Flames Pick Brett Kulak in the 4th Round

Kent Wilson
June 23 2012 09:25AM

 

 

At 105th, Calgary has picked Vancouver Giants defender Brett Kulak. Standing at just 6'1" and weighing just 175 pounds, Kulak scored 9 goals and 25 points in 72 games in the WHL last year. Kulak was the 55th ranked NA skater by Central Scouting final rankings.

Kulak is considered a solid defender with some upside who is probably a long-term project. He needs to add strength and bulk to his frame to get to the to the next level. His skating, however, is considered smooth and fluid and he has poise with the puck. Here is a profile on Kulak by Chris Ralph of the Hockey Writers which is worth a read.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Cam
June 23 2012, 09:38AM
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Funny, the article describes him as one of those defenseman you don't notice (in a good way) but then goes on to compare him to Duncan Keith (who you certainly notice every time he's on the ice (including when he played for Kelowna). Having seen Brett play quite a bit with the Giants, I'd say he's more of the former. He's never stood out for me. Maybe that's a good thing, but I wouldn't say he's an up and coming Duncan Keith. I have not been excited with any of our picks yet, to be honest but time will tell.

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#2 Franko J
June 23 2012, 09:45AM
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Another long term project. This is a draft where we won't see any fruition from this draft until at the very least 2016 - 2017 season.

@ Everton FC I can only imagine what you are thinking? None of your selections either ?

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#3 everton fc
June 23 2012, 09:46AM
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Am I the only Flames fan here who is totally confused by this year's draft? To me, Weisbrod seems to have a lot of leverage. How do you pick a USHL goalie in the 3rd round? I would have taken a punt on Daniil Zharkov over the goalie...

Emil Lundberg appears to still be available. The Flames should take him. My sense is players like him aren't on their radar screen.

Again, I'm confused....

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#4 Stockley
June 23 2012, 09:49AM
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@Cam

Inclined to agree. I'm a little disappointed so far with the players chosen. Time will tell as it always does at the draft. Just feels like (at least from the research and reading I've done) there were better players on the board. We're all armchair general managers; I guess we have to hope the professional scouts know their craft.

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#5 everton fc
June 23 2012, 09:51AM
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@Franko

Trading down to take Jankowski over Girgensons... When I heard this, I was blown away. To pass on Maatta and take Jankowski...

Again, Lundberg is still out there. You never know. But the picks thus far - smallish d-men, projects...

Is it me, or has the direction of last year taken a radical shift? I wasn't as giddy about last year's draft as some here, but it was certainly better than this?

Or am I missing something??

We are getting fleeced. Why would they not look at Zharkov over the goalie from Indiana??? Or at least look for some depth on the right wing?? Are any of the d-men drafted right-handed shots?? If not...

?????????

Maatta could have possibly stepped in next season - or at least in the short-term.

My sense is they'll trade for their needs. Stay tuned.

If this draft is any indication of how we'll trade...

One comment I heard from 1260 Edmonton's coverage (we drove from Calgary to Lloyd while the 1st round "played". Wife and 4 kids allowed this; perhaps they should have said "no"?!)...

The comment was about Feaster's past in the draft. Very poor. Research it. Many picks that amounted to squat.

Could we be seeing the same???

Again, how do youpass up Girgensons at 14? Or Maatta at 21?? Handed to us on a platter. Like taking a swing at a beachball placed on a tee...

How can you miss???

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#7 Brent G.
June 23 2012, 09:58AM
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everton fc wrote:

@Franko

Trading down to take Jankowski over Girgensons... When I heard this, I was blown away. To pass on Maatta and take Jankowski...

Again, Lundberg is still out there. You never know. But the picks thus far - smallish d-men, projects...

Is it me, or has the direction of last year taken a radical shift? I wasn't as giddy about last year's draft as some here, but it was certainly better than this?

Or am I missing something??

We are getting fleeced. Why would they not look at Zharkov over the goalie from Indiana??? Or at least look for some depth on the right wing?? Are any of the d-men drafted right-handed shots?? If not...

?????????

Maatta could have possibly stepped in next season - or at least in the short-term.

My sense is they'll trade for their needs. Stay tuned.

If this draft is any indication of how we'll trade...

One comment I heard from 1260 Edmonton's coverage (we drove from Calgary to Lloyd while the 1st round "played". Wife and 4 kids allowed this; perhaps they should have said "no"?!)...

The comment was about Feaster's past in the draft. Very poor. Research it. Many picks that amounted to squat.

Could we be seeing the same???

Again, how do youpass up Girgensons at 14? Or Maatta at 21?? Handed to us on a platter. Like taking a swing at a beachball placed on a tee...

