Flames sign Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

The Flames have signed their two Boston College prospects, including top prospect Johnny Gaudreau.

Just one day after being Union defeated his team in the Frozen Four semifinals, and minutes after winning the Hobey Baker, Johnny Gaudreau has officially signed with the Calgary Flames.

Gaudreau's contract is a three-year entry level deal with an annual average value of $1,850,000. He will make his NHL debut Sunday in the Flames' season finale against the Vancouver Canucks, effectively burning one year of his deal. He will wear #53.

I doubt we really need to rehash his stats, but here they are anyway: 36 goals (26 at even strength) and 80 points over 40 games this season, at a 2.00 ppg rate, and easily college hockey's top player this year.

Also signed is his Boston College centreman, Bill Arnold. Arnold's deal is a two-year entry level contact with an annual average value of $900,000. Arnold will also be making his NHL debut on Sunday, wearing #46, and will also be losing a year of his entry level contract, leaving him with just one year left on his deal for next season.

Bill Arnold potted 14 goals and 53 points on the season over 40 games. He's known as a defensive forward, and has the potential to be a great shutdown guy for the Flames.

Arnold's signing is similar to Kenny Agostino and Bryce Van Brabant's: two-year deals for the 21-year-olds (22 in Van Brabant's case), with the first season drastically shortened, likely as incentives for them to sign with Calgary rather than testing free agency, which they would have been eligible for in August (Van Brabant was a free agent already, but Calgary guaranteed him NHL games, hence he chose the Flames).

If you're concerned about burning a year of Gaudreau's three-year deal, think of it as a two-year deal that just happens to include an extra game.

Oh yeah: and the fact that he's actually signed. There's been panic amongst Flames fans regarding Gaudreau, and if he would stick with the team who drafted him or pull a Justin Schultz (or Tim Erixon...) and ditch for free agency. Ask yourself which you'd rather have: two full years of Gaudreau guaranteed, or risk losing him for nothing?

It's a good bargaining chip for Gaudreau, and the Flames were right to bite on it immediately. If Gaudreau is the real deal, then essentially handing him nearly two million bucks for a game is worth it. He has the potential - and I must stress, potential - to be a top end forward in this league. And if he reaches those heights as a Flame, then all the better.

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