The Calgary Flames announced Sunday afternoon that they have signed 2021 sixth round selection Lucas Ciona to an entry-level contract. Ciona, who is a 6’2’’, 19-year-old left winger playing for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, forced the Flames hand with a torrid scoring spree to start the new season. With 7 goals and 10 assists in 9 games to help the T-Birds to a 9-1-0 start, Calgary management saw enough to pull the trigger on a player who also had a fairly strong training camp.
With just 2 goals and 13 points in 23 games in his draft-eligible season, raw skill and vision clearly guided the selection over stats. Those numbers took a needed jump in his D+1 year, and stayed steady in the playoffs. 17 goals and 35 points in 53 regular season games translated to 9 goals and 14 points in 24 games en route to falling to the Edmonton Oil Kings in Game 6 of the 2021-22 WHL Championship. Seattle features an extremely talented team again that should compete for hardware.
The deal is a full three years that will kick in next season when Ciona is eligible for AHL/ECHL time, with an 849K AAV.
It would come at absolutely no surprise if one day we found out that a specific scout has a say come round 6 of each NHL entry draft, or even that Brad Treliving himself has some sway over that specific selection.
Since his first draft as GM of the Flames in 2014, Treliving has now signed all of Andrew Mangiapane (166, 2015), Eetu Tuulola (156, 2016), Matthew Phillips (166, 2016), Emilio Pettersen (167, 2018), Rory Kerins (174, 2020), and now Lucas Ciona (173, 2021) to ELC’s, while a majority of other higher round picks never even got to that point in their development. Jack Beck, also a 2021 sixth rounder, is very likely to earn himself a contract as well with 2 strong OHL seasons post draft. Only Adam Ollas-Mattsson (although he did play parts of three seasons with the Stockton Heat on AHL deals) (175, 2014), and D’Artagnan Joly (171, 2017) never received NHL contracts as sixth round selections, .