The Calgary Flames have won the sweepstakes for one of the top college free agents, signing Connor Mackey to a one-year entry-level contract. The deal will kick in for the 2020-21 season, and gives the Flames another potential NHL option on defense. The team has also officially announced the signing of Colton Poolman, first reported earlier this week.
Mackey, 23, is the real prize here, as several NHL teams were pursuing him following another outstanding season at Minnesota State University-Mankato. In fact, Mackey was one of the most sought-after names a year ago before deciding to return for his junior season. The 6-foot-2 defenseman is a polished two-way player, who recorded 24 points in 36 games this season and was just recently named a WCHA First Team All-Star.
There are some who believe that Mackey can become a top-four NHL defenseman, given his puck-moving ability and tenacity in his own end. That dream may still be a distant thought, but there’s no doubt that the Flames have added real depth today by bringing in Mackey and Poolman.
The latter is an interesting prospect in his own right. The younger brother of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman, Colton captained the University of North Dakota as a senior and recorded 17 points in 31 games.
For a Flames organization that has spent several draft picks to upgrade the NHL roster in recent years, while also graduating some of their young defensemen to the top level, there was a real need for minor league depth on the back end. Both Mackey and Poolman will have plenty of opportunity to show what they can do.
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