June 23 2011 11:48PM
Earlier during draft week I went through a few prospects I thought might be interesting for the Calgary Flames to look at with their two second round picks. Well, as it stands right now (and things could change, as we know), the Flames hold the 13th overall pick. Who might fall to them there? And who might be a good fit? I've got my ideas as we start wishing away again...
Sven Bartschi, Left Wing, Portland (WHL)
Of the offensively gifted forwards, Bartschi might be the guy to fall out of the top ten, even though many believe he could be gone much, much earlier than 13. I think there' s a chance he's still around when Calgary picks, because there are some who shy away from guys with high numbers on really good teams. The Winterhawks were a straight up powerhouse, so it's fair to think maybe a strong team boosted Bartschi's numbers. Maybe, maybe not; I still think he's a very gifted and very skilled forward, who also thinks the game really well. He may leave some to be desired in his own end, but that's what development is for...a guy with his kind of skill really intrigues me.
Oscar Klefbom, Defence, Farjestad (SEL)
Klefbom played his regular season among men in the Swedish Elite League, so his numbers as a 17 year old aren't going to impress anybody. His coming out party was the Under-18 Championships when he was outstanding, showing his impressive mobility along with his very good frame. One thing Klefbom needs to do is exert his 6'3, 200 pound frame a little more, because if he did, he'd be even more intimidating. As it is, I saw him play his angles really well and he has confidence to skate the puck out of his own end under pressure, and do so effectively. I see Klefbom as a very, very good NHL defender; if he's still around, Calgary might have to think hard about taking this kid.
Rocco Grimaldi, Centre, US National Development Team (USHL)
Rocco has been one of the most talked about guys in Minnesota, mostly because he's so damn skilled and so damn talented...but it's going to be tough for any GM to overlook his pint sized stature. The dude is just 5'6 and 163 pounds, and it is going to deter some teams from giving him a look where he would go even if he was average height. In all reality, Grimaldi is as skilled a forward as there is in the draft, and from what I've heard, there's not a more competitive guy you'll play with or against. He is a magician with the puck, he makes stupid looking plays at high speed, because he's also an incredible skater and he never dogs it on a play. People compare him to Martin St. Louis for a reason, and I hope the Flames don't pass him over just because he's small.
Mark Scheifete, Centre, Barrie (OHL)
One thing the Calgary Flames have lacked on a far-too-regular basis over the last few years is a true presence in front of the opposing teams net. Well, there's no better player in this year's draft better at driving, and wreaking havoc in front of, the goaltender of the other team. A very quick and competitive forward, Scheifete put up 75 points with the Colts last season and was then one of Canada's best forwards at the U18 World Championships. I like that he's an absolute beast when driving the net and is almost impossible to knock off the puck when heading to tough areas; that's something this team could use an infusion of.
Mark McNeill, Centre, Prince Albert (WHL)
Here's the guy a ton of FlamesNation readers want to see picked when Calgary goes to the podium at #13, and I can see why. A very good all round player, McNeill has a lot of similarities to Scheifete, minus the skating ability the former has. McNeill is a big boy, weighing at 204 pounds on a 6'1 frame, and he plays a power game. But he can also play it both ways, and in fact is a very adept penalty killer, meaning he fits the bill as a true "all situations player". It's not like he can't score either, as he put up 81 points in 70 games last year.
Victor Rask, Centre, Leksand (Sweden)
Kent and I spoke about Victor on FlamesNation radio Thursday night, and we spoke of him as one of the biggest sleepers in the draft. As good a skater as you'll find among these kids, Rask also has crazy good puck skills, something that allows him to seemingly go right through defenders, according to scouts who have watched him play. He's a smart player, especially offensively, but scouts rave about the improvement they've seen in his defensive game, something that continues to be an area of work. He may not be the best pick at 13, but if the Flames had another first round pick (oh, say around 16), Rask might be an interesting proposition.