Flames Sign Mikkelson and Reinhart

Pat Steinberg
July 14 2011 05:33PM

The Calgary Flames have signed defenceman Brendan Mikkelson to a one year contract and have inked prospect forward Max Reinhart to a three year, entry level deal.  Mikkelson got into 19 games with the Flames last year and also spent time with the Abbotsford Heat while Reinhart had a very nice season with the Kootenay Ice, helping lead the team to a berth in the Memorial Cup.

I have zero problems with either signings.  Mikkelson's is an affordable deal regardless (one year, two way contract at $721,900), but the fact it's for one year shows this is a big season for him.  He didn't show a lot of progression at all last season, being sat down as a healthy scratch on a regular basis.  Watching him practice throughout the year, he really struggled to get the nuances of Calgary's system down, especially with the exit of the defensive zone.  If progression isn't shown, either at the NHL or AHL level, then the two sides go their different ways; if progression is shown, the Flames can revisit another contract with Mikkelson next summer.

As for Mikkelson's role this season, I see him being a seventh defenceman at best on the NHL club.  Calgary has six defencemen on one-way contracts as it stands right now, after the signing of Anton Babchuk, and Mikkelson hasn't shown the ability to displace any of the guys ahead of him.  That said, in a number seven role, he'd be easy to slot in with an injury or if the team was looking for a shakeup.  If a player like T.J. Brodie were to make an impression at camp and make the team, Mikkelson is easy to send to the AHL and he can play a big role there and be one of the first guys called up.  He is wavier eligible but I don't think that's much of a factor.

As for Reinhart, there's no doubting he's one of Calgary's top prospects.  After a great season with the Kootenay Ice, Reinhart really cemented himself near the top of the Flames system with his great playoff.  He put up 27 points in 21 games, which was impressive, but he did it while playing against the best players on the other side.  Max routinely saw time against names like Brayden Schenn and Ryan Johansen throughout the postseason, and having him play such an important shutdown role during the WHL playoffs really impressed me.

It's the standard three year entry level deal for Reinhart at $900,000 per season.  He was Calgary's third round pick, 64th overall, at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Craig
July 14 2011, 06:11PM
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I really like Max Reinhart, I hope for big things from this kid. Don't know if I'm getting ahead of myself but I think he potentially could be a huge part of the flames in the future as a solid second line centre.

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#2 JayD54
July 14 2011, 06:31PM
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The signing of Reinhart is a true positive. I believe that Max will be a Flame season after next.

The signing of Mikkelson and the trade for LeBlond are indications that Abbottsford will have a very strong team this coming season.

We still need to have one of the prospects be a surprise, as surprise to the positive. TJ Brodie and Mitch Wahl are kids I think could be those surprises. Liked Brodie in camp last year and really enjoyed watching Wahl as a junior in Spokane. Brodie has great wheels and good vision. Wahl has a great touch with the puck and is a really smart player.

Still hoping that Feaster has a deal on the burner that will see an improvement to the top six forward ranks.

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#3 SmellOfVictory
July 14 2011, 09:13PM
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Sincity1976 wrote:

15! Don't be silly. That would be just crazy. its only 12. Or just shy of 25% of our availabel NHL contracts on 5/6/7 D-men. Go figure.

(Sarich, Butler, Babchuck, Brodie, Mikkelson, Breen, Wilson, Smith, Henry, Piskula, Carson, Negrin)

Haha good god, I was trying to exaggerate. Although I wouldn't include Brodie, Breen, and Negrin in that simply because they're prospects (let's hope Butler proves us wrong as well).

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#4 the-wolf
July 15 2011, 10:19AM
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JayD54 wrote:

The signing of Reinhart is a true positive. I believe that Max will be a Flame season after next.

The signing of Mikkelson and the trade for LeBlond are indications that Abbottsford will have a very strong team this coming season.

