As NCAA seasons end, the signings trickle in. The Flames have already dipped their toe in the water with Josh Healey, and they should be signing Brandon Hickey soon, but here’s another name to add to the list: Justin Kloos.
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) March 28, 2017
Kloos has had a successful career to this point. He won Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award, given to the best high school player, for a season where he scored 81 points in 25 games. He was second in USHL scoring in 2012-13, finished top five in scoring at the University of Minnesota all four years, and finished first in his junior year. Throughout all four years, Kloos has scored 150 points in 155 games. That’s pretty good.
Kloos ticks a few boxes the Flames are looking for. He’s a right-shooting forward who fits in the 20-23 age group. He’s naturally a centre, but can definitely play the wing. Scouts talk about his hockey skill, speed, and Some will be glad to know that this isn’t a truculence signing, as Kloos is only 5’9″, 178 lbs.
The problem is that he’s kind of on the old side for a prospect, aged 23. He’ll be 24 by the time next season gets into the swing of things. Kloos was a 2012 draft eligible, and an older one at that (November 30th). At an older age, his NHL success probability is generally lower.
But perhaps that’s not what the Flames are looking for in this signing. Kloos falls into the age group of many of the Feaster-era picks: 21-24 year olds, first time draft eligibles between the years 2011-2013, or signings/acquisitions from that age group (not necessarily acquired by Feaster). This suggests to me that they’re underwhelmed or planning to move on from those players.
The forwards that fit into that age group are Austin Carroll, Garnet Hathaway, Mark Jankowski, Morgan Klimchuk, Ryan Lomberg, Emile Poirier, Daniel Pribyl, Hunter Shinkaruk, and Hunter Smith. Of those, only Garnet Hathaway has played over 20 games in the NHL. There’s a lot of duds in that list, and a few trending downwards. Only one of these guys (ironically, Hathaway) will have their contract expire this season. If they sign Kloos, he provides competition for next year when a lot of these guys will be out of a contract.