Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving seemed to really enjoy signing players yesterday, because he’s kept at it today. The Flames announced that they’ve inked goaltender Mason McDonald and right wing Hunter Smith to entry-level contracts. Both were second round selections at the 2014 Draft.
Based on each player’s age and the terms of the CBA, the deals are three-year pacts.
McDonald, 19, is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was chosen by the Flames in the second round of the 2014 Draft, 34th overall, and was the first goalie selected – setting off a flurry of goalie picks in the second round. He’s tall and “toolsy,” in that he’s still pretty raw skills-wise but has good position. He started 56 games for the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders last season after playing 55 in the prior two seasons combined. He seemed to progress, posting a .906 save percentage – second-best in a junior league hardly known for defensive play. He suffered a knee injury that ended his playoff run early, but he’s expected to be fully recovered for the beginning of training camp by all accounts. McDonald will be back in the Q this season and can’t go to the AHL yet due to his age, so his deal will slide a year and not count against the 50 contract limit.
Smith, 19, is a native of Windsor, Ontario, and just a massive human being at 6’6″ and over 215 lbs. He was selected as a second-year draft eligible by the Flames in the 2014 Draft, 54th overall. He was one of the youngest players eligible for the 2013 Draft, and was actually just a few days away from the cut-off for the 2014 class. The year made a big difference, as he had 40 points in 64 games prior to the 2014 Draft after having 1 point in 30 games before the 2013 Draft. His selection seems smart in retrospect, as he was one of the Oshawa Generals’ key players in their Memorial Cup win, including succeeding in his line’s assignment to shut down Connor McDavid in the OHL Championship series. Smith turns 20 in September and is expected to turn pro this season, though he is eligible to return as an overage player.
With the pair of signings, the Flames have signed four of their six 2014 picks – Sam Bennett, Austin Carroll, and now McDonald and Smith. Only college defender Brandon Hickey and Swedish blueliner Adam Ollas Mattsson remain unsigned.
The Flames are now at 36 active contracts for 2015-16 (plus McDonald’s sliding deal and 10 restricted free agents).