Zach Fischer and D’Artagnan Joly probably won’t be signed

The 2019 NHL Draft is looming and teams are trying to square off their unfinished business from prior drafts. The Calgary Flames have until June 1 to sign 2017 picks Zach Fischer and D’Artagnan Joly. Based on the team’s patterns of behaviour, it doesn’t seem likely that either player will be signed.

The Flames’ history with signing their own picks is arguably the best indicator of how general manager Brad Treliving and his staff tend to operate in this area.

They don’t sign everyone

Signed Not Signed
2012 Patrick Sieloff
Brett Kulak
Ryan Culkin
Jon Gillies
Mark Jankowski
Coda Gordon
Matthew Deblouw
2013 Sean Monahan
Emile Poirier
Morgan Klimchuk
Keegan Kanzig
Eric Roy
Tim Harrison
John Gilmour
Rushan Rafikov
2014 Sam Bennett
Mason McDonald
Hunter Smith
Austin Carroll
Brandon Hickey**
Adam Ollas Mattsson
2015 Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington
Andrew Mangiapane
Pavel Karnaukhov
Riley Bruce
2016 Matthew Tkachuk
Tyler Parsons
Dillon Dube
Matthew Phillips
Linus Lindstrom*
Mitchell Mattson*
Eetu Tuulola*
Adam Fox**
Stepan Falkovsky
2017 Juuso Valimaki
Adam Ruzicka
Zach Fischer
D’Artagnan Joly
Filip Sveningsson*
2018 Dmitry Zavgorodniy
Martin Pospisil
Demetrious Koumontzis*
Milos Roman*
Emilio Pettersen*

Before we dig in, a quick note: players marked with a single asterisk the Flames still hold the rights to – they’re mostly Europeans and college players – while those marked with two were traded.

The Flames have gotten a bit better at drafting in recent years, which has manifest in them being a bit choosy in who they decide to sign to entry level contracts. They’re much more willing to use AHL contracts to try out players than they were in the past rather than just throw NHL contracts at players that might not be ready for them.

They don’t tend to wait until the last minute

If you look at precisely when during the year the Flames sign their picks to entry level deals, they very rarely wait until the last possible minute. Under Treliving, the Flames have signed 17 draft picks to contracts.

The players and the timing of their signings fit neatly into categories:

  • Early picks they were excited about and signed right away [July signings]: Sam Bennett (2014), Oliver Kylington (2015), Matthew Tkachuk (2016), Juuso Valimaki (2017)
  • College players they signed as soon as they left school [March/April signings]: Jon Gillies (2012), Mark Jankowski (2012)
  • Later picks they liked and waited until their “draft-plus-one” seasons were over before signing [March/April signings]: Austin Carroll (2014), Andrew Mangiapane (2015), Tyler Parsons (2016), Dillon Dube (2016), Dmitry Zavgorodniy (2018), Adam Ruzicka (2018), Martin Pospisil (2018)
  • Players that signed at weird times for CBA reasons [various]: Hunter Smith (2014), Mason McDonald (2014), Rasmus Andersson (2015), Matthew Phillips (2017)

Both Fischer and Joly would fit into the third category, but three specific factors make it likely that they won’t be signed:

First, their seasons have been over for awhile – Fischer was done in early April and Joly a few weeks later – and we haven’t heard a peep. If they were both in the typical situation where the Flames merely wanted to wait until their games were done before inking them, it would’ve been done by now. (As a side note, Milos Roman’s “draft-plus-one” season just ended, so it would make sense for the Flames and his camp to start chatting more seriously about an ELC given his strong finish to the WHL playoffs. They have until June 1, 2020 to sign him.)

Second, and more awkwardly, the Flames signed Joly’s Rimouski teammate Zavgorodniy many weeks ago. The natural thing to do, if they were going to sign both players, would be releasing a press release announcing both deals. Announcing only Zavgorodniy makes it seem like that’s all they’re going to do.

