Howse signs with Flames

Chilliwack Bruins forward Ryan Howse has become the fifth player in franchise history to sign a contract with a National Hockey League club, inking a deal with the Calgary Flames.

Howse was selected by the Flames in the 2009 NHL entry draft, going in the third round (74th overall).

He follows in the skate-steps of Oscar Moller, Mark Santorelli, Nick Holden and Brandon Manning.

Moller was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings and Santorelli by the Nashville Predators. Holden and Manning signed as undrafted free agents with Columbus and Philadelphia.

Signing an NHL deal helps temper Howse’s disappointment over not making Team Canada’s squad for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. With little prior history with Hockey Canada, the Prince George native was in tough to make the squad, but being cut was still tough to take.

The 19-year-old saw his first Western Hockey League action during the 2006-07 season, logging five games with one goal, scored in his hometown.

He played 54 games as a 16-year-old in 2007-08, scoring 10 goals and 17 points. He had 31 goals in his draft year and nearly hit 50 last year, ending the season with 47.

This year, Howse already has 23 goals (in just 32 games), which leaves him five behind Kamloops Blazer Brendan Ranford for the league lead in lighting the lamp.

Howse and the Bruins are back on home ice New Years Eve, hosting Moose Jaw (7:30 p.m.).

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