B-Sens, Ottawa refute rumors of switching AHL affiliates

By Travis Eldridge

March 16, 2014 Updated Mar 16, 2014 at 1:19 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Rumors have circulated about the possibility of Ottawa moving its AHL affiliate from Binghamton to St. John's, NL after next season, which is the end of the current agreement. Following Saturday's game, both the Binghamton and Ottawa management said otherwise.

"We're aware of the rumors that are out there, and that's what they are," said Tom Mitchell, the B-Sens executive vice president of operations. "We're currently negotiating an extension to our existing agreement with the Ottawa Senators. I thought while Randy, who is assistant general manger of the Ottawa Senators, was here tonight that it would be a good opportunity to nip those rumors in the butt."

Ottawa Senators Assistant General Manager Randy Lee echoed Mitchell's statement. While no timeline was given on extending the affiliation agreement, he believes the relationship between the two sides is as good as ever.

"I think it has evolved really well. Early on I don't think we did as good of a job as we should have in terms of giving them the right players," said Lee. "I think our depth in the organization is as strong as it's ever been. I think the Calder Cup Championship was a great thing for Binghamton and a great thing for Ottawa. A lot of those players are now playing for Ottawa and playing big roles. Our owners told us for us to survive, we've got to draft well and develop well, so Binghamton is part of that.

"It's a great relationship, and I think the fans in Binghamton like the Ottawa brand and now they're linked to us."

It's a relationship that has brought a lot of talent through Binghamton in the last several years. This year at the NHL trade deadline, Ottawa traded for a pair of experienced AHL defenseman. Lee said that was a focus for the organization.

"Trade deadline time we were in Bryan Murray's ear for two things. We were trying to get a top-six forward for Ottawa and trying to get one or two top-end American League defensemen for Binghamton," said Lee. "I think we accomplished that."

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