NHL Teams

NHL Farm Teams 2023 and Farm System Rankings

By Saroj Karki / 4 August 2023 04:54 PM

AHL team Hershey Bears have won the Calder Cup record 12 times
Source : instagram

NHL Farm Teams are San Diego Gulls, Tucson RoadrunnersTexas Stars, Milwaukee Admirals, Toronto Marlies, Hershey Bears, and more.

Minor league hockey works as a developmental league for the NHL. They serve as a stepping stone for aspiring young hockey players to hone their skills and gain valuable experience before playing on the biggest stage.

American Hockey League (AHL) is the highest-level minor league in the United States, followed by East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Likewise, SPHL and FPHL are the other minor professional leagues in the US.

All the teams apart from Carolina Hurricanes in the National Hockey League have AHL affiliate teams. The Hurricanes were affiliated with the Chicago Wolves from 2020-23.

Accordingly, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues, and Winnipeg Jets are the only four teams without ECHL affiliate teams.

Often the draft picks are assigned to these farm teams where their performances over a certain period of time lead to the NHL roster call-up.

NHL Farm System Rankings in 2023 have Buffalo Sabres in first place, followed by Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Canadiens, and New Jersey Devils.

All the NHL affiliate teams are listed in the table below.

Minor League Hockey Teams

Anaheim DucksSan Diego Gulls, Tulsa Oilers
Arizona CoyotesTucson Roadrunners
Boston BruinsProvidence Bruins, Maine Mariners
Buffalo SabresRochester Americans, Jacksonville IceMen
Calgary FlamesCalgary Wranglers, Rapid City Rush
Carolina HurricanesNorfolk Admirals
Chicago BlackhawksRockford IceHogs, Indy Fuel
Colorado AvalancheColorado Eagles, Utah Grizzlies
Columbus Blue JacketsCleveland Monsters
Dallas StarsTexas Stars, Idaho Steelheads
Detroit Red WingsGrand Rapids Griffins, Toledo Walleye
Edmonton OilersBakersfield Condors, Fort Wayne Komets
Florida PanthersCharlotte Checkers, Florida Everblades
Los Angeles KingsOntario Reign, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Minnesota WildIowa Wild, Iowa Heartlanders
Montreal CanadiansLaval Rocket, Trois-Rivières Lions
Nashville PredatorsMilwaukee Admirals, Atlanta Gladiators
New Jersey DevilsUtica Comets, Adirondack Thunder
New York IslandersBridgeport Islanders, Worcester Railers
New York RangersHartford Wolf Pack, Cincinnati Cyclones
Ottawa SenatorsBelleville Senators, Allen Americans
Philadelphia FlyersLehigh Valley Phantoms, Reading Royals
Pittsburgh PenguinsWilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Wheeling Nailers
San Jose SharksSan Jose Barracuda, Wichita Thunder
Seattle KrakenCoachella Valley Firebirds, Kansas City Mavericks
St. Louis BluesSpringfield Thunderbirds
Tampa Bay LightningSyracuse Crunch, Orlando Solar Bears
Toronto Maple LeafsToronto Marlies, Newfoundland Growlers
Vancouver CanucksAbbotsford Canucks, Kalamazoo Wings
Las Vegas Golden KnightsHenderson Silver Knights, Savannah Ghost Pirates
Washington CapitalsHershey Bears, South Carolina Stingrays
Winnipeg JetsManitoba Moose

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks played their first NHL game on October 8, 1993. The NHL franchise team was founded by the Walt Disney Company in 1993.

It was later bought by Henry and Susan Sameuli in 2005. The Ducks play their home games at the Honda Center Arena in Anaheim, California.

The minor league affiliate teams of  the Anaheim Ducks are:

San Diego Gulls

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 2000
  • Arena - Pechanga Arena

Tulsa Oilers

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Founded - 1992
  • Arena - BOK Center
  • Division Title - 1 (2018-19)

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes plays in the Central Division of the Western Conference in the NHL. The Coyotes play their home games at Mullett Arena.

The franchise was earlier named Winnipeg Jets from 1972-96 and Phoenix Coyotes from 1996 - 2014. Tucson Roadrunners are the AHL NHL affiliates of the Arizona Coyotes.

Official logo of the Tucson Roadrunners
Source : facebook

Tucson Roadrunners

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 1994
  • Arena -  Tucson Convention Center
  • Division Titles - 2 (2017-18, 2019-20)

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins are the oldest NHL team based in the United States. The Bruins have won 6 Stanley Cups and 5 Conference Championships to date.

