Flames Sign Austin Carroll to ELC

If I had told you that the second person signed from the 2014 NHL Draft class by the Calgary Flames would be the last guy chosen, you probably wouldn’t have believed me.

But it’s happened.

The Flames announced today the signing of 2014 seventh round pick Austin Carroll to an entry-level contract, presumably for three years. The deal begins next season. (The first player signed was Sam Bennett, by the way.)

Carroll, 21, has spent the past four seasons with the WHL’s Victoria Royals. In that tenure, he’s progressed from 0.32 points-per-game as a 17/18 year old, to 0.63 (at 18/19), to 0.81 (at 19/20) to this season’s 1.12 points per game (at 20/21). It’s basically what you would hope for from a prospect in his situation – he’s physically and mentally maturing and figuring out how to excel at the major-junior level. He led Victoria in scoring this past season as an over-age player.

Now he’ll get a chance to do so at the professional level in the Flames organization. It also helps that he’s big, he’s a right-handed shot and he’s shown the ability to put the puck in the net (granted, as an older player).

Carroll and the Victoria Royals open their WHL opening round series on Friday against the Prince George Cougars.

  • I’m really excited about this, I think his drafting was somewhat of a steal. Of course I fully acknowledge how being over-aged in the WHL probably skews his value a bit, but I don’t think it would be wrong to hope for a skilled bottom-six RW role with him down the road!

  • RKD

    This looks like a good signing, especially since Kyle Baun decided to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks today, boo to that. I like that Caroll keeps progressing and finding more consistency to his game.

    • RKD

      6’3″ and 216 lbs….yep he meet the skill requirements of the Brian Burke era!

      Seems we are loading up on Bottom 6 talent….I guess they can’t all make it and that is why Baun signed elsewhere…plus Chicago needs to get a cheaper roster quickly and Baun would have a better chance at making the Hawks.

  • Christian Roatis

    I find it funny how we all applaud this now, but wouldn’t have to venture too far back to find the “Flames Draft Overager Carroll” article with the pure vitriol in its comment section.

    I didn’t like it at first either, it made little sense, but I’ve reached a point with this scouting staff where blind trust seems appropriate until further notice.

    • BurningSensation

      It still makes zero sense that the Flames would use a draftpick on him, when they could have waited it out one more round and then just signed the kid to a free agent contract.

      That said, if they insist on drafting ‘Kris Chucko’ types I prefer they do it with the last round of the draft rather than the first.

      • Christian Roatis

        I think the logic behind it was: they thought they saw something but weren’t 100% sure, and since they didn’t feel there was anyone left worth taking, they took Carroll.

        Of course there was Spencer Watson just sitting there… BUT I’M OVER IT.

        • piscera.infada

          In fairness though, Spencer Watson hasn’t been great this year. You would also think that with all the attention on Bennett last year, if Watson really excelled at something, he would have gone before the seventh.

          That said, I firmly believe that when it comes to the late-rounds of a draft, if you see something in someone that you really like regardless of if they’ve been passed over before or not, you pull the trigger. If you’re buying a lottery ticket, might as well buy the one you feel comfortable about.

          I will agree that Smith doesn’t look like a pragmatic pick though, but you win some, you lose some. Just have to hope it doesn’t happen again. I think in it’s totality, that draft doesn’t look as bad now, as it did on it’s surface.

      • supra steve

        “zero sense”…really?

        Zero is none.

        Could they have taken some other plug in the 7th round? YES.

        Were they then guaranteed that Carroll would sign with them today (or any other day)? NO. They made a commitment to this player that no other club was willing to make, and he has returned that commitment.

        By my tally, there was something between zero% and total 100% mathematical certainty that the Flames could have signed this player (had they not drafted him). So your “zero sense” claim makes zero sense.

    • BurningSensation

      It still makes zero sense that the Flames would use a draftpick on him, when they could have waited it out one more round and then just signed the kid to a free agent contract.

      That said, if they insist on drafting ‘Kris Chucko’ types I prefer they do it with the last round of the draft rather than the first.

    • Parallex

      I wouldn’t give “blind trust” to Håkan Andersson and the guys we have are no Håkan Andersson.

      Drafting overagers strikes me as generally a bad idea… especially 20yo ones when there is a high probability he could have been promptly signed without spending a draft pick.

      I wonder if Eric Roy is going to be signed. He’s essenially in the same boat as Carroll.

        • SmellOfVictory

          They took a goalie with unimpressive numbers so early in the 2nd it was practically the first round, and completely ignored Thatcher Demko, who, if you’re going to take a goalie, looked way more impressive.

          Then they took Hunter Smith, who is pretty much just big. That was his second draft eligible year, and in this season, in spite of being one of the oldest guys drafted last season, he can’t even reach a point-per-game playing big minutes on a good offensive team.

          Feel free to rub it in my face when either of them works out, which is an extremely unlikely scenario.

