The Calgary Flames’ fifth-round pick from 2022 was honoured today as the WHL’s Player of the Month for December after leading the league with 21 points in the month of December. Take a look at some of his highlights from the month here:
How did Bell get here?
With the Flames holding the 155th overall pick inside the fifth round of the 2022 NHL Draft, general manager Brad Treliving selected the winger. Parker Bell, a product of Estevan, Saskatchewan weighed in at 6’4” and 192 pounds back in July at the time of the draft and has come into this calendar season with a slightly larger frame, clocking in at 6’4” and 200 pounds.
As noted by scouts at the time of his selection in July, one of the main upsides of his skillset is his skilled and intelligent play along the boards. He has a tendency to wait for an opposing defender to arrive, follows up that anticipation with a quick fake and then has the ability to quickly turn in the opposite direction. Under pressure, he shows a subtle finesse by being able to attack the inside, leading to finding teammates on inside lanes. His playmaking ability is certainly showcased in this regard.
Bell’s defensive impact comes in the same manner, particularly on account of his motor and intelligence. Bell has the speed and tenacity to outwork opposing players in pursuit of the puck. He’s also great at anticipating reads in his own end by virtue of his ability to support down low.
Through 32 games thus far with the Tri-City Americans in the WHL, Bell has notched 15 goals and 27 assists for a total of 42 points on the year so far. This total has kept him just two points shy of defender Lukas Dragicevic for the team lead in scoring. The Tri-City Americans are currently ranked third in the U.S. Division with a 16–16–1–1 record, on account of overtime and shootout losses being separately tallied.
Bell completed his draft year in with a point-per-game rate of 0.77 through 64 games. Being under a point-per-game pushed him down the draft rankings to where the Flames were able to grab him in the fifth round.
However, this season, he’s in the midst of playing at a 1.31 point-per-game pace and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. He has been producing consistently all season long, and has put up almost the same numbers as Lucas Ciona despite being a year younger and slightly smaller. If Bell keeps this pace up, expect him to earn himself an entry-level contract from the Flames.
What’s next for Bell?
Bell projects at best to be a middle-six scoring winger in the NHL if all things break his way, but being a fifth-round pick, he will need to show that he can consistently produce beyond junior hockey. He likely plays next season in the WHL before making the jump to the AHL the year after if all goes well.