According to Tim Wharnsby of CBC sports, the Flames are close to signing David Eddy, an unsigned 22-year old college winger. Eddy has played for St. Cloud State for three seasons, this year scoring a career high 25-points in 39 games. Standing at just 5’11" and weighing around 170 pounds, probably one of the reasons he was never drafted is lackluster size.
Like John Gaudreau, Eddy is a graduate of the USHL where he made the all-rookie team in 2008-09. He never made quite the same splash in college as the tiny Flames draft pick, however, so although he’s bigger than Johhny G, Eddy’s ceiling is probably substantially lower.
Flames were linked to other college free agents JW Brown and Dan DeKeyser by Roger Millions recently, so it sounds like the organization is getting aggressive about combing through the ranks of undrafted kids in the NCAA.
Although that’s not a route which typically bears fruit in terms of future difference makers, it’s a worthwhile method to expand your prospect base without spending draft picks in June. One thing that has become obvious to me over the years is predicting kid’s futures is more or less a lottery – so gathering more "tickets" improves your chances of getting a winner.
This is essentially how Dale Tallon built the Hawks through the draft – not via pinpoint, savvy selections, but by collecting as many picks as possible and shotgunning things. Chicago had 48 picks between 2004-2006, amongst them were Keith Seabrook, Dustin Byfuglien, Troy Brouwer, Cam barker, Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell, Niklas Hjalmarsson, MIke Blunden, Jack Skille and Jonathan Toews. Tallon has started doing the same thing in Florida since he arrived – the Panthers had 13 picks during his first summer there and another 10 last June (23 total in just two drafts).
The Flames have infamously gone the other direction over the last seven years or so, spending picks to shore up the big club’s immediate needs. In isolation it’s actually a defensible strategy because lone picks outside of, say, the top 10 to 15 aren’t worth a whole lot by themselves. The effect, however, can be a cumulative one and I maintain one of the reasons the Flames draft record is so dismal over the last decade or so is the club has had so few arrows in the quiver come each draft day.
Of course, gathering more picks is difficult, absent selling off big league assets (which the team is still uninterested in), so in the mean time, trawling for free agent prospects is a decent enough facsimile.
UPDATE – Flames confirm the signing. Word is it’s a two-year deal. Apparently he has already joined the Abbotsford Heat on a pro try-out agreement and the new contract will start next season.