      • supra steve

        They took the first goaltender in the draft. That means they really liked what they saw. If four years from now MacDonald is a superstar everyone will be putting up a shrine in Olympic Plaza for Todd Button and co. You saw how that pick made Vancoiver panic and grab Demko right after, and Burke mentioned those two were the class of the draft in net and they liked MacDonald more. That’s high praise.

        As for Hunter Smith, maybe he’s not a Granlund type all-skill/IQ pick but his offense has been compared to Tomas Holmstrom somewhere which is pretty exciting. Sounds like just what Johnny and Mony need on the right wing, especially since they combined are a pair of pure skill players while Smith brings physicality.

        Most importantly though, our 3rd rounder was the 64th overall pick. That’s effectively a 2nd rounder and guess what we went away with Brandon Hickey. Would you be complaining about Hickey at 54 and Smith at 64?

        Finally, yes you need some faith in these professionals whose job it is to evaluate players. Remember the criticism about Poirier at 21 over no-brainer Hunter Shinkaruk?

        Well look now, Poirier is a monster and a half.

        • RedMan

          Be careful with player comparisons, especially at draft time. They’re usually wrong.

          As for Poirier, a large segment of the board here was in favor of the pick once they had time to research him. Personally, I was never a fan of Shinkaruk – a pure homer pick if there ever was one.

        • SmellOfVictory

          Lots of their selections in previous drafts look good; I’m just saying they specifically look like they screwed up the 2nd round of the 2014 draft, really hard.

          Although Poirier was a “who dat” selection in 2013, at least he had an NHL-type package of skills. Hunter Smith is just a huge individual who’s not particularly fast or agile and is not the smartest guy on the ice.

          I hate those two 2014 picks, and unless one of them shows a level of usefulness when they become pros, I will continue to hate them.

    • Greg

      Funny that. I always find it amusing when people (myself included) wail against a potential move, and then find a way to mentally adjust and be able to at least be ok with it if not straight up applaud it later.

      The Keenan hiring. The Burke hiring. The Regher trade. It has to be pretty universally abysmal to be lamented even in hindsight (see Leeman, Gary).

  • RickT

    I think the reason they spent a pick on him is loyalty and reward. The Flames organization prides themselves on how they treat their players (with the exception of Sven, most seem happy and they seem to try really hard to make sure their players are happy).

    Imagine how it feels to be drafted, rather than sign as undrafted. The team puts a lot of faith in you.

    Would be like if a company poached you to work with them, rather than have to be in the job market for a while to find some work. They’re happy with you, you’ll likely work harder for them because you’re happy with them.

    • Avalain

      I agree with this. I’d say if you make the players feel like you care about them on some level then they will likely be more loyal to you.

      Plus, at the end of the day, it’s a 7th round pick. Who cares? How many 7th round players do you seriously expect to make a difference?

      • Avalain

        Three:

        Austin Carroll
        Rushan Rafikov
        John Gilmour

        😀

        OKay, Gilmour’s a long shot but he’s a talented kid, at the very least I see him being a great AHL player like Cundari which I still consider making a difference.

  • everton fc

    If Ferland was on the left, Arnold in the middle, and Carroll on the right… That might be a good 4th line in two seasons time.

    “On paper”, and in the “futures” market, we have some nice assets to move for some nice additions, particularly on defence. As guys like Gio, Hudler, Stajan, Raymond, Wideman et al age and move on or retire, we appear to have a decent pipeline of back-fill. We haven’t had this type of scenario in years. Many years, in fact.

    I do think they should offer Eric Roy a contract a send him to the farm. We are so think on the backend. Limited depth, at best, even when we make some deals this summer.
    Not good.

  • Avalain

    Nothing against this signing at all. He got better every year and has shown some offence to go with his size. His reward was getting signed, well deserved.

    However, let’s not get too excited here. The guy is a monster compared to, well, almost anyone else in major junior. Plus, he’s an overager to get those numbers (which are solid, but far from spectacular).

    I don’t see more than a minor leaguer here.

  • Avalain

    Guess he grew a little bit and leaned out.
    Flames news release today lists Carroll at 6’4″ 204 lbs. Last year he was listed at 6’3″ 215 lbs.

    Either way potentially a “free” 7th round pickup with size and skill. Morrison same thing.

  • Byron Bader

    One thing I’m curious, and Carroll isn’t quite in this fold, but how often does an overager have a pretty average junior career but then show up in their final season big time and actually turn into at least a top 9 guy in the bigs. Tyler Johnson comes to mind. Very mediocre junior career and then a massive 4th year and hasn’t looked back. Benn’s another guy. I think he was injured his draft year but his numbers were ok (should not have been a 5th round pick … he was a steal there) and then he had a pretty massive last year with the Rockets and immediately made an impact with the Stars the next year.

    NHLE of 35 and up in your draft year, from what I’ve seen, is essentially can’t miss for an offensive talent. I’m curious if that range holds up as an indicator for “season before turning pro” as well. Dominating at that level … does that signal you’re ready for a shot with some skilled players in the NHL (not a 4th line role).

    Again, Carroll’s not quite in this range, he’s an NHLE of 27 but got me wondering.