September 24 2013 11:02AM
I have some general Flames thoughts brewing, but this item seems like it deserves its own article. According to the Windsor Spitfires, Pat Sieloff is turning pro with the Flames organization this year. From their release:
General Manager Warren Rychel has announced defenceman Patrick Sieloff will not be returning to the club for the 2013-14 season. Instead, he will begin his professional career with the Calgary Flames organization.
“We're proud of Pat's accomplishments and to see yet another one of our players moving on to a professional career,” Rychel said. “Pat was a true Spitfire, both on and off the ice. He was a big part of our team and will be missed. He will have a long career in the NHL and we wish him all the best.”
I honestly don't understand what the rush is with this particular player. Sieloff is just 19 years old and has played a grand total of 105 hockey games (excluding exhibition and tournaments) since he turned 16. He only appeared in 45 games for the Spitfires last season due to injury and was a 6th-7th defender on the US gold medla WJC team. He has a little ways to go before he is dominant amongst his peers, to say nothing about being a capable pro.
That said, the team knows more about the individual than I do, so maybe they feel his development will be accelerated against superior competition in the AHL, which is likely where he will end up. Turning pro at 19 is actually an option that would be a good one for a few junior aged players who are ahead of the curve, but they are often stymied by CHL transfer rules* - Im just not quite convinced yet that Sieloff is one of them.
*Sieloff is exempted from that framework thanks to his two seasons in the US National development system.
The Abbotsford blueline grows rather crowded with the probable addition of the kid. Chris Breen, Mark Cundari, Tyler Wotherspoon, Chad Billins, James Martin, John Ramage, and now Sieloff are Flames property who will all be jostling for a spot on the farm team's back-end, to say nothing of guys on AHL only type deals (Brady Lamb, Dean Arsene, Drew MacKenzie, Kane Lafranchise, Zach Davies, Drew Pawlowski and Zack McKelvie). That's 14 bodies for 6 active positions, all of them older and more established than Patrick. Either the kid will have to skip the queue by simply outplaying a bunch of vets or the club will have to weight developing him ahead of icing the best roster and live through his growing pains.