The Curious Case of Tod Button

Ryan Pike
May 14 2012 06:02PM

 

 

Among the more interesting mysteries surrounding the modern Calgary Flames can be found in its scouting ranks. Originally hired as an amateur scout in the summer of 1997 by then-general manager Al Coates, Tod Button soon moved up the ranks and became the head of Flames scouting in the fall of 2001. By sheer coincidence, the person who promoted him was his brother, Craig.

Now, despite being the primary consistent architect of what's been derided by hockey media folks as one of the weaker prospect bases in the league, Tod Button remains the head of Flames amateur scouting. Last summer's much-ballyhooed shake-up of the scouting department had one major impact on Button: he was placed directly underneath assistant general manger John Weisbrod (the new head of all scouting), but remained the head honcho of organizations drafting department.

To understand how, exactly, Tod Button still has a job with the Calgary Flames, let alone the same job he's had for over a decade, it's worthwhile to delve into his drafting record.

The Resume

Since he became head of amateur scouting in 2001, Button has overseen the drafting of 76 players at the NHL Entry Draft. If the measure of a scouting staff is how well they can find players that are able to make the jump to the professional ranks, then the best measure of Button's worth would be how many of those 76 have took the big step into the pro ranks.

To date, 37 of Button's draftees have turned pro with the Flames organization (including Sven Baertschi and Max Reinhart). That's 48.7% of drafted players. If you exclude the last two drafts, as those players are just becoming eligible for full-time pro hockey, then the “conversion rate” jumps to 53.8%. This isn't all that exciting a figure, as it indicates that just under half of all the players that Button drafted never played a single minute for any of its affiliated pro teams, including AHL and ECHL clubs.

That said, Button does seem to be in the midst of a very good tear in this respect, during which half of the drafted players have turned pro with the organization in 5 of 6 recent drafts.

  • 2004 Draft: 10 players drafted, 6 turned pro (Kris Chucko, Brandon Prust, Dustin Boyd, Aki Seitsonen, Adam Pardy and Adam Cracknell)
  • 2005 Draft: 8 players drafted, 7 turned pro (Matt Pelech, Gord Baldwin, Dan Ryder, J.D. Watt, Kevin Lalande, Matt Keetley and Brett Sutter)
  • 2007 Draft: 5 players drafted, 3 turned pro (Mikael Backlund, John Negrin and Keith Aulie)
  • 2008 Draft: 7 players drafted, 5 turned pro (Greg Nemisz, Mitch Wahl, Lance Bouma, T.J. Brodie and Ryley Grantham)
  • 2009 Draft: 6 players drafted, 3 turned pro (Ryan Howse, Joni Ortio and Gaelan Patterson).

After reading this list of draft picks, an immediate thought is that there aren't a whole lot of big-time impact NHLers drafted under Button's watch. Outside of Dion Phaneuf, whom the organization openly coveted, Mikael Backlund represents the only first-round pick to crack the everyday Flames line-up. However, all the first rounders but Tim Erixon turned pro with the club (and Erixon was moved for Roman Horak, who did), while Pelech and Chucko struggled due to injuries sustained after they were drafted. Hard to blame Button for that, especially with the reputation Darryl Sutter had in terms of being hands-on with choosing first round picks.

The Late Show

It's probably the later rounds where Button has sang for his supper, so to speak. Brandon Prust and Adam Pardy became regular NHL players while Lance Bouma and T.J. Brodie are arguably everyday Flames roster players heading into next season. John Negrin and Dustin Boyd went pro and then were traded for decent assets – Akim Aliu for Negrin, and the draft pick used to select NCAA standout Bill Arnold for Boyd. Brett Sutter became a capable pro for such a late pick, then was used to help acquire a very underrated Tom Kostopoulos.

This is also ignoring Button's contributions over the past two drafts. With no first or second round picks in 2010, Button seemingly ran the show at the draft. He used six picks to bring in a bunch of players from different sources, including Max Reinhart and Michael Ferland, who both could contend for roster spots in Calgary in a short while. Late 2011 pick Laurent Brossoit was just named the MVP of the WHL's playoffs, while John Gaudreau was a point-per-game player in his rookie season in the NCAA.

