What does Calgary Flames prospect Jack Beck need to do to earn a contract?
Photo credit:Robert Lefebvre /OHL Images
By Ryan Pike10 months ago
On Oct. 28, Ottawa 67’s forward Jack Beck scored a goal 65 seconds into a game against Peterborough. Immediately after his shot, an opposing player collided with him awkwardly. Beck left the game and didn’t return to action until Thursday night, when he had two assists in an overtime loss to Barrie.
A sixth-round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2021 NHL Draft, Beck has shown a wealth of potential since his selection but has been limited by injuries to just 51 games since being drafted. With a decision on signing Beck or potentially parting ways looming, what does Beck need to show to earn an entry-level deal?
A product of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Beck was a selection of the 67’s in the 2019 OHL Draft. He made the leap into the OHL the following season, playing 56 games and putting up 19 points in 2019-20 before the league was shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020-21 OHL season was wiped out by the pandemic, as well. The Flames selected Beck in the sixth round based on the promise he showed in 56 OHL games, all played prior to his 17th birthday, and his stint with Canada White at the World Under-17s. In a draft full of gambles made by teams who had far less on-ice information to work with, Beck’s selection was a unique roll of the dice based on a pretty small sample size.
In early 2021-22, the Flames’ gamble initially looked quite smart. Beck got off to a strong start, with 17 points in his first 12 games in his 18-year-old season. But a rough hit in that 12th game resulted in a kidney contusion and a lengthy recovery that kept him out until February. It seemed uncertain that he would be the same guy post-injury, but he rattled off 27 points in 24 games after his return, then had four points in four playoff appearances.
Lauded by scouts for his smarts, competitiveness and attention to detail in all three zones, even stepping into mid-season OHL hockey, he didn’t seem to miss a step. His strong play earned him an invite to Hockey Canada’s World Junior summer camp.
He began the current season, his 19-year-old campaign, hoping to impress Flames brass in order to earn an NHL contract. He began his season with 13 points in 11 games when, again, freak injury luck reared its head and kept him out for two more months.
The Flames hold Beck’s NHL rights through June 1, 2023 at which point, if unsigned, his rights will lapse and he’ll re-enter the draft.
As it stands, Beck has played 47 regular season games post-draft and has posted 24 goals and 59 points. Over a 68-game OHL season, that projects as 35 goals and 85 points. But so far, due to some rough circumstances, Beck has yet to play a full OHL season post-draft, and the Flames would be determining whether to give him an ELC based on 51 combined regular season and playoff games, plus the games remaining in the current season.
The good news is this: there’s a good amount of runway left in this season for Beck to put together a sufficient sample to convince the Flames to sign him. The 67’s have 34 games remaining in their regular season and are among the very best teams in the OHL this season. They seem poised for a hefty playoff run. It’s entirely possible that Beck could double his post-draft games played total before his season ends, provided he remain injury-free.
If Beck can rattle off another 40-50 games where he continues to score at a high pace and maintains his 200-foot attention to detail, he could be well on his way to getting a contract with the Flames. All he really needs to do is show that his success thus far wasn’t a fluke, but is a true reflection of what he is at the OHL level (and reflective of the potential of what he could become going forward).
Beck is going to be a fascinating prospect to follow for the remainder of the season.
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