The NHL affiliates of the four teams competing will be keeping a watchful eye on the conference finals to monitor their prospects. The Cyclones are the ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators while the Stingrays are the affiliate of the Washington Capitals, who are coached by Bruce Boudreau who was head coach of Mississippi when it won the Kelly Cup in 1999. The Wranglers are the ECHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames while the Grizzlies are the ECHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.
The playoff rosters submitted by the 21 teams for the Kelly Cup Playoffs had 86 players on NHL contracts and 73 players on AHL contracts. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 355 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 99 in the last three seasons. There have been 210 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons.
Cincinnati players under NHL contract to Montreal are forwards Mathieu Aubin (pictured), Jimmy Bonneau and Ryan Russell while forward Ryan Maki is under NHL contract to Nashville. Forward Olivier Latendresse is under NHL contract to the Phoenix Coyotes, who assigned him to the Cyclones. Cincinnati also has players who are under contract to Hamilton, which is the AHL affiliate of Montreal, and Milwaukee, which is the AHL affiliate of Nashville. Under contract to Hamilton are defensemen Jon Gleed and Conrad Martin, goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, and forwards Thomas Beauregard and David Desharnais while goaltender Maxime Daigneault and defenseman Bryan Schmidt are under contract to Milwaukee.
South Carolina players under NHL contract to Washington are defensemen Sean Collins, Patrick McNeill and Sasha Pokulok, center Travis Morin, right wings Andrew Gordon, Steve Pinizzotto and Stephen Werner. The Capitals selected Pokulok 14th overall in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The Stingrays also have right wing Marty Guerin and defenseman Grant McNeill, who are under contract to Hershey, which is the AHL affiliate of Washington.
Utah players under NHL contract to New York are defenseman Andrew MacDonald and goaltender Michael Mole, who served as a backup for the Islanders for three games at the end of the regular season. The Grizzlies also have defensemen Jeff Dwyer and Jordan Hart and forwards Justin Bourne, Christian Gaudet, Micheal Haley, Tyler Haskins, Keith Johnson and Olivier Labelle, who are all under contract to Bridgeport, which is the AHL affiliate of the Islanders.
Las Vegas players under NHL contract to Calgary are forward Aki Seitsonen, right wing Adam Cracknell, left wing Ryan Donally and goaltender Kevin Lalande. Goaltender Daniel Manzato is under NHL contract to the Carolina Hurricanes, who assigned him to the Wranglers. Las Vegas also has defenseman Gerry Burke, who is under contract to Quad City, which is the AHL affiliate of the Flames. Other AHL-contracted players assigned to the Wranglers are defenseman Jason Jozsa from Grand Rapids, center Curtis Fraser from San Antonio and defenseman Tyson Strachan from Peoria.