We still need to have one of the prospects be a surprise, as surprise to the positive. TJ Brodie and Mitch Wahl are kids I think could be those surprises. Liked Brodie in camp last year and really enjoyed watching Wahl as a junior in Spokane. Brodie has great wheels and good vision. Wahl has a great touch with the puck and is a really smart player.

Still hoping that Feaster has a deal on the burner that will see an improvement to the top six forward ranks.

I agree with all of this, but I think Wahl, even if does surprise, needs another year in the AHL, he sort of disappointed last year.

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#5 Casey
July 15 2011, 03:04PM
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Okay, I haven't read any of the comments yet, but let me guess:

Out of the 14 comments, at least 3 people have called for Feaster's head over this "terrible" signing?

My take: Meh. Nice to have depth I guess. Has some potential, but probably never a top 4 guy. I'm guessing that he plays most of the year in Abbotsford and then goes looking for work.

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#6 Willi P
July 15 2011, 05:11PM
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Hey Pat,

Thanks for the info. If you would, can you tell us how many of the seemingly endless #7 guys on D would be waiver eligable?

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#7 Kent Wilson
July 14 2011, 05:44PM
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Flames are up 48 contracts I think with both these guys added to the mix.

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#8 SmellOfVictory
July 14 2011, 05:50PM
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15 of those contracts are third pairing defencemen.

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#9 Kevin R
July 14 2011, 06:03PM
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WTF! I dont get it. I guess they old adage, if you throw enough crapola against the wall, you hope some of that crapola sticks.

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#10 Kevin R
July 14 2011, 06:04PM
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My above comment pertains to Mikkelson of course.

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#11 Kent Wilson
July 14 2011, 06:08PM
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@Kevin R

Well, the club qualified him, so we already knew they intended to sign him.

I'm willing to bet he spends the entire year in the AHL.

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#12 Sincity1976
July 14 2011, 06:08PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

15 of those contracts are third pairing defencemen.

15! Don't be silly. That would be just crazy. its only 12. Or just shy of 25% of our availabel NHL contracts on 5/6/7 D-men. Go figure.

(Sarich, Butler, Babchuck, Brodie, Mikkelson, Breen, Wilson, Smith, Henry, Piskula, Carson, Negrin)

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#13 44stampede
July 14 2011, 10:27PM
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Ha Pat, I love how you said you have zero problem with either signing and then go into details on why Mikkelson sucks :)

He'll just a depth guy who will spend most of his time on the Heat and be available in case of injuries or someone craps the bed.

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#15 Nolan Moore
July 15 2011, 11:06AM
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Meh on both. Neither player will be with the big team much at all this year. Both reasonable deals, both no surprise deals. Reinhart, little steep for a 3rd rounder. Sure he had a good play off but hes small in that 6ft frame. We'll see how he progresses.

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#16 MC Hockey
July 15 2011, 01:47PM
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Sportsnet.ca reporting Alzner re-signed with Washington for 2.57 total over 2 years!! What a deal...I would have taken him for $2.0M per year. I guess having a true chance to win the Cup attracts players eh? Likley we cannot get him in trade but would LOVE that! Give up Moss and D-man prospect for him easily!

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#17 MC Hockey
July 15 2011, 03:38PM
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@Kent Wilson

Hi Kent, Per capgeek.com I only count 47 contracts.

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#18 MC Hockey
July 15 2011, 03:40PM
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Whoops I am wrong, Capgeek.com does not show Reinhart so Kent is right of course! I feel shame LOL.

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#19 Kent Wilson
July 15 2011, 03:51PM
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@Casey

Perhaps you should actually read the comments in the future.

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#20 FireOnIce
July 15 2011, 04:17PM
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Looks like the Flames re-signed Brendan Morrison, terms 1yr x $1.25M. Stay the course Jay Bush, stay the course.

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#21 44stampede
July 15 2011, 06:35PM
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Pat Steinberg wrote:

The reason I have zero problem is because he signed a one year deal...it's risk free for all intents and purposes. There is potential with the player, as he is a good skater, so I don't see a problem with giving Mikkelson another year.

Just giving you a hard time Pat.

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