Our parent club, the Calgary Flames, were very, very busy last week, signing Lance Bouma on Thursday, Josh Jooris and Turner Elson on Friday and Paul Byron on Sunday to now have every restricted free agent (RFA) under contract minus Micheal Ferland.
Bouma was the first contract to fall when he signed a three-year deal to avoid arbitration. Bouma had a career year last season registering 34 points in 78 games played before missing some time at the end of the season due to injury. He only suited up in two of the Flames playoff games last year.
There’s no doubt that despite his career high in points last season, Bouma is a defensive guy with deep AHL roots, spending parts of four seasons with the Abbotsford Heat prior to establishing himself as a full-time NHL’er. Bouma is also a former Vancouver Giant, which Thunder fans should recognize as the WHL team Thunder legend Garet Hunt played for in his junior days. Bouma played parts of three seasons with Hunt.
The second players to sign were Jooris and Elson. For Elson it’s a big reward for a player who’s spent the last four years under the Flames minor league system, playing for both Abbotsford and the Adirondack Flames. He, like Bouma, is coming off of a career year after knocking in 17 goals and 30 points in just 58 games played.
He’s also a name that can be vaguely familiar to Stockton Thunder fans as Elson spent some time in the ECHL with the Alaska Aces in 2013-14 and was part of the team that took home the Kelly Cup. Elson’s first ECHL games? Well they happened to be in familiar Flames colors during the ECHL Heritage Hockey Weekend against the then-called Rough & Ready Islanders. He popped in two helpers during that five game series against Stockton in Anchorage to kick off his ECHL career.
As for Jooris, he parlayed a few great seasons with Union College (including his 2011-12 campaign which culminated in being one of the final four teams of the Frozen Four in 2012…the same tournament that yours truly got to watch in a suite with one of my boyhood idols, Jim Carey (goalie not actor)) into his first pro contract.
While Jooris’ former team was busy winning the NCAA Championship in 2013-14, he was paving the way to a call-up the following season after a good pro debut with Abbotsford (11-16-27). Last year he began the year with Adirondack before being called up to spend the rest of the season in Calgary.
Finally we had one last domino fall with Paul Byron (someone I’m familiar with from his Buffalo Sabre days) signing a one-year deal yesterday. Byron is a smaller centerman that I always have been a fan of due to his work ethic. To say he busts his tail is an understatement for the 5’7″, 152lb. player. He’s someone that is a great depth player who can fill in on a top line every now and again, as evidenced by him playing a bit with Sean Monahan last season.
One last term you may have heard about Bouma, Jooris and Byron that has been thrown around is the word “arbitration”. Some of you could be familiar with this term or what this is but for those of you who don’t, allow me to explain it in layman’s terms.
Basically a RFA player and a team cannot agree on a contract so they file for arbitration and this hearing can be filed by both a player or a team, however a player can only be taken to arbitration once in his career. If the parties cannot agree on a contract then they head to arbitration which I’m never a big fan of. Basically it’s the players job to say why he deserves the money he is asking for and it’s the team’s job to nitpick the player’s game and explain why they are worth X amount of dollars. It can be a nasty process that can form deep scars.
The arbiter will then make a ruling and teams have 48 hours to accept the ruling or decline the ruling, making a player an unrestricted free agent immediately. Want to know what kinds of evidence is used in these cases? Check this brief article out.
The only player that was signed this week that went through with arbitration was Bouma but both sides agreed on a deal prior to the arbiter’s ruling. Both Jooris and Byron avoided the hearing all together.
The last RFA for the Flames is Ferland who didn’t elect to go to arbitration, meaning that the Flames can take their time and work out a deal with the physical winger.
It certainly will be interesting to see Flames training camp battles this year because there are a lot of good players competing for NHL jobs. My gut right now tells me there are a few really good players who we will see in Stockton, at least for a little while, before injuries take their toll and call-ups are made. Plus you never know which young guns make a big statement and potentially push out a veteran player in camp battles. Regardless, sure seems like good times are coming for Flames and Heat fans in just a few short months!
I’m closing out all of my blog posts with a jersey or logo in the sports world. I love sports jerseys (I collect them) and I love logos and what goes into making a brand.
So I’m going to keep the theme from my last blog going with the awesome 1990’s logos. Time for some real talk. My favorite logos typically come from the 1970’s and earlier. I loved the old simple logos. One of my all-time favorites happens to be the Quebec Nordiques logo. Simple. Rustic. I’m like the Gordon Ramsay of design.
That being said I love the creativity that began in the 1990’s despite it going against the laws of design. Jerseys with gradients and silly logos dominated the decade but what it showed was a little creativity can be used to make something with a few more complex elements to the design, look simple. Take the Wild logo for example, one of my absolute favorite “new” logos.
Well this logo to the right is not one of those “awesome” logos but it was a creative name with a unique color scheme in a league that went defunct in just a few years. The Vancouver Voodoo of the Roller Hockey International is a prime example of 90’s logo. If I wouldn’t have told you it was from this decade, I’m sure you could have guessed it based on it’s look alone.
As far as names go, I really like the Voodoo because it’s different but in Vancouver? Apart from the alliteration which I think sounds good, I’m not quite sure that the name has much to do with the area, so if you are a fan of naming your team after something in your community, you might not like this one.
What you might like is the arena football team with the same name operating out of New Orleans. That seems to work a little better!
Brandon Kisker is the Heat’s Director of Broadcast & Media Relations and is entering his third season as a broadcaster in Stockton. Follow him on Twitter @kiskerbc or email him at email@example.com with comments or questions.