Today in the "A": Qualifying Offers and Affiliation Updates

Monday was another busy off-season day around the American Hockey League. Puck-Rakers reported that the Blue Jackets will not extend qualifying offers to Anton Stralman and Sami Lepisto. Of more impact to the Springfield Falcons, others not receiving qualifying offers are Gustaf Wesslau, Tomas Kana (both were done and back to Europe already anyway). Petr Kalus (no surprise) is done, as is Michael Ratchuk. Ratchuk unfortunately appears to be a victim of numbers. He found himself the odd man out both in Springfield and to a lesser extent, in Fort Wayne this season. The Jackets prospect list at D has taken shape, and Ratchuk was an extra that the Jackets apparently felt was unnecessary. The Philadelphia Flyers second round pick in 2006, Ratchuk will no doubt catch on with another club. The Jackets, still according to Puck-Rakers have made a qualifying offer to RFA Michael Blunden. When he was healthy last season, Blunden was usually right in the middle of the action. Hopefully, he stays healthy for the 2011-2012 season!

The annual affilation carousel continued to turn with two new affiliations announced.

First, the Vancouver Canucks agreed to a two year affilation with the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves formerly hosted the Atlanta Thrashers recruits. With the purchase of the NHL franchise and already owning an AHL franchise, you'll remember that True North packed up the affilation and moved it to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canucks now bring their farmhands to the Windy City after calling Winnipeg home for the past decade.

Portland's descent continues. Looking more like the Falcons of say 4-8 years ago, the Pirates will now partner up with the Phoenix Coyotes. Even with Don Maloney somehow managing to keep Phoenix competitive, the AHL club has been a basic mess dating back to 2000, when they were the parent club of the Falcons. The 'Yotes most recent affilation, with the San Antonio Rampage has resulted in only one playoff season (2007-2008), when they were quickly dispatched by the Toronto Marlies in the first round.

Kirk Muller, as predicted all weekend was named head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals. The Montreal Canadiens assistant coach for the past five seasons is a candidate to take over an NHL club in the future. The only knock on him has been that he needed head coaching experience. He will surely get that in Brewtown.

Finally today, the Philadelphia Flyers have re-signed former Jacket Tom Sestito.

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