Calgary Flames Sign Top Prospect Return From Lindholm Deal

He was the top prospect that the Calgary Flames received from the Vancouver Canucks in the Elias Lindholm trade earlier this year. Now, while leading the entire Ontario Hockey league in assists, playmaking defenseman Hunter Brzustewicz has officially been signed to his entry-level contract. 

As announced by the Flames, it's a three-year ELC with a $950,000 AAV.

The Canucks got a steal in the 3rd round of the 2023 NHL Draft with the selection of Brzustewicz, who was expected to go a full round earlier. And he hasn't disappointed with his play with the OHL's Kitchener Rangers, posting an eye-popping 73 assists in 62 games this season, along with 12 goals, for 85 points. He also has an equally impressive plus/minus rating of +32. 

His 51 assists in 68 games the year before is what captured the eyes of scouts and had him pegged as a likely second-rounder. Many defensive questions have been mitigated this season, as evidenced by his +32 rating. 

Now the Flames will garner the fruits of that bountiful draft pick by Vancouver. 

With six games to play, the 19-year-old has an outside shot at surpassing 100 points, which would be the highest for a blueliner in the OHL this century, though 2024 draft-eligible D-man Zayne Parekh has an even better shot, with 87 points and seven games remaining. 

If the Kitchener OHL season ends soon enough, Brzustewicz would be eligible to join the Calgary Wranglers of the AHL on an amateur try-out for the rest of their season (provided they're still alive). 

Entering next season still at age 19, he could play with the Wranglers in the AHL or head back to the OHL, though the latter is much less likely.

Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports