April 29, 2016

Ryan Bast

For a player who was never drafted, there certainly was a lot of dispute over who owned his NHL rights.

The six-foot-three, 200 pound defenseman spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League establishing himself a physical presence on the blue line. He was very aggressive hitter who cleared the front of the net with authority. He had little offensive upside and needed to work on his skating, perhaps why he was passed over in the NHL draft.

Bast turned pro in 1996-97 by signing on as an independent player in the minor leagues. By the end of that season he moved his way to Saint John of the AHL. He was a nice fit with Calgary's farm team, and was brought back for the 1997-98 season. He helped the Flames farmhands reach the Calder Cup finals but they would lose the series to the Philadelphia Phantoms - the Philadelphia Flyers farm team.

Impressed with Bast's play, the Flyers made the move to sign Bast to a two-way NHL contract in the summer of 1998. But Calgary cried foul, claiming he was their property. It was decided that since Bast only had a contract with Saint John and not Calgary, he was an unrestricted free agent by NHL terms.

He was free to join the Flyers, but there was another catch. It was ruled that Bast's contract violated NHL rules regarding the rookie salary cap. The whole matter was eventually resolved when the NHL allowed the Flyers to keep Bast by trading a draft pick to Calgary as compensation.

Bast would play only two games for the Flyers - recording one assist and no penalty minutes. Otherwise he was strictly used with the Phantoms farm team for two seasons.

Bast would continue a long career in the minor leagues, never returning to the NHL. In total he logged 635 games between the AHL, IHL and ECHL.

Bast retired in 2005. He moved back home near Edmonton and played senior hockey with the Stony Plain Eagles while working in Alberta's oil fields.

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