The Calgary Flames announced a signing this morning.
Granted, it’s not college standout Jon Gillies…yet. However, it’s a pretty important signing. They inked right-winger Garnet Hathaway from the Adirondack Flames to an entry-level deal starting next season.
Based on the terms of the CBA and Hathaway’s age, it’ll be a two-year deal that kicks in next season.
Hathaway, 23, joined the Abbotsford Heat last season on an amateur try-out following the completion of his collegiate senior year with Brown University. He played 8 games with the Heat and impressed enough to get an AHL deal from the organization, making the trek from the B.C. interior to Glens Falls when the team relocated.
He impressed in the NHL training camp with his energy and physicality – his playing style falls within the Michael Ferland, Lance Bouma, Josh Jooris functional toughness wheelhouse that Bob Hartley loves on his bottom six – and he was good in the minors this season, with 36 points in 72 games.
He sits fifth on the Adirondack Flames in scoring right now, behind only Kenny Agostino, Drew Shore, Emile Poirier and David Wolf. I’d wager he would’ve gotten a sniff at the NHL by now had he been signed to an NHL deal for this season. In terms of what he brings to the table, he’s probably more NHL ready right now than Wolf is (particularly in terms of his skating) and he actually out-scored Ben Hanowski, both overall and on a points-per-game basis.
Want to motivate your minor league team? Bring in project players on AHL deals and then make a big fuss about signing the guys that out-perform your existing prospects. Hathaway has consistently been one of the better players in Adirondack.
His signing is a pretty clear signal to the youngsters in the organization that “Always Earned, Never Given” applies to the farm team, too.