Way, way back in 2004, life was different. The Calgary Flames were a month removed from almost winning a Stanley Cup and while a lockout loomed, they tried to beef up their farm system by signing seven players.
On this date in 2004, the Flames signed future Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano, plus six other guys: Patrik Nilson, Richie Regehr, Dustin Johner, Justin Taylor, Davin Heintz and Carsen Germyn.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) July 6, 2020
Giordano played his way onto the NHL roster, suiting up in 55 regular season games (and four in the playoffs) on his entry level deal. He eventually cemented himself as a damn fine NHL player. He’s served seven seasons as Flames captain, won a Norris Trophy, and has been a perennial contender for the NHL’s humanitarian and leadership awards.
The rest of the crew didn’t turn out quite as well.
Nilson was Marcus’ little brother. He spent a season in the ECHL split between Las Vegas and Louisiana, then headed back to Sweden.
Regehr was Robyn’s little brother. Regehr was on his way to carving out a third pairing gig for himself, playing 20 NHL games during his ELC. But concussions derailed his progress and he ended up going to play in Europe.
Johner primarily played in the ECHL during his ELC. He was traded midway through to Florida in a swap that landed the Flames the services of Kristian Huselius.
Taylor spent his entire ELC as AHL depth for the Flames. He wasn’t re-upped when his deal expired, and bounced around North American minor pro and Europe for the next decade – he played on 14 different teams between 2007 and 2016.
Heintz never actually played in the Flames organization, leaving hockey after Lowell’s training camp in 2004. (Internet searches are spotty as to the background as to why it happened, but he popped back up in Europe briefly a decade later.)
Germyn turned into a pretty decent pro, playing four games for Calgary during his ELC and getting a second contract out of it. He spent six seasons in the Flames system and headed to Europe after that.
Giordano is the only player of the seven signed in 2004 still playing pro hockey anywhere.