And of course 2011 first-rounder Sven Baertschi, chosen when the Flames staff was instructed to “work their list” at the draft, played a handful of games for Calgary and had a dominant season in the WHL.

In short, it appears that Tod Button has a job because the failure of the Calgary Flames to draft well in the first round wasn't held against him. This may have been because the general manager was more involved in those  picks than in the later rounds, where Button's scouting staff found a number of players that turned pro and became useful NHL players or at least became assets that could be moved for other pieces of the puzzle. The positive results of the past two drafts probably haven't hurt his stock within the organization either.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Kent Wilson
May 14 2012, 06:06PM
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To really grade the Flames scouting staff, we'd have to look at base rate success across the league in terms of turning kids pro and then turning them into useful NHLers.

It makes me wonder how much randomness there is in picking 17 year old kids and trying to project their abilities outward. It would be really interesting to see if any team consistently beats out the league average (or falls way behind) or if it's all just one big crap shoot.

Anyways, on topic, Button's last two drafts seem to have been decent and a move away from the days of picking coke machines and "guys who wear letters". We'll if that continues or not this year.

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#2 Colin
May 14 2012, 06:19PM
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Later round is always a crap shoot, so Button hasn't done a bad job IMO, with also picking pretty well the least out of pretty well all the teams, the amount of players going pro isn't bad either.

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#3 negrilcowboy
May 14 2012, 06:56PM
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take a look at the los angeles kings. brown,kopitar,doughty,king,bernier,quick ....

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#4 RexLibris
May 14 2012, 07:03PM
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@Kent Wilson

I have read several articles over the past two years on draft success and ranking each team across the league over the last five to ten years. The Flames, if I recall correctly, are nearer the bottom third of that ranking but not abysmally so.

As in most things, it depends on the criteria and the boundaries set for such an evaluation.

If one decides that a player selected becoming a professional player at any level in affiliation with the drafting club qualifies as a positive, while those outside that criteria are a negative, then the Flames, in my opinion, have had average success in keeping with the rest of the league.

If one looks at the quality of those players drafted and developed and the impact those players have had on the NHL, with special attention to those who have had an impact on the same team that drafted them, then that success rate would drop drastically.

Alter the criteria and you can get a vastly different picture based on the data. I know you know this I'm just including it for the sake of the conversation here.

The Detroit Red Wings have blown probably as many draft picks as the Flames and many others. It is only their spectacular successes that have them in the hallowed halls because the Flames successes have all been more pedestrian.

I don't think that the draft is entirely an exercise in random chance, but it does require a great deal of homework and some intuition or an ability to be able to read people and speculate on their strengths and weaknesses. An understanding of the mathematical analyses of their performance is a necessity now as well.

All that aside, fans are disappointed when a draft pick fails because, in my opinion, we place too much faith on the system and too much pressure on the individual.

These are young men, first and foremost, and trying to determine what a full-grown adult will become five or ten years into the future is difficult enough, not to mention what the chances of success are for what is only just a legal adult of 18.

Here are the thirty teams ranked from 1st to 30th in drafting success based on the number of picks from 2001 to 2011:

MTL 21.6%

BOS 21.1

BUF 20.7

COL 18

CHI 18

PIT 17.5

SJS 17.1

PHI 16.6

NSH 16.4

CLB 18 (not sure how this one ranks lower, typo?)

TML 16

LAK 15.2

WAS 14.6

ATL 13.7

DET 13.5

MIN 13.3

EDM 13.3

ANA 12.8

DAL 12.8

STL 12.8

OTT 12.6

CGY 12.2

NYR 11.9

VAN 11.8

PHX 11.7

FLA 11.2

NYI 10.6

CAR 10.3

TBL 6.6 (big drop off)

NJD 5.2

As with any stat, I don't think tells the whole story, and one can always question some of the rankings, but the link to the article is here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/744844-2011-nhl-draft-ranking-each-teams-draft-success-over-the-last-10-years#/articles/744844-2011-nhl-draft-ranking-each-teams-draft-success-over-the-last-10-years

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#5 Colin.S
May 14 2012, 07:05PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

take a look at the los angeles kings. brown,kopitar,doughty,king,bernier,quick ....

