The Flames assigned defenseman Nick DeSimone to the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers on Sunday, per a team announcement. As Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson points out, DeSimone finds himself on the outside looking in for a regular spot in the Flames lineup, and with the team not feeling a need to carry an extra defender during their upcoming homestand, the veteran blueliner will head back to the minors for the time being.
Returning DeSimone to the Wranglers also delays when he’ll need to clear waivers again to return to the AHL, which could be an impactful decision. The 29-year-old has been a healthy scratch in three straight contests but was impactful in over eight prior games, serving in a third-pairing role but seeing some offensive zone usage that translated to good possession numbers. An undrafted free agent signing by the Sharks after three seasons at Union College, DeSimone has played for three NHL organizations but has only appeared in the big leagues for the Flames.
After four full pro seasons spent mainly with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate and a brief stop with the AHL’s Rochester Americans while on loan from the Vegas Golden Knights in late 2021, DeSimone signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Flames that summer. He again spent the entire season in the minors with the AHL’s Stockton Heat.
Still, he opted to re-sign with the Flames after reaching unrestricted free agency, signing a two-year contract with a salary guarantee of $350K in both seasons. It’s proved to be a wise choice, as DeSimone tied his AHL career-high with 46 points in 65 games with the Wranglers last season and earned a handful of call-ups, which resulted in him making his NHL debut.
DeSimone passed through waivers unclaimed at the beginning of this season but was called up to the Flames less than a month in. He’s been on the roster since his initial recall on November 3, aside from a one-day paper transaction that saw him briefly head back to the Wranglers two days later.
The right-shot defender recorded his first NHL point in his season debut against the Kraken on November 4 and managed to record four assists across eight games, although he averaged just 12:50 per game when in the lineup. However, he was far from a defensive liability, posting a 56.5% Corsi share at even strength. That’s much improved from his 47.9% mark in four games last season.
As he has been on the Flames’ roster for less than 30 days and played less than 10 games since clearing waivers at the beginning of the campaign, he does not need to clear them again to return to the AHL at this time. He’ll suit up for the Wranglers again in the coming days, with whom he has four assists and a +4 rating in six games.