Founded way back in 1924, they are a member of the Atlantic Division in the Western Conference. They play their home games at TD Garden.

The minor league affiliates of the Boston Bruins are:

Providence Bruins

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Founded - 1987
  • Arena - Amica Mutual Pavilion
  • Calder Cup - 1 (1988-99)

Maine Mariners

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1989
  • Arena - Cross Insurance Arena
  • Owner - Comcast Spectacor

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres have the best NHL farm systems in 2023 with a talented pool of players and sublime minor league teams in both AHL and ECHL.

The Atlantic Division franchise came to the NHL circuit in 1970. They won three conference championships in 1974-75, 1979-80, and 1988-89.

The farm teams of the Buffalo Sabres are:

Rochester Americans

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1956
  • Arena - Blue Cross Arena and KeyBank Center
  • Owner - Terry Pegula
  • Calder Cups - 6 (1964-65, 1965-66, 1967-68, 1982-83, 1986-87, 1995-96)

Jacksonville Icemen

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - South
  • Founded - 1992
  • Owner -  SZH Hockey LLC
  • Arena -  VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena

Calgary Flames

The Flames were founded in 1972 as Atlanta Flames. They were later renamed Calgary Flames in 1980 following the move to the city of Calgary.

The minor league affiliates of the Calgary Flames are:

Calgary Wranglers

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 1977
  • Arena -  Scotiabank Saddledome
  • Owner - Calgary Sports and Entertainment
  • Regular Season Title - 1 (2022-23)

Rapid City Rush

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Founded - 2008
  • Arena - The Monument
  • Owner - Spire Hockey

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Founded in 1972, they are a member of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference.

They are yet to finalize their AHL team ahead of the 2023-24 season. The Chicago Wolves NHL affiliate with the Hurricanes ended in 2023 as they intend to play as an independent AHL team.

Norfolk Admirals are the current minor league affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. The basic info about the Admirals is listed as under;

Norfolk Admirals

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1995
  • Arena - Norfolk Scope
  • Owner - Patrick Cavanagh

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cup titles since their founding year in 1926. They play their home games at United Center, Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks farm teams are Rockford Icehogs (AHL) and Indy Fuel (ECHL). 

Rockford IceHogs

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1995
  • Arena - BMO Harris Bank Center
  • Owner - Writz Corporation

The 2023/24 schedule of the Rockford IceHogs
Source : twitter

Indy Fuel

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 2013
  • Arena - Indiana Farmers Coliseum
  • Owner - Indiana Hockey Club, LLC

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche has won three Stanley Cup Championships in its history. They are a Central Division member in the Western Conference.

The minor league affiliates of the Colorado Avalanche are:

Colorado Eagles

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 2003
  • Owner - Colorado Eagles Professional Hockey LLC
  • Arena - Budweiser Events Center
  • Kelly Cups - 2 (2017, 2018)

Utah Grizzlies

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Founded - 1981
  • Arena - Maverik Center

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Jackets have been in the NHL as an expansion team since 2000. They are affiliated with Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League.

Cleveland Monsters

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1994
  • Arena - Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
  • Owner - Dan Gilbert
  • Calder Cup - 1 (2015-16)

Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars is owned by Tom Gaglardi and coached by Peter DeBoer. The Texas-based franchise won its only Stanley Cup championship in 1999.

The minor league farm teams of the Dallas Stars are:

Texas Stars

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1999
  • Arena -  H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
  • Calder Cup - 2014

Idaho Steelheads

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Founded - 1997
  • Owner - Idaho Sports Properties LLC
  • Arena - Idaho Central Arena
  • Kelly Cups - 2 (2003-04, 2006-07)

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings are a prominent NHL team based in Detroit. They have won 11 Stanley Cups and 6 Presidents' Trophy in their esteemed history.

The minor league affiliates of the Detroit Red Wings are:

Grand Rapids Griffins

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1996
  • Arena - Van Andel Arena
  • Owner - Dan DeVos
  • Calder Cups - 2 (2012-13, 2016-17)

Toledo Walleye

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1991
  • Arena - Huntington Center

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers play their home games at Rogers Place Arena. The Alberta-based franchise has conquered the Stanley Cup five times in its history.