Not quite sure what you are implying, Brown, Kopitar, Doughty and Bernier were all first round picks, something that was being taken care of by Sutter rather than Button and Sutter did a terrible job with his 1st rounders. King and Quick are the later rounders (4th and 3rd respectively). Than again Button may have found some good later rounders in Broissot and Ferland as well.

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#7 negrilcowboy
May 14 2012, 07:16PM
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the kings and the manchester monarch rosters are chalk full of draft choices. the flames selection of flat tires is not limited to first rounders exclusively. many mid and late rounders were questionable at the time, as well as today.

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#8 febreze
May 14 2012, 08:48PM
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Mismanagement of a team's NHL roster can also lead to more of a team's picks making it to the show. If a team makes poor moves which leads to holes needing to be filled in their roster then they'll try to use guys in their system to plug those holes. Trickling down through their system they might sign guys who probably shouldn't be pro to fill the holes created on the the farm.

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#9 RexLibris
May 14 2012, 08:59PM
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A lot of a team's draft history has to do with the direction given to the scouts by the GM and, by extension, management. Sutter gave Button a mandate of what to prioritize at the draft. Most GMs do unless they have specifically given the scouts free reign, something that is, from what I understand, fairly uncommon.

As an example, in Edmonton Stu MacGregor has had a decent track record to date at the draft. However, Tambellini has said that at the end of the day, if all things are equal between two prospects then he has the tie-breaker. Recently it has been suggested that MacGregor be given more leeway in his drafting selection and that the GM's involvement be limited to either acquiring or trading away draft picks.

Given Sutter's record of management style it is likely that he gave Button a shopping list of qualities to value and when Button arranged that list based on prospects that exhibited those qualities Sutter asked them to select the available prospects based on that ranking. Essentially that is what a draft is. Selection based on ranked, available, amateur talent. The fault lies not in poor luck because that affects every team's draft record over time. Luc Bourdon, Alexei Cherepanov, Jiri Fischer and Brian Berard are all examples of prospects wherein bad luck played a significant part in their impact on the selecting team.

Sutter bears some of the blame, in my opinion, as he was the one who prioritized the qualities. But the blame should also extend to ownership who chose, and were forced at times due to economic constraints, to forfeit the price of investment in prospect development. Again, looking at the Oilers as an example of budget constraints and their harmful effects on player development, they shared an AHL team with the Penguins in Wilkes-Barre Scranton and then spent several years understaffing their AHL teams.

Good news for the Canadiens though, it appears that if the Habs sign him he has to stay away from the draft this June. That should give the Canadiens the drafting edge over Toronto.

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#10 First Name Unidentified
May 14 2012, 10:29PM
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@RexLibris

No offense Rex, but the length of your posts makes them them ineffective. You are a great contributor on these sites. However, I just skip past them as soon as i see a RexLibris post.

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#11 Emir
May 14 2012, 11:01PM
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@ First name

Lame post man. Keep that to yourself.

I like the article, and it makes an interesting point. Lets see how this next draft goes, if it's like the last one we just might be restocking the shelves nicely.

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#12 Colin.S
May 14 2012, 11:23PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

the kings and the manchester monarch rosters are chalk full of draft choices. the flames selection of flat tires is not limited to first rounders exclusively. many mid and late rounders were questionable at the time, as well as today.

Other than the last two years, from 2004 and on the LA kings have had about 9-10 draft picks a year. The Flames on the other hand, drafted on average about 6-7 guys a year. Going back to some of Kents other articles, could have been other contributors, using the example of Dale Tallon when he was in Chicago, sometimes it was the sheer amount of picks and getting lucky. When you have an extra 3-4 picks a year you have a higher chance at finding a draft pick that pans out.

