensively-minded Crawford working at cross-purposes to Gulutzan and now basically the reverse happening with the defensive Gulutzan and the free-wheeling Pyle failing to compliment each other. Nieuwendyk has to take some responsibility for not running a tight enough ship in this regard.
I would like to see parent clubs using their AHL affiliates for coaches as well as players. I don't know if anyone is but it seems not. The NHL seems to pull alot from the AHL and then move AHL assistants up to head coaching gigs after they take the AHL coach. Many times the AHL assistant has no head coaching experience or has been groomed in another organization or system. Why not have a ladder system throughout the organization so that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal. I realize there are different ownership groups involved but it seems like it would make everyone's life easier in the long run.
Honestly I was shocked when I heard that the Stars were going to holding training camp here. Other than goalies they don't send anyone here who they seem to have much hope of ever panning out and this year they didn't even send a goalie.