Free agent frenzy has claimed another victim, and oddly enough it is Stepan Falkovsky. The 6’7″ Belorussian defenceman has joined the LA Kings on a three-year ELC after spending the previous year with the Flames’ ECHL affiliate.
Kings sign free agent defenseman Stepan Falkovsky, from Belarus, to a three-year ELC. 32 points (21-11=32) w/ ECHL-Adirondack in 16-17.
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) July 1, 2017
Falkovsky, the Flames’ 2017 seventh round pick, played the entire year with the ECHL Adirondack Thunder after playing for the Ottawa 67s the year before. In Adirondack, he put up an unprecedented 21 goals in 54 games, good for third on the Thunder and first among defenders in the ECHL.
Falkovsky was unsigned by the Flames, only on contract with the Stockton Heat. As he is 20 years old, he’s eligible for free agency. The Flames needed to offer (not sign) him an ELC by June 1 to retain his rights for another year, and apparently did not (Pike speculates that they only offered him another AHL contract).
Read more: Prospect wrap-up: Stepan Falkovsky
Without knowing the Flames’ mindset, I would imagine that they were not convinced that Falkovsky was going to repeat his 20 goal success, which seems to be a fair evaluation. Until he went on a hot streak in a goal-friendly league, he wasn’t much to call home about.
And given the Flames’ impressive AHL depth and the long route to the NHL for Falkovsky, it is very likely that he did not like his future chances in the organization. He was likely to be a third pairing guy in Stockton next year, so he moved on. It’s not much of a consequential move.