A Look At Jon Gillies’ Options

The Providence College Friars lost to New Hampshire on Sunday, which ended their quest for a Hockey East conference championship. For now, their status for the NCAA’s annual national championship tournament is up in the air, as they’re one of several contenders for “at-large” bids, and their chances are contingent on which teams win which conferences.

Which brings us to Calgary Flames 2012 third round draft pick Jon Gillies.


For the sake of this discussion, let’s presume that Gillies comes to terms with the Calgary Flames on an entry-level deal. I boast no inside information, besides a general understanding that Gillies is a top-flight collegiate netminder.

He’s played 104 games in the NCAA. He’s won 56 of them, more than half. He’s got a .931 save percentage over that 104 games and 13 shutouts. He’s a good goalie, and let’s presume that he has very little left to prove at the NCAA level. And Calgary only has Joni Ortio and Jonas Hiller signed for next season, so there’s a good chance they have a high interest level in him, as well.

So let’s presume he signs.

He’s a 21-year-old player, so under the CBA he gets a two-year entry-level deal (like Bill Arnold signed). And thus, there are two options in front of him.


Let’s say that Jon Gillies is fine with merely getting his signing bonus. Let’s say that he is super-stoked to be a pro and really wants to get to know the coaching staff he’ll be working with (presuming) next season in Stockton. If he goes to the American Hockey League on an amateur try-out basis, his entry-level deal does not start running but he has the ability to jump in and play.

Oh, and the Adirondack Flames allowed eight goals in their last game, so they could use some goaltending help.

There’s two main reasons he might not do this. One, the Baby Flames already brought in Northeastern University goaltender Clay Witt on a try-out. Having four goalies on one team seems excessive. Two, and more importantly, this option gives him the chance to go to the AHL, but his NHL deal doesn’t start running, which impacts how quickly he can hit free agency, arbitration, waivers and all sorts of fun things.


If I were Gillies’ representatives, I’d hold out for a deal that began the minute he signed it. He could come to Calgary, get to know the coaching staff, soak in the atmosphere of a team pushing for a playoff spot and generally get acclimated to the pro environment.

Heck, he could practice with the injured players and extra bodies and get some schooling from Jordan Sigalet in the process.

His deal would begin to run, he’d get some NHL money in his pocket, and he’d get a head start on free agency, arbitration and waivers and all that. This is the option that basically every notable signee the Flames have gotten from the college ranks has opted for, likely for the simple reason that teams trying to get NCAA players to sign typically don’t have a lot of leverage (and players like getting their contracts running as soon as humanly possible).


Selection Sunday for the NCAA men’s hockey tournament is coming up on March 22. If Providence College isn’t named as a participant, I’d keep an ear out for news regarding Jon Gillies.

But again, it’s just a suspicion.

  • Colin.S

    I would really hope the Flames can somehow convince this guy go help the Adirondack Flames in the playoff push/run. Even giving this guy a spot on the Calgary Flames roster as just an extra goalie in practice wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Just hope to see him in Flames colours sooner rather than later.

    Not to go to off topic, but more interesting story for me is do the Flames give Jankowski a contract?

    • Robear

      Would also love to see Gillies in Adirondack this year!! But not sure that the timing will work out.

      Regarding The Big Jankowski, I would be surprised if they didnt. Too much invested not to at least see if he continues to progress as a pro. Only concern would be number of contracts. I’m assuming we arent up close to 50 yet.

      On a related note: I still miss Capgeek!!

        • Robear

          He does have one more year of college but… I for one would like to see Janko sign now and take a crack at being a Pro. I think the change would do him good.

          I don’t know the guy and admittedly have not seen him play much but I feel like he needs to wake up a little and a fresh coaching staff may be the shake up his development needs. Get him away from the college crowd and surround him with Pro coaches and players.

          Catch is – if he’s starting to think that a career in hockey MAY NOT work out, then finishing that last year of school might be important to him.

  • Burnward

    Of course Jankowski is getting a contact. We haven’t even seen him play at the pro level yet, in a different system etc.

    Plus he’s still really young guys. Patience with this one.

      • Robear

        Sven seemed like the impatient one. Didn’t want to play in the minors, told team he wouldn’t sign with them in the off season. Everyone talks about how Detroit does it the right way, and they do. Most of their players don’t get a taste until 22 or 23 years of age. So when one of the Flames quality prospects want to rush up to the show and force managements hand everyone cries foul and claims management doesn’t know what they’re doing.

        • Burnward

          Isn’t Baertschi already 22?

          The jury seems out on Jankowski. Unless he somehow has a complete 180 degree turn, the writing is on the wall. And the fact that Seiloff has tapered off in his production is a serious black eye on the 2012 draft. I personally thought the Flames would select Maata after they traded down.

          I think I’m going to go back and read the original reaction to Jankowski’s draft. #nolife

        • Robear

          To my eye, it feels like it was mismanaged on both sides. As Kent said in his breakdown of the situation, between Baerschi giving up and the Flames setting him up to fail, the truth is likely in between.

