Maine Hockey Journal

Gillies signs with NHL Flames

South Portland native Jon Gillies signed an three-year entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames. (PHOTO: Calgary Flames)

South Portland native Jon Gillies signed an three-year entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames. (PHOTO: Calgary Flames)

In less than 24 hours another Maine native signed with the Calgary Flames.

The Flames announced Wednesday they signed goaltender and South Portland native Jon Gillies to a three-year entry-level contract.

On Tuesday, the Flames signed Kennebunk native Garnet Hathaway to a two-year entry-level contract.

Gillies played 38 games for Providence College this season where he led Hockey East with a 2.01GAA and a .930 save percentage. He was selected Hockey East Goaltender of the Year and was named 2015 Frozen Four Most Valuable Players in leading Providence to its first NCAA National Championship in men’s hockey.

“It has been an indescribable honor to wear the Friar jersey and represent Providence College for the past three years,” Gillies said in a press release. “I am forever a Friar and that makes me one of the luckiest people in the world.”

Over Gillies three seasons with Providence, he recorded 60 wins with a 2.08 goals-against average, and .931 save percentage and 13 shutouts in 108 games.

“Jon is coming off a tremendous junior season at Providence College culminating in the national championship,” said Flames GM Brad Treliving. “We’re able to let him enjoy that for a couple days and now we’ll get him up here to be around for the playoff run that I think will be beneficial.”

Gillies, who was drafted by the Flames in the third round (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, joined Calgary for its Game 1 series opener in Vancouver where he’ll be the third goaltender behind Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo.

“As we see with a lot of young guys being in the atmosphere and getting to know his teammates and the staff,” said Treliving. “It’s a great experience.”

It won’t be an easy road to the NHL for Gillies with the Flames having several goalie prospects gunning for the same position as Gillies. Joni Ortio is in his second season with the Flames’ AHL club in Glens Falls, NY. Mason McDonald, drafted in the second round (34th overall) in last year’s draft, is currently in his second season with Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL.

“We all know how important the position is,” said Treliving. “I think a big reason why we’re able to get in (the playoffs) is due to the strength of our goaltending position.”

“Jon and Mason are young guys,” he added. “The position usually has a long runway in terms of getting to the point of establishing yourself at the NHL level. When we look at our reserve list, we think we have real good depth at a real important position.”

It has been a well-traveled road for Gillies to get his NHL contract. Gillies played most of his youth hockey out of state. He played one season at North Yarmouth Academy but moved on to Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut the following season. As a high school junior, Gillies made the move to Indiana where he spent two seasons in USHL with the Indiana Ice while attending Cathedral High School.

In addition to his national championship, he earned a goal medal for the USA at the World Junior tournament in Ufa, Russia in 2013.

“I love his IQ,” said Treliving. “A lot of people don’t think as a goaltender your hockey sense is not an area where some people look at, but for me it’s one of the most important questions because the ability to make plays and see things develop and anticipate them.”

Treliving was most impressed by Gillies size at 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, in addition to his hockey sense.

“What jumps out to you is his size,” he said. “Size can sometimes be deceiving. This guy is athletic. It’s a unique combination for a guy that big to be that athletic. He has long limbs, but he doesn’t rely on just being big. He’s a great athlete, so he is able to move, the athleticism around the crease.”

“We sort of challenged him at development camp to go back and really carry a team, and he did that,” said Treliving. “They had a good team in Providence. A couple weeks ago there was questions whether they would get into the tournament. I think he went through the experience of carrying a team through to a championship.”

“That’s a great experience.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login