Pat Sieloff to Turn Pro


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. 

    • Parallex


      Needlessly burns a year off his ELC for no good reason. For real, the guy got all of 11 points at the OHL level (for comparison’s sake noted 1-way zero offense NHL defenseman Robyn Regehr had triple that at the same age in 9 more games) had so you can’t tell me that he’s got nothing left to learn (he only played 45 games at that level to boot).

      Dumb. Asset mismanagement.

  • McRib

    As I said on the last post, I think Pro (NHL/AHL) is the right place for Pat Sieloff. Major Junior is a less structured, mistake driven, run and gun league. A mature physical defensive defenseman is better suited getting accustomed to the speed and positioning rather than just running 16 year-olds through the glass night-in-night out. I think that’s the decision ultimately from the Flames on Sieloff. He has already shown he can shutdown anyone in the OHL… What more does he have to do there, now he needs to prove that he can shutdown bigger more physical AHLers and learn the pro systems. The only reason OHL would have been a better decision is he may have been able to develop a tad of an Offensive game, but lets be honest it most likely wasn’t going to be good enough to be impactful in the NHL anyway.

      • McRib

        Ya, it definitely is a strange situation the only guys I can think of off the top of my head recently who made the jump to pros and had playing time in the AHL only one year after being drafted are Justin Faulk, Nick Leddy, Brandon Pirri, Tyler Pitlick, Dylan Olsen, Zemgus Girgensons & Jerry D’Amigo.

        All are NHLers or on the cusp of making the NHL. The only guy to go exactly one year of Major Junior to AHL is Tyler Pitlick in my memory and he is supposedly impressing Edmonton big time in training camp this year. Nick Leddy is actually a decent comparable for Pat Sieloff (less offensive upside). Regardless no ones career has ended because of rushing them into the AHL recently in fact three or four of seven are going to be regular NHLers this year and the others are solid AHL/NHL callups.

    • RedMan

      Exactly….this kid has nothing more to prove in Junior despite his age. He has won gold in world juniors and has attributes that lack within the Flames system. This kid is really skilled, is mobile and really plays a physical game.

      I had the pleasure of meeting him and his family in
      Penticton and can tell you he is really well grounded and committed in becoming a great pro. Abbotsford is his next development opportunity and accolades to the Flames for recognizing this!

  • McRib

    I’m not sure where the 6th or 7th defenseman for the USA Jr team comes from. For the second half of that tournament he lined up with Trouba on the back end, and I saw him on the ice quiet a bit against Canada. In my eyes he was playing top 4 mins in all the important games.

    • The stats for the tourny suck, so I can’t really determine what how his role evolved. I remember he was a late addition and tabbed as a depth defender and that’s mostly how I recall him in the games I saw, but it’s possible he worked his way up the depth chart by the end.

  • IIRC, there was talk during the U20 training camps that Sieloff might be named captain of the US team. As long as he is allowed to go do that, I’m fine with him being in the AHL.

    It’s the same thing with Monahan though – he had better be playing top minutes against good players, or his development runs the risk of being stymied. No reason for him to be playing 6-7th D minutes.

    Perhaps a trade down the line to move some of these bodies out?

  • Big Ell

    I sure hope they are going to play him in Abbotsford. It would be a shame if he wastes a year as the 6-7 th d-man and a year of his ELC. I am hoping that this is Ward and Feaster’s plan , assuming there is a plan.

    • piscera.infada

      No, there’s no plan. Keep freaking out. THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD.

      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.

      I feel this is the correct approach to be taking with this news. I’m tired of trivializing the development of these prospects based simply on age and perceived out-put in their lower leagues.

  • Parallex

    Does the 9 game rule apply in this situation as well?

    If they determine that Sieloff is not ready after nine games with the Heat can they still send him back to juniour and save a year of his ELC?

    Are there still three years left on Ferlands ELC?

  • The ELC concern is really only relevant to kids who could potentially make the big team and deliver value in those first 3 years (and then become expensive rapidly thereafter). Those prospects are gold, but really rare. Most guys play out their first 3 years just trying to become worthwhile pros.

    • Parallex

      I disagree somewhat. The ELC concern exists for everyone that`s brought forward before they have to be. The only difference is what it costs you.

      Every year that you burn brings the player one year closer to the 2nd contract, then the third contract (if need be), then free agency. That`s however many years they jump forward that you`ll have to pay them more then you need.

