Flames Forced to Renegotiate With Prospect After NHL Denies Entry-Level Contract

Graham Montgomery
March 18, 2024  (10:04 PM)

Calgary Flames general manager Craig Conroy at a media availability
Photo credit: Sportsnet

The Calgary Flames attempted to sign NCAA free agent Sam Morton to an entry-level contract today, but the deal was rejected by the NHL.

NHL League Office Rejects Flames Contract For Prospect Forward

The NHL has rules for basically everything, including contracts. When it comes to entry-level contracts, teams are fairly limited in how they can structure them. In this case, the Flames attempted to sign Morton, who is 25. However, one of the restrictions on ELCs is that the player can not be more than 24 years old. As a result, the NHL voided this contract from the Flames.
We're talking about the #Flames signing NCAA forward Sam Morton to a contract, only for his ELC to get rejected by the NHL.
However, the story does not end there. As the team was still interested in signing Morton, they had to find another way to make it work.

Flames Sign NCAA Free Agent To One-Year Contract

The team ultimately gave the 25-year-old a very similar deal. It ended up being a one-year, two-way deal with a cap hit of 925k, essentially the same terms he would have gotten in the ELC. The Flames announced that Morton would be joining the Wrangles for the remainder of the season, but his contract does not officially kick in until 2024-25.
Sam Morton will be joining the Wranglers on an ATO for the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign.
Morton has never looked like much of an NHL prospect until this season when he scored 24 goals in 37 games for the University of Minnesota Mankato. His previous career high in goals at the NCAA level was 9. He hasn't scored more than 24 goals in a season at any level since 2017-18 when he scored 29 in 58 games in the BCHL, a junior A league serving British Columbia.
All heart, all guts, all speed, all Sam Morton!!!