The annual deadline to sign drafted prospects has come and gone, and the Calgary Flames have cut bait with one of their 2013 Draft picks.
Per the Flames, they have elected not to sign defenseman Eric Roy. A defender with the Brandon Wheat Kings, he was Calgary’s fifth round selection in the 2013 Draft, 135th overall. They acquired the pick from Columbus in exchange for Blake Comeau at the 2013 trade deadline.
Roy will be 21 years of age in October and will be eligible for selection in the upcoming entry draft later this month.
He was a second-pairing defender for the Wheaties this year as an over-ager, primarily playing with fellow veteran Colton Waltz. He had good offensive numbers – 45 points in 66 games – but never dominated the way you’d hope a 20-year-old would, particularly when playing on a stacked Brandon team. And he was regularly out-played on both sides of the puck by his team’s pair of excellent 17-year-olds, Ivan Provorov and Ryan Pilon. No offense, but when you’re not as good defensively as a raw 17-year-old, it may be time to cut bait.
The Flames also already have two 1994 birthdays signed in Brett Kulak and Patrick Sieloff. Kulak was a superb WHL player and spent 2014-15 adjusting to the pros; he was reportedly quite good in ECHL Colorado and good late in the season for the Baby Flames. Sieloff himself is a physical specimen with international experience.
Of Calgary’s 1995-born defensive prospects, you have the gigantic Keegan Kanzig, Rushan Rafikov (who plays pro in Russia already). And the 1996 crew has Adam Ollas Mattsson, playing regular minutes in the SHL, and Brandon Hickey, who had an excellent freshman year in the NCAA.
Long story short: basically every other 1994, 1995 and 1996-born Flames defensive draft pick has developed something exceptional about them – their physical game, their stature, international experience, professional experience in European leagues – while Eric Roy failed to do so. In a system with a salary cap and a cap on NHL contracts that you can give out, teams cannot afford to give deals to players that aren’t exceptional in some way.