Right now Feaster is still working under what Sutter left him with, few draft picks, bad contracts and poor prospect pool. For example looking at the Nemisz draft, other than Wahl and Deilart all the guys drafted are 'big' guys and other than Brodie, the typical Sutter draft type of guy. In that draft we could have had an Ennis or Eberle, but that wasn't what Sutter prioritized, which is why I'm sure he didn't select Backlund, someone else must have really convinced him to take him.

The biggest thing is trying to accumulate as many picks as possible, the higher the better of course, but without the picks, you don't even give yourself the chance to get lucky on a late rounder.

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#13 Kent Wilson
May 14 2012, 11:36PM
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@First Name Unidentified

I think Rex is shooting to be an author around here rather than just a commenter ;)

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#14 KetchupKid
May 15 2012, 12:38AM
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To be honest, I almost always check out what Rex writes.

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#15 Arik
May 15 2012, 08:01AM
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@Kent Wilson

I've been curious about the effects of variance on the draft for a long time. It seems you can maximize your chances of success through a few things, but in the end you're pretty much hoping for the best.

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#16 Monaertchi
May 15 2012, 08:45AM
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I used to skip Rex's comments because they appeared too long, and then I read one. Now I generally always read what Rex has to say.

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#17 Tach
May 15 2012, 09:52AM
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Without knowing what is happening behind the scenes, I think it is way too hard to judge the work of a scout. It would seem to me that a scout's most important job is to accurately prognosticate on the future career path of a player. While guys like Chucko and Pelech appear to have hit their ceiling before becoming everyday NHL players, that could be exactly what the scouting staff said was the most likely outcome and Darryl drafted them anyways.

If I was evaluating my team's scouts, I wouldn't just look at the guys we drafted, I would also look at what my scouts were saying about guys drafted by other teams and whether they were right about their career arcs. For example, if my scouts had identified someone like an Adam Henrique as a good bet to become an NHL player, but I didn't have the draft slot to get him, then that is a plus. If my scouts were calling guys good pro prospects and they weren't even panning out on other teams, that would raise a red flag. None of us have that data.

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#18 Jeff In Lethbridge
May 15 2012, 10:21AM
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I can’t help but notice (in Rexlibris’ post/rankings) that the teams who ranked below the flames in draft history include many who made the playoffs this year… including the league leading Vancouver Canucks and the second place Rangers. Another interesting note on the list:Detroit, considered by many to be the measuring stick of good drafting, who landed right in the middle (ranked 15th).

Does this render the list (or metrics) useless?

Pffft. We’ve got Sven Bartschi, who will be eclipsing R.N.H. in an NHL League near you soon.

SIDE NOTES: My opinin - Keep Iggy but give him a break and give someone else the "C", so he can start playing a role he is, in these latter stages of his career, better suited for.

Anyone else thinking about the probable/fateful rematch between D. Sutter and Torterella? it's '03/'04 deja vu all over again...

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#19 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 10:26AM
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@ FN posse

First Name has a valid point. I do need to work on the brevity. Soul of wit and all that.

Kent is also right in that I'd love to be a regular (heck who am I kidding, even occasional) contributor.

I don't actually expect anyone to read what I'm posting. This is the internet, after all. Something about urinating into a Nor'Easter probably sums up what we all say on internet sites and the effect it has on our topic de jour.

Back to the topic at hand, Colin S and Arik I think are on the right track. The draft takes homework and acouting and all the leg work, but it also takes some luck. The more bullets in the chamber the higher the chance of success.

This is why rebuilding teams will often trade off everyone not nailed down for picks as it increases their odds of success.

When the topic of a Flames rebuild came up here though the first thing I said was that they need to improve their amateur scouting department, otherwise all the picks in the world won't help.

Had the Oilers rebuilt and kept Kevin Prendergast at the scouting helm I would probably have become a fan of cricket.

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#20 Kent Wilson
May 15 2012, 12:08PM
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@Tach

That's a good point. We can't know the Flames entire "draft board" each year nor how much their picks were affected by the guy in charge each summer. That's a lot of crucial info missing.

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#21 Kent Wilson
May 15 2012, 12:08PM
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@Tach

That's a good point. We can't know the Flames entire "draft board" each year nor how much their picks were affected by the guy in charge each summer. That's a lot of crucial info missing.