The farm teams of the Edmonton Oilers are:

Bakersfield Condors

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 1984
  • Arena - Mechanics Bank Arena

The Komets celebrating a goal in the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs
Source : instagram

Fort Wayne Komets

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1985
  • Arena - Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
  • Kelly Cup - 1 (2021)

Florida Panthers

The Panthers are the southernmost team in the league located in Sunrise, Florida. Charlotte Checkers NHL affiliate is with the Florida Panthers.

The minor league affiliate farm teams of the Florida Panthers are:

Charlotte Checkers

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Founded - 1990
  • Arena - Bojangles Coliseum
  • Owner - Michael Kahn
  • Calder Cup - 1 (2018-19)

Florida Everblades

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division- South
  • Founded - 1998
  • Arena - Hertz Arena
  • Owner - David Hoffmann
  • Kelly Cups - 3 (2011-12, 2021-22, 2022-23)

Los Angeles Kings

Philip Anschutz and Ed Roski are the owners of the LA Kings NHL franchise. The Kings are a Pacific Division member in the Western Conference.

The minor league affiliates of the LA Kings are:

Ontario Reign

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 2001
  • Arena - Toyota Arena
  • Calder Cup - 1 (2014-15)

Greenville Swamp Rabbits

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - South
  • Founded - 1987
  • Arena -  Bon Secours Wellness Arena

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild is an NHL franchise based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They play their home games at Xcel Energy Center.

The minor league affiliates of the Minnesota Wild are:

Iowa Wild

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1994
  • Arena - Wells Fargo Arena
  • Owner - Minnesota Sports and Entertainment

Iowa Heartlanders

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 2021
  • Arena -  Xtream Arena powered by Mediacom

Montreal Canadians

The Canadiens are the most successful team in the history of the NHL with 24 Stanley Cup championships. They were founded way back in 1909.

Moreover, Montreal Canadians also have one of the top NHL farm systems. Their minor league affiliates are:

Laval Rocket

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1969
  • Arena - Place Bell
  • Owner - Molson Family

Trois-Rivières Lions

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 2021
  • Owner - Deacon Sports and Entertainment
  • Arena - Colisée Vidéotron

Nashville Predators

The Preds are a Central Division member in the Western Conference based in Nashville, Tennessee. Predators Holdings LLC owns the team.

The farm teams of the Nashville Predators are:

Milwaukee Admirals

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Founded - 1970
  • Arena - UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
  • Calder Cup - 1 (2003-04)

The Admirals lineup at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
Source : facebook

Atlanta Gladiators

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - South
  • Founded - 1995
  • Arena - Gas South Arena

New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils play their home matches at Prudential Center. The Devils have won three Stanley Cups and 5 Conference Championships.

The minor league affiliates of the New Jersey Devils are:

Utica Comets

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1932
  • Owner - Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment
  • Arena - Adirondack Bank Center

Adirondack Thunder

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1990
  • Arena - Cool Insuring Arena
  • Owner - Adirondack Civic Center Coalition

New York Islanders

The Islanders have been in the NHL arena since 1972. The New York-based franchise won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.

New York Islanders minor league teams are:

Bridgeport Islanders

  • Owner - Jon Ledecky
  • Arena - Total Mortgage Arena
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Founded - 2001

Worcester Railers

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 2017
  • Arena - DCU Center 

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are one of the six original teams in the National Hockey League. The franchise was founded by Tex Rickard in 1926.

The minor league affiliate teams of the New York Rangers are:

Hartford Wolf Pack

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Founded - 1926
  • Arena - XL Center
  • Owner - Madison Square Garden, Inc.
  • Calder Cup - 1 (1999-00)

Cincinnati Cyclones

  • Founded - 1995
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Owner - Nederlander Entertainment
  • Arena - Heritage Bank Center
  • Kelly Cups - 2 (2007-08, 2009-10)

Ottawa Senators

The Senators first played in the league in the 1992-93 season. The Ottawa-based NHL franchise plays its home games at Canadian Tire Centre.

The minor league affiliate teams of the Ottawa Senators are:

Belleville Senators

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1972
  • Arena - CAA Arena
  • Owner - Estate of Eugene Melnyk

Allen Americans

  • Founded - 2009
  • League -  ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Owner - Jack D. Gulati
  • Arena - Credit Union of Texas Event Center

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers came as an expansion team in the National Hockey League in 1967. The Flyers are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The farm teams of the Philadelphia Flyers are:

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

  • Founded - 1996
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Arena - PPL Center

PPL Center Arena of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Source : twitter

Reading Royals

  • Founded - 1991
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Arena - Santander Arena
  • Kelly Cup - 1 (2012-13)

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins have won five Stanley Cups, with the latest triumph coming in 2017. Pittsburgh plays its home matches at PPG Paints Arena.

