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Hitmen captain Kastelic signs contract with NHL Senators

The Calgary Hitmen's Mark Kastelic celebrates after scoring on Lethbridge Hurricanes goaltender Carl Tetachuk late in the third to move the Hitmen ahead of the Hurricanes in their WHL playoff game in Calgary on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The Hurricanes went on to score in OT to stretch the series to a seventh game. Gavin Young/Postmedia
The Calgary Hitmen's Mark Kastelic celebrates after scoring on Lethbridge Hurricanes goaltender Carl Tetachuk late in the third to move the Hitmen ahead of the Hurricanes in their WHL playoff game in Calgary on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The Hurricanes went on to score in OT to stretch the series to a seventh game. Gavin Young/Postmedia

After filling the net for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, Mark Kastelic has scored an NHL contract.

Kastelic, who climbed to third on the Hitmen franchise goal charts, scribbled his signature Thursday on a three-year, entry-level deal with the Ottawa Senators, the club that selected him in the fifth round of the draft last summer.

“We are very excited for Mark as today signifies the start of his pro career,” said Hitmen general manager Jeff Chynoweth in a statement. “As a two-year captain, he set the gold standard for the Hitmen both on and off the ice leading by example. His game took great strides during his five years in Calgary, and he is very deserving of this opportunity with the Senators. We wish him nothing but success as he prepares to take the next step in his career but also know he has left a valuable lasting legacy on our dressing room.”

Kastelic, 21, officially graduated from the junior ranks when the remainder of this season — including playoffs and the Memorial Cup tournament — was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The right-handed centre from Phoenix, Ariz., spent five winters with the Hitmen, totalling 126 goals and 235 points in 321 regular-season games. Only Brad Moran and Pavel Brendl have tickled more twine on behalf of the local WHL squad.

“The entire organization is extremely proud of Mark for signing his first professional contract with the Senators,” said Hitmen head coach Steve Hamilton. “Mark has grown and developed with our organization, and we are very excited to watch him take on the challenge of professional hockey. He has earned his contract through tireless efforts and leadership, on and off the ice.”

Kastelic notched 38 goals and 30 assists in 58 outings during the truncated 2019-20 campaign.

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