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#22 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 12:58PM
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hehehe, Kent did a double post.

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#23 nolan moore
May 15 2012, 01:22PM
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Now we have this weisbrod character in charge? Any proof of his background? From what I've seen he's like Feaster not much. Please beg Jim bill to run the team.

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#24 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 01:52PM
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@Nolan Moore

Kind of related, but Craig Button has his list out today and this name is in the #14 slot - Mark Jankiowski.

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=146518

He's Canadian born and plays in Providence so the link to Feaster and Weisbrod's East Coast college preferences are obvious and it should be noted that according to several media reporting the list that Button makes his list based on whom he believes will be selected by each team.

As for Weisbrod:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Weisbrod

"John Weisbrod is a retired American professional ice hockey center and currently serves as the Calgary Flames Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. In addition to his work in the NHL, Weisbrod also served as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of the Orlando Magic, of the National Basketball Association from 2004-2005."

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#25 Colin.S
May 15 2012, 03:23PM
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@RexLibris

So I just looked at CSS rankings, and they had Jankowski at 74 for mid term rank and 43 for final rank and now Craig has him in the top 15? That seems really high IMO, I'll wait until some more rankings come out, but if thats the teams target, I see us trading down to get him, low first/high second. Unless there is a sudden frenzy about this kid, I see no reason that he should be taken that high, if we are taking him, why not trade down, acquire more seconds/thirds or whatever and still take him. I like what I see in that kid from just the box car stats + size, plus he's a center.

No where to be found on iss rankings either.

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#26 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 04:42PM
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@ColinS

Yeah, that name kind of came out of nowhere for me too. That being said, Button did start boosting players like Teravainen and Reinhart a good two months before other scouting services began to rank them that highly as well.

I'm not saying Button is right here, or that the Flames are going to go off the board and select Jesse Niinimaki, er, I mean, Mark Jankowski, but I thought I'd bring it up in this forum and see what people had to say.

Read this article by Montreal scribe Pat Hickey (of whom I have heard some good things) and tell me what you think http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/prospect+Mark+Jankowski+stock+rises/6480393/story.html be patient, it takes a moment to load the page.

“He reminds me of John LeClair,” Button said from the Czech Republic, where he is covering the world under-18 championship for TSN. “I talked to people in the OHL and they liked his skill set, but he was 5-8. Since then, he’s gone through a growth spurt where he’s gained 6 or 7 inches in 18 months, and I think he’s still growing.”

John LeClair. I'm not saying..., I'm just saying...

And if the Flames are going to trade back I would target Buffalo. They pick first at #12 and again at #21 from Nashville. They have two second round picks at #42 and #44. If the Flames were to trade back from #14 to #21 and pick up their own second round pick (#44) in the deal while still able to draft "their guy" it would be a good (although remedial) move by Feaster.

Then again, maybe the Flames pick Derrick Pouliot at #14 and keep with the Winterhawks theme that is so popular these days.

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#27 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 04:56PM
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@jeffandellie

I think the sample size here is too small to really determine. The scope is ten years and when you consider that some propsects take three to five years to develop into NHL players (Adam Henrique was drafted in 2008, as an example) then much of the time of that scope is wasted with development before measurable results can be returned.

Consider that Edmonton is regarded as having a well-stocked cupboard of prospects, yet because those players were drafted late in that ten-year window and are still developing their draft record is middling. The early 2000s still haunt the team's draft record (Oh Slava Trukno, how I weep for you!)

In the interim scouting teams change, ownership issues arise and resolve, teams go through traditional cycles of achievement and decline.

Also, notice that the margin separating some of these teams is pretty thin. The difference between the Maple Leafs who are roughly at the 11th spot and the Ducks seven places below is only three percentage points. A rebuild, a windfall year, or a draft boon due to trade as in the Kessel deal, can all greatly affect the statistical outcome.

And yes, I noticed that John Tortorella and Darryl Sutter will meet again ("strike me down Darth Torts and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine"). Shame Darryl isn't as good for the microphones as Tortorella.

