We’re a week away from September and Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving has some business left to complete. In addition to contracts for restricted free agents Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane, 2019 first round selection Jakob Pelletier has yet to be signed.

There’s no real urgent to sign first round picks, but historically Treliving has signed his first rounders pretty quickly:

  • Sam Bennett signed the week after he was drafted in 2014.
  • Matthew Tkachuk signed a couple weeks after the 2016 NHL Draft.
  • Juuso Valimaki signed about three weeks after the 2017 NHL Draft.

The RFA goings-on likely contribute to any potential Pelletier delays – all of Treliving’s attention is firmly on getting his NHL roster players sewn up and since Pelletier is a distinct longshot for NHL time this season, he’s on the back burner.

But while Pelletier plays the waiting game, the market for his services has become abundantly clear.

What will his contract look like?

For the most part, first round picks tend to sign in accordance to a general pattern. Super high picks get lots of potential performance bonuses. Lower picks get less bonuses, or none at all. Every first rounder tends to get the rookie maximum salary ($925,000) with the maximum signing bonus ($92,500).

So far, 14 first round picks have signed their entry level deals.

Pick Player Team Perf. Bonuses (Avg.)
1 Jack Hughes NJD $2.850m
2 Kaapo Kakko NYR $2.650m
3 Kirby Dach CHI $2.500m
4 Bowen Byram COL $2.500m
6 Moritz Seider DET $0.850m
7 Dylan Cozens BUF $0.850m
8 Philip Broberg EDM $0.850m
11 Victor Soderstrom ARZ $0.660m
19 Lassi Thomson OTT $0.425m
20 Ville Heinola WPG $0.319m
22 Tobias Bjornfot LAK $0.238m
23 Simon Holmstrom NYI $0.000m
25 Connor McMichael WSH $0.000m
26 Jakob Pelletier CGY ???
27 Nolan Foote TBL $0.000m

Based on everyone else’s deals, most likely Pelletier won’t get any performance bonuses put into his contract.

When will Pelletier sign?

Under the CBA, the Flames have to sign Pelletier by June 1, 2021 or else he goes back into the draft. Barring anything crazy happening, that won’t be an issue.

Pelletier is 18 now and turns 19 in March. If he signs before the end of December, his ELC will be able to slide twice. If he signs following his junior season, his ELC will be able to slide once. Either way, because he won’t be 20 until March 2021 he’s not eligible to play in the American Hockey League until the 2021-22 season – meaning that unless he makes the Flames out of either of the next two camps, which is a longshot, he’ll be headed back to junior anyway.

There’s no time pressure, but it seems fairly likely that the Flames will try to get Pelletier signed during training camp for no other reason as to get the deal done and to cross something off their to-do list. The contract won’t change whether it’s signed now or in another year.

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