      The only way this ends up not costing the Flames (or really any team that promotes a guy before need be) is if the player in question tops out as a replacement level player. If Sieloff becomes anything better then that then at some point it will end up costing the Flames… maybe not on the 2nd contract but somewhere it costs them.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Disagree. A major aspect of how much a player costs on his subsequent contracts depends on age and timing (e.g. if ELC is up right after a breakout season, you’re hooped).

  • You can’t tell these kids to Chace the carrot and when they catch it tell them they don’t get a bit because it might ruin their lunch. If a kid earns a contract he earns the contract. Same story of Monahan, Sieloff, and anyone else.

    People get so caught up on stereotypical views of the best place for development that they lose sight of that. If you fail to reward people that earn it then you lose credibility you can’t afford to lose.

    • This issue has nothing do with a contract. Sieloff already had that – they signed him last year.

      Almost none of the 2012 drafted defenders have turned pro to date (Hampus Lindholm is the only guy I can find). It’s conventionally very early for a guy like Sieloff to move away from junior to the pro ranks, which is why it raises eyebrows.

      Maybe he’ll be better for it though. We can only wait and see.

      • Scary Gary

        Who said he is playing for a contract. You can’t tell your players to go out their and earn a spot and not given them a spot when they earn it. And you can’t tell them there is no spot to earn.

        It is easy for you or I to debate over the best development locale. But that is ignoring the human factors that are crucial to keeping your players motivated and committed.

        • You did: “If a kid earns a contract he earns the contract” which is what I was responding to.

          Anyways, Since he was drafted, Sieloff has played 45 games in junior and a handful of exhibition games in the pre-season. Again, this just seems awfully hasty to me given how long the soak period is for most defensive prospects, even highly touted ones. I’m very surprised to see the Flames think they have enough information about Sieloff to make the determination of whether he’s pro ready or not.

          They know the player better though. Maybe he’s entirely ready to take the next step, which is one denied at age 19 by the CHL rules, so this could be a rare opportunity which the team is jumping at.

          We’ll see how it goes.

          • thymebalm

            Look what you’ve done with your ELC talk. Now everyone is confused and thinks ANY time you burn a year off its a terrible thing.

            Now you have to write an article that explains why you are really only concerned about ELCs for franchise/generational players, and that not every kid who finishes out an ELC immediately gets Scrooge McDuck money.

            Ortio/Sieloff/Ferland etc are not going to break the bank, not on their RFA contracts, and likely never.

            This wasn’t even a thing hockey fans thought about 5 months ago, now every hockey fan is also an accountant, its humorous. I’ve never seen fans try to protect Murrays pocketbook to such an extent before.

        • There are about 6 guys within range of Sieloff who could potentially do the same thing from 2012: Jake McCabe, Ville Pokka, Brady Skjei, Mike Matheson, Jacob Trouba and Lindholm.

          Trouba might do it this year (though from the sounds of JetsNation, his decision making isn’t there yet)

          Agreed, though, a lot of juniors are denied the chance. It would be interesting to see how many would do it given the chance.

          • SmellOfVictory

            I recall that on Trouba. They were saying that Morrissey was actually covering for him defensively (making me even sadder that the Flames didn’t have the opportunity get Morrissey in the late first).

  • Scary Gary

    I’m with Kent and others, I’m not sure what the rush is; with that many defensemen vying for minutes in Abbotsford wouldn’t he be better off getting top two minutes in the CHL when he really hasn’t proven he can dominate at that level?

    • McRib

      The thing I think the Flames considered when making this decision is do Stay-at-Home defenders ever really “dominate” the CHL?

      How many 16/17 year-olds does he need to give “Welcome to the OHL” massive open ice hits to before he can move on to Pro?

      For me at least it’s do you want a stay at home defender developing as a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond… Challenging him with better competition and forcing him to play a more structured game could make him a better shutdown defender…..

      One thing is for certain Matt Pelech played four years in the OHL racking up an impressive 423 PIMs… And… look where that got us.

  • This guy’s a defensive defenseman – who cares about burning a year of his ELC? It’s not like after 3 years he’s gonna be asking for zillions: honestly he’ll barely get a raise. The only issue is what’s best for his development – and playing for the Heat sounds like a good choice.

    As far as the crowded Abbotsford blueline, it sounds to me like James Martin (AKA Who???)just became a 7th D.

  • RexLibris

    Seems very hasty for a defensive prospect. Blueliners typically take longer to develop due to the nature of their position.

    Agree with Kent, unusual and probably premature, but we shall have to see how the next two or three years go before we can say it has either accelerated, stalled or delayed his development.