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#28 Colin.S
May 15 2012, 05:52PM
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@RexLibris

Again, at 14 I think thats still a real big risk, though something I can see feaster taking, however I like your idea, we could probably trade back from 14 to 21 and pick up easily one if not both of those second round picks.

The ducks traded back from 22 to 30 last year and picked up #39. Year before, kings went from 19 to 15 for the 59th pick. Canadiens also traded up in the 20s and gave up a mid 50s pick as well.

So we would at the least get a 2nd if not more, I'm thinking a 2nd and 3rd and if Feaster really negotiates both 2nds.

Actually, read ProSportsTransactions wrong, the Lightning have the 21st pick and the Sabres have the 23rd pick, the Sabres have 2 2nd rounders and the Lightning have 3, so either one makes a perfect trading partner.

Possible trades: To Lightning: Calgarys 1st(14th) To Calgary: Tampa's 1st (21st) + 2nd (37th)

or

To Sabres: Calgarys 1st(14th) To Calgary Sabres 1st (23rd) + 2nd (44th) + 7th rounder

Probably want a little more from the sabres, probably future picks

Here's a bit of a different one as well, we could trade down to 21/23 and then trade down again if we think Jankowski is still there at 31 and trade down with Columbus for their 31 + 45.

So if we trade with the lightning/sabres and then trade with the Jackets again, we could snag that kid and pick up two higher second rounders well if thats who we are high on and three second rounds may be just as well as our 15th anyways.

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#29 RexLibris
May 15 2012, 11:15PM
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@Colin.S

Both of those are entirely feasible, although I think the Buffalo trade is probably closer to a first and a second. Draft spots at the range you are speaking of (the difference between Tampa Bay's extra pick at 21 and Buffalo's at 23 isn't worth enough of a difference.

Here is a link to a chart assigning a numerical value to each draft pick.

http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2011/6/21/2235503/nhl-draft-value-pick-chart

While I would certainly agree that each deal has it's own unique details and overpayments or undervaluations regularly occur depending of the perception of assets trading hands, it is a good tool to measure the relative value of draft pick when shuffling them between teams.

The Flames at #14 have a value of 456. The 21st pick has a value of 336 while the 23rd a value of 315. The difference between those two is 120 and 141, respectively. The closest picks with either of those values both fall in either the early or late third round/early fourth round.

By that estimation the Flames pick in trading down with either Buffalo or Tampa Bay ought to be worth a 1st and a 3rd round pick based solely on straight numerical equivalency. If Feaster is good in negotiations and drives a bargain, and either Steve Yzerman or Darcy Regier have placed a very high value on the player available at the #14 spot then they will likely overpay by including one of their extra 2nd round picks, something they may "assign" less value to because of the team's surplus at that spot this June.

That is a lot of "ifs", though and to date Feaster has not shown an ability to negotiate well when placing a high value on draft selections. Even this trade deadline it is likely that he was offered draft picks for some of the Flames expiring UFAs and yet chose not to accept those trades (I am assuming this based on his comments afterwards and the historical market and price for expiring UFAs at the deadline).

Even if the Flames could only acquire a second third round pick this spring, they could arguably trade both of those for a 2nd round selection or keep them and add some more depth to their prospect group. It wouldn't be a bad move entirely.

As for Columbus, I don't see them moving multiple picks in that range for a single pick higher up simply because they are rebuilding and may value quantity over quality at that draft range.

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#30 Colin.S
May 16 2012, 11:48AM
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@RexLibris

It's all speculation, and Columbus has multiple picks, so for them to use an extra one to get a player they like is in the realm of possibility, plus after all the crap they've dealt with this year, they might be in the market of making a splash to show the fans something at least. It'd be a nice way to for more picks with still getting that guy, which I did read the article and like it, just a little skeptical because he doesn't play against the comp other players do.

And I just say a second cause that seems to be the going rate for trading up in the first(regardless of 'value' assigned), going back to 2004, pretty well every where a team swapped first round picks and drop 4 or more spots at the least a 2nd round pick was included, so if Feaster can't even manage that, he should be fired, if he can't even managed what other useless gms have, then he's even more useless. If Feaster drops 7-9 spots and all he can get is a mid to late third Feaster should be shiped out.