The minor league teams of the Pittsburgh Penguins are:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Founded - 1981
  • Arena - Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Wheeling Nailers

  • Founded - 1981
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Arena - WesBanco Arena

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Baracuda and Wichita Thunder are the farm teams of San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are yet to win a Stanley Cup trophy in their history.

San Jose Baracuda

  • Founded - 1996
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Arena - Tech CU Arena
  • Owner -  San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises

Wichita Thunder

  • Founded - 1992
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Arena - Intrust Bank Arena

Seattle Kraken

Seattle Kraken is the latest member of the National Hockey League. The Seattle expansion team played its first NHL season in 2021-22.

The minor league affiliates of the Kraken franchise are:

Coachella Valley Firebirds

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Founded - 2022
  • Arena - Acrisure Arena

Kansas City Mavericks

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Mountain
  • Founded - 2009
  • Arena - Cable Dahmer Arena

St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues plays in the NHL as a member of the Central Division in the Western Conference. The Blues won their first Stanley Cup in 2019.

Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League are the only minor league affiliate of the St. Louis NHL franchise.

Springfield Thunderbirds

  • Founded - 1975
  • League -  AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Arena - MassMutual Center
  • Owner -  Springfield Hockey, LLC.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Syracuse Crunch NHL affiliate is the Tampa Bay Lightning founded in 1992. They are members of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference.

The minor league farm teams of the Lightning are:

Syracuse Crunch

  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Founded - 1992
  • Owner - Howard Dolgon
  • Arena - Upstate Medical University Arena

Orlando Solar Bears mascot Shades entertaining the audience
Source : instagram

Orlando Solar Bears

  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - South
  • Founded - 2012
  • Arena - Amway Center
  • Owner - RDV Sports, Inc.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the six original teams in the NHL. They have the second-highest Stanley Cups (13), only behind the Canadiens.

The minor league farm teams of the Maple Leafs are:

Toronto Marlies

  • Founded - 1978
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Arena - Coca-Cola Coliseum
  • Owner - Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
  • Calder Cup - 1 (2018)

Newfoundland Growlers

  • Founded - 2018
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - North
  • Arena - Mary Brown's Centre
  • Owner - Deacon Investments LTD
  • Kelly Cup - 1 (2018-19)

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks were members of the PCHL and WHL before joining the NHL as an expansion team in 1970. They are based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The minor league teams of the Vancouver Canucks are:

Abbotsford Canucks

  • Founded - 1932
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Owner - Canucks Sports & Entertainment
  • Arena - Abbotsford Centre

Kalamazoo Wings

  • Founded - 1999
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Arena - Wings Event Center

Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights are the fastest NHL expansion team to win the Stanley Cup. They joined the NHL in 2017 and won the championship in 2023.

The minor league affiliates of the Las Vegas Golden Knights are:

Henderson Silver Knights

  • Founded - 1971
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Pacific
  • Arena - Dollar Loan Center

Savannah Ghost Pirates

  • Founded - 2022
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - South
  • Arena - Enmarket Arena

Washington Capitals

The Capitals are a Metropolitan Divison member in the Eastern Conference. The Washington-based NHL franchise was founded in 1974.

Hershey Bears NHL affiliate with the Washington Capitals franchise started ahead of the 2005-06 season as the primary development club.

The minor league farm teams of the Capitals are:

Hershey Bears

  • Founded - 1932
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - Atlantic
  • Arena - Giant Center
  • Calder Cups - 12

South Carolina Stingrays

  • Founded - 1993
  • League - ECHL
  • Conference - Eastern
  • Division - South
  • Arena - North Charleston Coliseum
  • Kelly Cups - 3 (1997, 2001, 2009)

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets are one of the 11 teams to never win a championship in NHL history. The Jets are owned by True North Sports & Entertainment.

The Winnipeg-based NHL franchise plays its home games at Canada Life Centre. Likewise, Manitoba Moose are their only minor league team.

Manitoba Moose celebrating their goal at Canada Life Center
Source : instagram

Manitoba Moose

  • Founded - 1994
  • League - AHL
  • Conference - Western
  • Division - Central
  • Arena - Canada Life Center

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