The Calgary Flames have added an interesting prospect to their minor league ranks, signing Justin Kirkland to a one-year, two-way contract according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports. Kirkland became an unrestricted free agent when the Nashville Predators decided not to issue him a qualifying offer last week. The deal is worth $700K at the NHL level.
Kirkland, 22, was a third-round pick of the Predators five years ago and has played in their minor league system for the past three seasons. In 2018-19 he recorded 30 points in 75 games, but failed to get a sniff at the next level. The 6’3″ forward is a former WHL champion with the Kelowna Rockets, a team that also included Flames forward Dillon Dube and several other NHL players (Leon Draisaitl and Josh Morrissey immediately come to mind).
There’s no guarantee that Kirkland ever becomes more than a depth player at the minor league level, but at his young age there’s very little risk in finding out. The Flames will have to pass him through waivers in order to loan him to the Stockton Heat, but without any NHL experience that shouldn’t be much of an issue.