          Im sure Burke would place the blame on Feaster for setting the expectations too high. On the other side I would say that Burke should shoulde more than his fair share, as he took the situation and then dropped a nuke on it with his public comments disparaging Sven. WAAAAAY too heavy handed.

          But they say that to a man who’s only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

          I’m just pissed it couldnt be worked out.

          • RedMan

            I agree, most situations are rarely one sided. I think expectations got a little out of hand due to Sven’s production in his draft plus 1 season and during his emergency call up. The Flames organization and fan base had not seen a draft pick with that kind of offensive upside in a long time.

            Burke was heavy handed in that his assessment of Sven probably did not need to be stated during a press conference. No other player during Burke’s tenure here has had to experience that. Sven did seem to wilt a little bit under that criticism though. It varies from work place to work place, but we all have to face, accept and improve with criticism. I have never had a superior call me out in front of national media, but I have had consultants threaten me with pipe wrenches and threaten to run me off of leases because I didn’t want to rodeo something and risk my employees lives.

            Sven’s scenario this season almost had him set up to fail from the begining. He was never going to pass Glencross or Gaudreau on the depth chart. Sven has more offensive upside than Bouma, but Lance plays a more complete game in my mind. He is a solid 2 way player and we have seen some nice finish from him this season. He forechecks hard, drives the puck to the net, blocks any shot he can get close to, hits hard and is willing to drop the mitts if need be. The only player he could have knocked out of the LW rotation want Bollig. For some reason, see #GritChart, Hartley wants Bollig dressed most games. I guess size and experience. Had Sven slotted into the lineup on a 4th line with Stajan and Byron, his season may have looked much different.

            With the emergence of Jooris, Granlund, Ferlund and Poirer this season and Bennet most likely making the Flames roster next season, I expect a few more unpopular roster decisions to be made before next season is finished.

            GO FLAMES GO


          • RedMan

            if my memory serves me right, and to be clear this was speculation+gossip+grapevine even back then, but it seems to me that Sven had issues/attitude about having to participate in the young-stars tournament, and showed up out of shape, which was the beginning of the end – at lest that’s how I remember it.

            if this is the truth – then I blame Burke less (though I have no issues blaming anything and everything on Burke).

            Burke seems to be a very smart man, but wasn’t kidding when he said he is impatient. I think the Kessell deal was only one notch better then Feaster’s RoR and Jankowski fiascos.

            Is Burke the architect behind Toronto’s current nightmare? I hope not… as that would not bode well for Calgary.

        • Robear


          Ken King addressed this right at the start last Friday. He said the player did not want to play in Calgary & either he was traded or he was going to play in Europe. He said anytime you get a 2nd round pick for a player that was picked in the first round, it’s a failure on part of the organization. Problem is, the player didn’t want to be in Calgary & they salvaged the best they could & now Sven is going to be who ever they get in the 2nd round.

          Is what it is, tired of this debate. I have seen Wolf advocate the Detroit slow ferment development approach to their young players. Sven felt he was above that even though Sven got way more NHL games than many of Detroit high end prospects. Nothing you can do, move on.

          • beloch

            Sven told you this, eh?

            Your argument would make sense if everyone were under the same ‘Detroit’ standard. However, that clearly was not the case as some prospects were celarly given more opportunity.

            Under the same circumstances you’d go find another job too.

  • beloch

    Even though Adirondack has too many goalies right now, only Ortio, if he returns before the playoffs are over, is likely to challenge Gillies for starts. If Gillies goes to the AHL, he will play. If he goes to the NHL, he will sit. With Ramo and Hiller duking it out for starts and every point being crucial, Gillies isn’t likely to even get the job of being backup.

    Gillies’ case is made unusual by the fact that he’s a goalie. He can make a much larger and immediate difference for Adirondack than a skater could. Giving the prospects in Adirondack a deep playoff run is worth more to the Flames organization than having a third goalie sitting in the press box.

    Hopefully, Treliving will find some way to give Gillies the same perks that a less crucial skater in his situation would enjoy while getting him into the AHL where he’s immediately going to be a difference maker.

    • Burnward

      How long before Ortio is back anyway? Anyone know? ADK is going nowhere without him this year – I’d be surprised if they even made the playoffs the way they’re giving up goals…. 16 games left though with some games in hand so maybe if Byron bumps Poirier down and Ortio comes back…

      Last game was UGLY though… Shore, Ferland and Poirier in CGY, Sven traded, Big Ern having a baby – they played Seiloff at forward!!

      • RedMan

        Wondering how Seiloff did at forward… seems like he has not made much noise as a defensive prospect, kinda like he’s fallen off a cliff or something as we never hear anything about him except maybe that he has regressed

  • Burnward

    Jankowski will get a minimum contract from the Flames. If only because the best benefit to the Flames would be somebody offering him more and them getting a second round pick for compensation. But in order to qualify for the pick they have to offer him a contract. Too high of an asset to waste just walking away for nothing.