Parker Bell was the Calgary Flames’ first 2022 pick to sign (but probably not the last)
Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
The Calgary Flames began the main portion of training camp on Thursday, and commemorated the occasion with the signing of Parker Bell. A fifth-round pick in 2022, Bell was the latest in a string of drafted prospects signing with the Flames (and the first signing from the 2022 class).
Bell probably won’t be the last 2022 pick to sign.
A brief history of signings
Bell is the second player signed to an ELC under Craig Conroy’s regime, the previous being 2023 first-rounder Samuel Honzek. Dating back to the beginning of 2023, the Flames have signed four new faces to ELCs: Bell, Honzek, William Strömgren and Matt Coronato.
Looking back at the last five draft classes (2019-23), the Flames have signed 13 draft picks to ELCs out of 30 players drafted: Honzek, Bell, Coronato, Strömgren, Lucas Ciona, Connor Zary, Yan Kuznetsov, Jeremie Poirier, Rory Kerins, Ilya Solovyov, Jakob Pelletier, Ilya Nikolaev and Dustin Wolf. (Of those 13, four have already played NHL games.) The Flames still retain the signing rights to 11 players from the 2019-23 cohort.
It’s reasonable to expect two players to get serious consideration for NHL deals within the next 6-8 months (or so): 2020 pick Jake Boltmann and Topi Rönni, another 2022 selection.
We’ve written about Boltmann before. His offensive output won’t blow anybody’s socks off, but he’s an old-school shutdown defender and boasts a skill-set that the Flames don’t have a lot of within their system. Meanwhile, Rönni is a savvy two-way centre playing a regular role on a strong Finnish pro team and will likely head to the World Juniors for the second season in a row.
Upcoming signing deadlines
Bell was one of two recent draft choices that the Flames had to make a decision on before the end of 2024. (The Flames had until June 1, 2024 to sign him.) The other 2024 decision to make is Boltmann, who’s headed into his senior year and the Flames have until Aug. 15, 2024 to sign him (or not).
Two players have 2025 signing dates: Jaden Lipinski and Etienne Morin, both by June 1.
Two more have 2026 signing dates: Rönni (June 1) and Arsenii Sergeev (Aug. 15). (Given Rönni’s progression, we imagine the Flames push to sign him well in advance of this deadline.)
The remainder the Flames until 2027 or later: Axel Hurtig, Aydar Suniev, Cade Littler, Daniil Chechelev and Yegor Yegorov. (Because of the lack of a transfer agreement, teams retain the rights to players drafted from Russian leagues indefinitely.)
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