    • seve927

      I really don’t see why you’d be concerned. According to you his fate has already been sealed by his NHLE in his draft+1 season. Same with Kanzig (less than 10 points, and lots of PIMs is the criteria to never be an NHLer, right?). If they were allowed they might as well let him make some money too, because we already know he doesn’t have a career.

  • RedMan

    Calgary is doing things differently these days…

    they are drafting differently
    Making decisions about who plays differently
    adding depth on and off the ice

    They aren’t asking you or me, an they aren’t worried if what they are doing is “conventional” by traditional standards.

    it looks like the Flames have made major shifts in the way they do business, and to be honest, I like many of the early returns.

    Yes, it is early, but there has definitely been a philosophical change, and, with raised eyebrow, I am enjoying the changes and am OK with waiting to see the outcome.

    I read this a the Organization taking development of their future seriously… they aren’t ‘rushing’ ALL the players, but seem to be selectively choosing those who they think will benefit from the experience.

    My gut feeling is that Monahan gets all nine games, and I’d bet that he stays.

    • seve927

      Here’s Why This Appraisal Makes Sense to Me

      What you say strikes me as correct. There is a different way of doing business afoot at the Flames.

      From the video included I think Sieloff could brings something to the (FLAMES not necessarily ABBY)defence they don’t already have –an open ice hitter who will fight the other team’s toughs when they take offence at said hits.

      After several months of reading this site I think that the “nationalist” viewpoint of Flames nation is seldom represented.

      This viewpoint holds that Feaster (and Burke) as well as the rest of the management team, are making a rational decision as to Sieloff’s development.

      After all he has played on the GOLD team at the WJC championships. He is mentioned as a future possible Captain. What more does he need to do to be a top prospect and have his development fast tracked.

      As a “nationalist” I believe that Feaster has so far done a highly effective job of this phase of the rebuild by tremendously restocking the cupboards. Why is it a bad thing to have 14 defencemen fighting for seven Abby jobs. We can always trade secondary prospects. I don’t see a problem where Kent seems to. But then again, I’m a nationalist.

  • Burnward

    This is a good move.

    The kid is built like a pro already, he won a ton of Spitfire awards last year, moved up the depth charts at the WJC and has looked good in the rookie tourney and preseason.

    I knew this was going to happen. He will play in Abby for the duration of the year.

    At some point this season Butler and Smith are going to be sent packing as they are not in the long term plans. Russell and O’Brien still need to prove their worth to the organization also.

    This leaves the window open for Sieloff, Wotherspoon, Ramage, Breen and Cundari to battle it out for jobs on the big club.

    The only sure things on defence for us moving forward are Brodie, Wideman and Gio.

    There are jobs available within the next couple seasons and I think this is the necessary step to propel Sieloff onto the starting roster next season.

    The Flames think hes good enough and I dont doubt them, they were gonna draft him in the first round if Jankowski was gone…

  • RedMan

    While I’m with many of you who question the hurry in getting Patrick to pro hockey, it is obvious that the Flames believe that this guy has excellent upside. I hear Steinburg and Leslie saying they think this guy could be with the Flames next season if not later this year.
    While this is not a sure thing, it certainly is positive. It is also interesting that all the Feaster haters who have been complaining for over a year about the trade he made to drop down in the 2012 draft from #14 to take Jankowski and get a second round pick (Seilof) have been very quite today.It seemed very convenient to constantly complain about drafting Janko , but forget that for giving up the 14th pick they got Janko AND Seilof.
    While it will still be years before we can fully assess that trade it shows that maybe Flames management isn’t as out to lunch as some guy think.

  • Bikeit

    I even suspect the flames look at their depth on Defense and see trouble 2- 3 years out. Sieloff looks the most mature and can develop in Abbotsford and become regular in a couple years. If there was one thing sutter really messed up on was developing d-men for the future. Flames are hoping Sieloff can be fast tracked a little to fill the 5-6 which we always seem to fill with underwhelming d-men.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Apparently he may be able to play in the AHL this year without burning a year of his ELC?

    Anyone know if this is true?

    Edit: Looking like it is true, Zemgus Girgensons had a year of his ELC slide last season playing in the A.


  • seve927

    seiloff was far from a dominant shutdown force with the spits last season. Bullying 16 yr olds in the O is a far cry from muscling around 27 yr old pros. seems the Seiloffs like to force the issue, college versus the CHL. CHL versuses pro.