The 19-year-old British Columbia native was a fifth-round pick of the Flames at the 2022 draft, selected 155th overall. In his draft year, he potted 18 goals and 49 points, placing him as the second-highest scorer on a low-scoring Tri-City Americans team. This past season, the rangy six-foot-four Bell took a step forward in terms of effectiveness, finishing with 25 points and 64 points in 55 games.
Bell’s uptick in production combined with the emergence of 2023 second-rounder Lukas Dragicevic helped Tri-City return to the WHL’s playoffs last spring, and now Bell earns his entry-level deal as a reward for his improved play.
Set to turn 20 in just a few days, Bell will have the opportunity to begin his professional career with the Calgary Wranglers in the AHL this fall. He has already played in two AHL games, and has scored his first pro point.
It’s always a difficult task for junior scorers to translate their production against their peers to production against seasoned pros, and that’ll be the major test for Bell in 2023-24.
Bell does have a physical game and impressive size to boot, meaning he could still stand to make an impact as a pro even if he doesn’t end up lighting the lamp as frequently as he did in the WHL.