The Flames have been finalizing a lot of minor deals this week. First, the focus was on signing Patrick Sieloff to an entry level deal. Yesterday Lance Bouma and Paul Byron's new contracts were finalized.
Sieloff was the Flames' second round selection in the 2012 draft. The 6'1", 197 lbs defenceman played for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last year, recording three goals and 11 points in 45 games. He also made the American World Junior team, helping them win gold in Ufa. Known more for his crushing hits than anything else, Sieloff projects to be a physical, stay-at-home defenceman. His entry-level contract is pretty standard: a three-year, two-way deal that carries a $925,000 cap hit. He'll likely be back in Windsor this upcoming season.
Bouma got off to a rough start last season. Due to the lockout, he started his season in Abbotsford but suffered season-ending MCL and ACL injuries just three games into the season. The season prior to that, he experienced a fair amount of NHL time as he played 27 games for the Flames, averaging almost ten minutes of ice time as he played in a fourth line role. Bouma likely won't be a top nine player, however; he's only 23 and has already shown that he can play in the NHL. He's a big body and character guy, and it would be reasonable to expect to see him on the Flames this season. His deal is a one-year, two-way deal that will see him carry a $577,500 cap hit should he be up with the big club.
Byron is the guy the Flames decided to give a second rounder to Buffalo so Buffalo would take Ales Kotalik's contract. (For the record, that second rounder turned into Jake McCabe, selected two spots after Sieloff.) He's a smaller guy who has had numerous call ups with the Flames, but has been unable to stick, and faced some injury troubles last year (breaking his wrist in his first shift with the Flames). Byron has been unable to match the numbers he once produced in Buffalo's farm system in Abbotsford. Last season he scored six goals and 15 points for the Heat in 38 games, and only registered one assist in four games with the Flames. He's only 24, so the potential is still there for him, but he needs to have a big year to prove that he deserves to play in the NHL. His deal is also a one-year, two-way deal, worth $643,500 at the NHL level.
All this leaves two remaining RFAs for the Flames to re-sign: Carter Bancks, who got to make his NHL debut at the end of last season while the Flames were trying to ice an actual AHL team; and TJ Brodie, who we all know and love by this point. Other 2012 draft picks the Flames may sign include Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, and Coda Gordon (Mark Jankowski, Jon Gillies, and Matthew DeBlouw would forfeit their NCAA eligibility should they sign, so don't look for them). Kulak and Gordon will almost certainly be back with their junior teams, but Kulak did get a chance to suit up for the Heat on a PTO last season, so he may be signed sooner rather than later. Due to Culkin's late birthday he has the option of playing for the Heat this season and should be a name to watch out for as well.