Third, Fischer’s been on an AHL contract all season but played almost the entire campaign in the ECHL. As noted above, the Flames have been pretty diligent at using AHL contracts to test players out – Garnet Hathaway and Ryan Lomberg were originally on minor league deals but impressed – but they tend not to convert AHL deals to big league contracts if the player in question spent the entire year in the ECHL. Remember Stepan Falkovsky? He had an AHL contract in his “draft-plus-one” year (2016-17) but spent the entire time with the Adirondack Thunder, so he wasn’t offered an NHL contract and became a free agent. Fischer’s situation seems very similar, though he has much less impressive ECHL numbers than Falkovsky did.

Sum it up

Long story short, the Flames have been choosy in the past with which picks they sign. All the stars are aligning in a manner that suggests that they’re going to move on from Fischer and Joly.

  • Baalzamon

    Shame about Joly, but he (seemingly) regressed so much this year it’s not really surprising. Fischer, on the other hand, isn’t even slightly surprising.

    The player I’m most curious about (other than Roman) is Adam Ollas Mattsson. He was one of Stockton’s better defenders last season; one would think the Flames would sign him just to bring some stability to a blueline that needs it (and also to have a deep injury replacement ready in the case of some catastrophe). Plus, he might actually turn into something.

      • Baalzamon

        It’s compounded by the fact that Hogstrom is apparently going back to Djurgarden. Like… really? One injury-ruined season is enough for the sides to go their separate ways?

        Supposedly Ollas Mattsson was in Malmo recently and there’s speculation he could sign there. Come on, Flames, throw him a contract. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

    • Beer League Coach

      I am also somewhat surprised that Joly was not signed already. When drafted he looked like he could be a late round steal. Last season he seemed to start OK and then there were reports of friction with him and his coach. Baie Comeau traded him and before he played a game with his new team he was traded again to Rimouski. I wonder if he developed an attitude problem that makes him an undesirable player to have in the locker room.

      I also would like to see Flames sign Ollas Mattson. SF told us that AOM was the Heat’s best D man over the course of the entire season just finished. He is a good physical player, stay at home, type of D man. In the past we have heard many times that prospect A, B,C, or whatever was a good puck moving D man. We also need a few D men that are good at moving opposing forwards out of the sight lines of our goalies. This seems to be the role that AOM is best at and we don’t have a lot of that type of D men in the system.

  • Beer League Coach

    Eetu Tuulola and Filip Svengingsson are under contract to their European teams until the end of the 2019/20 season. Linus Lindstrom is under contract to his Swedish team until the end of 2020/21 season so there is still hope that these draft picks might some day come over and play for the Heat and maybe for the Flames in a year or 2. Koumontzis and Pettersen from the 2018 draft are in NCAA so there might still be hope that we see them some day, too. Milos Roman would be an overage and a European player if he went back to Vancouver Giants so it is unlikely that he will get another year in junior. Even though his signing deadline is June 1, 2020 it does not seem reasonable to let him go until then before they sign him. Flames should sign him now, even if it means sending him to Kansas City for a year. I often wonder why Flames draft some of these players if they never offer them a contract. Some players just need a little more development time than others. Look at baseball with there multi tier development system. Rookie ball, low A, mid A, high A, AA, AAA. Each MLB team would have hundreds of prospects in their development system and then the cream of the crop get a spot on their 40 man roster. Hockey could do a similar set up. There are many other leagues below the level of ECHL where these prospects could play and gain some pro experience. Alex Burrows is a good example of a guy who spent many years toiling in obscurity before he got a chance with Canucks and then made a good NHL career for himself.

    • Beer League Coach

      Flames traded their 4th round pick this year (2019) to Montreal for their 4th round pick in 2018 in order to draft Roman. It just doesn’t make any sense to not sign him now after trading a draft pick to move up and draft him in last year’s draft.

  • Garry T

    The Flames have never been a waiver wire team. Arizona has and have improved their club somewhat. The Islanders did the same. I think they should have one or more persons absolutely scrutinizing those lists with the hopes of really building a great team in Stockton this fall and throughout the year. That City deserves it.

    • freethe flames

      You need to have tweeners on your AHL team if you want to be successful. You need to have a plan of who gets called up starting with your clear top prospects and then your secondary prospects and then your tweeners.