Every season, the Calgary Flames seem to take a gamble on a player in the later rounds that they hope turns out to be a decent piece of the puzzle. This June, there’s a good chance they may use a late pick on someone they’re beginning to become familiar with.
That player is defenseman Jason Fram of the Spokane Chiefs.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been around the Flames quite a bit this past season – albeit, entirely at the beginning of the year. He attended last summer’s development camp as an invitee, then joined the Flames for both rookie camp and main training camp, before returning to the Chiefs after the first week of camp.
Fram’s an interesting case. He wasn’t eligible to be signed by the Flames by virtue of his age last summer, and the fact that he was still eligible for this year’s NHL Draft. However, take a look at his progression:
- 2011-12: 7 points in 51 games; turned 17 after the season
- 2012-13: 15 points in 60 games; turned 18 after the season [eligible for 2013 Draft]
- 2013-14: 57 points in 72 games; turned 19 after the season [eligible for 2014 Draft]
- 2014-15: 62 points in 70 games; turned 20 after the season [eligible for 2015 Draft]
Now, there’s two ways this can go. Fram’s a right-handed defender who has shown a proven ability over the past two seasons to put up points and contribute to his team’s success. He also was Spokane’s captain. He’s pretty good.
If the Flames think he’s ready to go pro, they may decide not to draft him late and gamble that he passes through his third draft unclaimed and becomes eligible to be signed as a free agent. Then, they ink him to a deal (an entry-level deal or an AHL pact) and he goes pro.
If they think he’ll want to return for his over-age season, as Austin Carroll did, they may pick him late in the draft to retain his rights for the entire season and retain the asset without having to throw a contract at him.
Fram may not solve all of Calgary’s problems, but he’s a very good junior player with proven leadership abilities and a track record of creating offense. If the Flames decide to grab him late in the draft, he provides yet another right-handed shot, and is a seasoned junior player who could either go pro and head to Stockton or Adirondack, or go back to the WHL for his over-age season.
At this stage of the game, it’s all about creating options.