The Abbotsford Heat‘s NHL parent club retained the rights to several alumni of the AHL team on Tuesday, while cutting ties with four others.
The Calgary Flames announced that they had extended qualifying offers to nine restricted free agents, thereby retaining the right to match any offer sheet they might receive from another club. Those players include forwards Mikael Backlund, Carter Bancks, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron and Greg Nemisz, and defencemen T.J. Brodie, Chris Breen, Chris Butler and Mark Cundari.
Of that group, only Butler – obtained via trade with the Buffalo Sabres two summers ago – has not spent time in Abbotsford. Backlund and Brodie have established themselves as full-time NHLers, while Bancks, Bouma, Byron, Nemisz, Breen and Cundari spent the bulk of last season in the AHL.
The Flames elected not to extend qualifying offers to four restricted free agents: forwards Akim Aliu, Bryan Cameron and Gaelan Patterson, and blueliner Brady Lamb.
Cameron and Patterson broke in together with the Heat in 2010-11, but both spent most last season in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies.
Aliu, a physical winger, carved out a heartwarming narrative in 2011-12, resurrecting his career with the Heat and scoring two goals in two games with the Flames, his first career NHL contests. But he was less productive in 2012-13 while struggling to overcome nagging injuries – his AHL goal-scoring fell from 10 to four (he played 42 games both seasons), and he went pointless in five games with Calgary.
Lamb, who signed a one-year deal as a free agent out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the spring of 2012, found himself a healthy scratch on several occasions and registered two goals and seven assists in 50 games last season.