The Calgary Flames have signed one of their top prospects, inking Connor Zary to a three-year entry-level contract. Zary was the 24th overall selection in October’s draft and is currently playing with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
After spending the last three years with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL, it’s not clear what lies next for Zary after the WJC is complete. With this contract he will be eligible to take part in Flames training camp and even be assigned to the AHL, should the WHL still not be up and running by the time the minor league kicks off its season in February. The question now becomes if Zary is ready for professional hockey, though he certainly looked like he didn’t have much more to prove at the WHL level last season.
In 57 games with Kamloops, Zary scored 38 goals and 86 points, regularly dominating the competition. Due to his late-September birthday, he was one of the oldest players eligible for the 2020 draft and is already 19. By the time the 2021-22 season rolls around, Zary will be old enough to suit up in the AHL even if everything is back to normal. With that in mind, perhaps the AHL is actually the best place for him anyway. The Flames will certainly get a better chance to evaluate his game in person when (and perhaps if) he joins training camp.