NHLnumbers just put out there top 100, Jankowski is #61, so very early third round. Looks like Button is just really really reaching. Still as a second rounder I think a great sleeper pick.

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#32 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 09:47AM
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@ RP

I had a chat with a fan of Weisbrod's old NBA haunt and he was incensed at his work there.

During the course of the conversation the parallel between Weisbrod's work with the Magic and their subsequent drafting of Dwight Howard to Feaster's work with the Lightning being partly responsible for their being in the position to draft Stamkos.

While Weisbrod would seem to have a history of being a personality strong enough to make hard decisions and move popular players (Tracy McGrady for the Magic) his track record in other areas does not, in and of itself, inspire great confidence.

That being said, any sports personality is only as good as their last job. If he and Feaster take the Flames into the top eight in the West next season and win a couple of playoff rounds he'll look like a genius.

Only time will tell.

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#33 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 09:51AM
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Colin S.

So if Jankowski is a 2nd round pick, how much does that Kotalik deal hurt now?

The Flames may be left with the decision of either taking a good prospect like Maatta or Gaunce at #14, or trading down, risking getting a less enviable prospect, in order to recoup a pick that Feaster traded away in order to come out with enough prospects to bolster the Flames depth.

It could be an entertaining first round in this year's draft. It seems that lots of teams have the potential for draft maneuvering.

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#34 Colin.S
May 17 2012, 12:19PM
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At 15, I`d advocate trading down anyways and securing as many 2nd and 3rd round picks as possible and hope that Jankowski is still available late second. Yeah we got Baertschi at 13 last year, but who says anyone we take at 15 is even near that level. Looking back all the way to 2004, once you get to the 15 spot or even just about there, there is a good bust(or depth player at best) potential. I`d rather deal down, gain aditional picks and get lucky in a later round than hope our 1 top pick pans out. Outside of the top 5 or so, pretty well everyone`s lists are different, which tells me past the top 5 it`s pretty well hit or miss anyways, no prospects outside that top 5 scream top 3 franchise potential and you may just as well get a top 6 player in the 2nd or 3rd as you may at around 15.

And yeah, getting rid of that second was Terrible. I see the reasoning behind it, but if we didn`t sign Babchuk we would have had enough salary to cover him for the year.

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#35 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 04:16PM
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Trading down and recouping some lost picks sounds like a very sensible, responsible thing to do for a team lacking the organizational depth that the Flames do.

The question is, do Feaster, King and Edwards feel that the franchise is in that state?

My inclination is to suspect that, given the past behaviour of this management group, they are looking to draft and market their pick this year with the hopes that whomever is selected can create the same excitement that Baertschi did in '11.

There have been many decisions made by this group the last little while that seem to be based more on marketability and finances than on sound team management.

Still, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they did move down.

On another note, the Flames have Gaudreau, Reinhart, Ferland, Baertschi, Granlund and Arnold. All young forwards that I'm sure many Flames fans would love to throw in the faces of Oiler and Canuck fans. And then the NHL cancels the YoungStars tournament because of a potential work stoppage. Seems like a kick in the bits for a Flames fan.

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#36 Colin.S
May 17 2012, 06:46PM
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They caught Lightning in a bottle with Baertschi, they may not happen this year especially even later in the draft. If they do one of those re-draft specials on SN or TSN or whatever in a few years, it could be that he should be drafted in the top 5. However expecting that to happen twice in a row is a little foolish.

As for excitement for the Baertschi pick, I actually heard a lot of negative things when he was drafted, the usual 'European' thing was thrown around for a bunch, can't play defense, not 'big' enough, it wasn't until Baertschi really started to just hammer out the year people started to change their minds and ofcourse after his stint with the flames they all changed their tune and now he's the next Iggy.

The thing is they have a pretty well fleshed out top 6 and it's not changing to drastically in the next couple years, and using that first pick to acquire multiple seconds for guys that may be ready in 2-3 years is absolutely something the Flames should look at.

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