The Calgary Flames have agreed to terms with center Derek Ryan and right wing Austin Czarnik on multi-year deals, per a report from Sportsnet‘s Elliotte Friedman. Per reports, Ryan’s deal is for three years with a $3.125 million average annual value, while Czarnik signed for two years with a $1.25 million annual cap hit.
Ryan, 31, previously spent three seasons in the Carolina Hurricanes organization under new Flames head coach Bill Peters after taking the scenic route to North America pro. Following three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs in the Western Hockey League (under Peters), he spent time with the University of Alberta Golden Bears and pro teams in Austria and Sweden. His signing gives the Flames additional center depth, particularly from the right side. The opportunity to reunite with his long-time coach, as well as the chance to play in the Flames’ top nine, undoubtedly played a part in him landing in Southern Alberta. In 80 games with the Hurricanes last season Ryan had 15 goals and 38 points playing primarily as their third line center.
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Ryan likely slots in as the Flames’ third line center, creating some competition for sophomore Mark Jankowski at that position. Jankowski made the Flames roster last season following a strong first AHL campaign, but faded down the stretch. In addition to adding scoring depth, adding Ryan likely serves to push Jankowski and further his long-term development.
Czarnik, 25, joins the Flames after three seasons with the Boston Bruins organization. A right wing that can also play center, Czarnik was a college star with Miami University before joining the Bruins. He’s established himself as a very strong American Hockey League player, but he’s only played 59 big-league games during his time with the Bruins and was somewhat crowded out by the most established forward prospects in their pipeline. He had 4 points in 10 NHL games with the Bruins last season, along with 69 points in 64 games with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.
He joins a Flames club that was very lean on productive bottom six players last season. The Flames had among the fewest goals from their bottom six of any clubs in the league, something that put a lot of pressure on their top two lines. Czarnik serves as a low-cost, low-risk addition in an effort to remedy that situation.
The signings give the Flames five right handed players that can take face-offs: Ryan, Czarnik, Elias Lindholm, Curtis Lazar and Troy Brouwer. They also provide new power play guru Geoff Ward with additional right shot players to work with; the Flames’ right shot depth was so shallow last season that they had to heavily rely on Brouwer, a bottom six player, on the power play.
Including the additions of Ryan and Czarnik, the Flames have 16 players penciled onto their NHL roster (1 goalie, 5 defensemen and 10 forwards) and approximately $20.1 million in available cap space. They still need to come to terms on new contracts for restricted free agents Jankowski, Garnet Hathaway, Elias Lindholm, Brett Kulak and Noah Hanifin.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.