The Calgary Flames have signed defenseman Carl-Johan Lerby to a two-year entry-level contract. Lerby was an undrafted international free agent, who has played in the SHL the last several seasons and will remain there for the 2019-20 campaign. The Flames expect Lerby to come to North America in 2020-21.
Adding Lerby, 21, while still leaving him in Sweden to develop for another season is a play right out of the Edmonton Oilers handbook. The team did the same thing with Joel Persson last year, and extended him with a one-year $1MM deal in January after he continued to develop. That’s the same outcome the Flames are likely hoping for with Lerby, who broke out this season after finally getting some consistent playing time in the SHL.
The left-handed defenseman has apparently grown in recent years and is now listed at 6’0″ 182-lbs, removing any real concerns about his size at the next level. He recorded 21 points in 47 games this season with the Malmo Redhawks and will likely play an even bigger role for the team next year. That will mean the Flames don’t have total control over his development and deployment, but they will be able to get their hands on him in 2020-21 at which point he should be ready for North American professional hockey.