Turner Elson is still on the rise.
Passed over in June’s NHL entry draft, the Red Deer Rebels speedy forward was invited to the Calgary Flames rookie camp as a free agent, earned his way to main camp and on Thursday signed a three-year, two-way contract with the NHL club. The deal has an annual cap hit of $560,000 if and when Elson plays with the Flames.
According to Flames GM Jay Feaster, Elson has been on the club’s radar for some time.
“Turner Elson was a player we had on our draft list at this past summer’s draft, however, with only five selections in the seven rounds we were not able to land him at that time,” Feaster said in a press release. “Having him come to rookie camp and then participate in main camp and play a preseason game enabled our entire hockey operations department to evaluate him as a player and to get to know him as a person.
“There was no question that we wanted to add him to our organization and we are thrilled to have him under contract. He thinks the game very well and displays what we consider to be very good hockey sense. He also competes hard every shift and is responsible in all three zones. We look forward to monitoring his progress this year in the WHL.”
The five-foot-11, 175-pound winger is a late bloomer and defied the odds to earn a spot with the Rebels two years ago.
“He came in here as a 17-year-old camp invite and has done nothing but progress,” said Rebels GM/head coach Jesse Wallin. “He had to scratch and claw and fight to make our team that year and he did, and over the last two years he has gone from being a guy who made the team to being a real big part of it. I have no reason to believe that he won’t do that at the next level.
“He has a real passion and determination that overcomes a lot of odds. He’s just one of those guys who seems to always find a way.”