The trend in the NHL today is to try and have a farm team as geographically close to the big club as possible, for obvious reasons. It has been expected for some time that the Canadiens would look to do so themselves, and they have, as their farm team will be very close next season in Laval.
The move makes perfect sense. For a long time the Canadiens have had an AHL club located far away from the team, and now they'll have ready access to their players for evaluation, and of course for injury replacements. The benefits for player development as well should be big moving forwards.
Naturally the Canadiens still have an agreement in place with St. John's, so the move will not occur until next season when that agreement is up. The new Place Bell out in Laval will be finished next summer, so the timing is essentially perfect for the relocation.
For more information surrounding the relocation, you can check out the French article we published about the new team the other day.