4
Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Hickey Watch is on as Boston University knocked out of Frozen Four

Folks, keep your eyes on Twitter because there may be some Calgary Flames news coming down the pike in the near future.

Defenseman Brandon Hickey could be signing an entry-level contract imminently, as his Boston University Terriers lost on Saturday evening 3-2 in overtime against the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in an NCAA regional final game. (This comes 24 hours after they beat the University of North Dakota in a double overtime thriller.)

This isn’t based on any insider information, but rather a general league-wide trend that has seen many National Hockey League clubs signing their coveted college prospects after two or three years at school rather than risk them becoming free agents following graduation.

A junior at Boston University, Hickey turns 21 next month and is still extremely young. He’s played a ton of hockey over the past four seasons. He won an AJHL championship with the Spruce Grove Saints (he’s from nearby Leduc). Then he went to the NCAA championship final as a freshman with B.U., losing to Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski and their powerhouse Providence College Friars club. He followed that up with a stint with Team Canada at the 2016 World Junior Championship.

Overall, he’s amassed 40 points in 111 NCAA games over three seasons. He’s had the benefit and the misfortune of being on a really stacked college team that’s recruited extremely well.

Per our pal Ryan Lambert, Boston University presently has 11 NHL picks on their team (and more are likely coming in the current recruiting class). It’s probably a benefit to Hickey and the Terriers if he signs a deal and goes pro.

Earlier this week, 2016 first round pick Luke Kunin signed a deal with the Minnesota Wild and left the University of Wisconsin. Kunin’s deal with the Wild begins in the fall and he’s going to the American Hockey League on an amateur try-out. Given that a highly-touted first rounder is going to the AHL, my thought is the precedent in this year’s college signing market has basically been set and Hickey, when he signs, will go to the AHL first (and his three-year deal will begin in the fall) rather than hang around the Flames locker room and not play.

That said, I’ve been wrong before.