How can you miss???

You know originally I didnt like the Jankowski pick but the more I have read about him I appreciate they are trying something different. I have quite a bit of faith in Feaster still and know he has made an investment in drafting. Over the last couple of years they have gotten a lot better it seems so why would we think they dont know what they are doing this year?

Maata seemed like a solid defender who can play 2nd line minutes but likely not much more. At least they are swinging for the fences. Winners take chances and leave it all on the line, losers take the safe bet. He honestly sounds like a pretty solid player who is playing in an unknown league, although dominating it at a young age. He just needs to grow into his body a little more and we might have a very special player. My favorite part is it sounds like he has good work ethic too which is key in these players. Thats why sven is so good...

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#8 everton fc
June 23 2012, 09:58AM
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If Emil Lundberg is left when we pick next...

Again, sitting there, on a platter.

I think many teams going w/the flow, taking the d-men... May be sorry.

Time will tell....

@Brent G

You may be the most positive Flames fan on the planet right now. They should give you free season tickets! :)

I am one to lean on the side of the Team 1260 comments up in Edmonton; his draft record with the Bolts was not good. Not good at all. And his signing of Richards hamstrung the team.

Those are the facts... Albeit, the past....

Then again, he tried to sign Richards again for an amount that could purchase many small towns across the province. Richards put up #'s similar to Glencross...

I remain not only "unconvinced", but lamenting we didnt' grab Botterill as our GM.

I am not so "down" on Hartley. He may be able to shape this current mass of clay and crap into something resembling a 7th/8th place team...

Maybe....

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#9 BurningSensation
June 23 2012, 10:27AM
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Keep in mind that Feaster is a GM not a scout, his job is to put a team together and give them a vision fir how he wants the draft to go. He rebuilt the scouting team starting with bringing Weisbrod on board, and Weisbrod does have an excellent track record.

Much of the same same sniping about the Flames drafting was heard last year, in particular with regards to taking a smurf like Gaudreau.

Now Gaudreau is showing signs of being a huge steal, Baertschi looks like he was tremendously undervalued in his year (would be a top 5 pick if you re-ran the draft), and even his depth picks look to have more upside than previous Sutter drafts.

I think he is playing 'moneyball', focussing on things that matter (skill, speed) and not worrying as much about things that don't (size, league). How often have we lamented the Flames insistence on taking big-body sloths who are supposedly 'safe' instead of taking a skill player with warts?

For all the sturm and drang over Jankowski;

- Feaster's scouts REALLY liked him. He's paying his scouts to do the draft, not central scouting or random Internet draft boards, - Feaster managed to trade down and get a 2nd rnd pick and still take his guy. Smart. - You can be pretty certain that other teams had Jankowsi on their radar, even if central scouting didn't - The draft is NOT about filling immediate need, taking Olli Maata just because he'll be ready sooner, and despite the fact your scouts think he has a much lower ceiling is simply foolish. If your scouts think Jankowski ischia BPA, ale him. If you can get someone like Buffalo to pay you a 2nd rnd pick and still get your guy, that's full of win.

I also love the Kulak pick, he's all upside, and could be another huge steal.

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#10 Franko J
June 23 2012, 10:49AM
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@ Everton FC

It appears Calgary has little love for Euros this year. The OHL looks to be out of the equation. I think Wiesbrodt is in love with USHL players. Too bad he wasn't looking at the best one playing in the USHL at 14.

I like to be optimistic but I feel this draft will produce very little in return short term. Majority of the players are heading to University. I don't know if it is by design but they are selecting players with character and potential. Only in time we will see if how this draft will shake down. My grade would be C -.

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#11 Franko J
June 23 2012, 11:19AM
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Now that the draft is over. I guess onto free agency and the Jagr sweepstakes.

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#12 everton fc
June 23 2012, 12:14PM
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If Jankowski turns out to be a better pick than Girgensons... Then Weisbrod, et al, are the greatest scouts around.

To me, Girgensons is a no-brainer. Absolute no-brainer, a leader, captain of his team...

I personally don't remember a lot of people here crying about Gaudreau. My memory is the opposite - many pleased with this pick. Granlund is the one I would have done differently last season.

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#13 Frank
June 23 2012, 12:49PM
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It seems to me that Feaster is so focused on proving to everyone that he can find that needle in a haystack, that he failed to notice the huge thouroubreds standing BESIDE that haystack in Mattaa, Terevainen, Girgensons etc.

Would love to have seen Sven and Girgensons playing together. I guess we'll have to settle for Sven and Backlund?!? Waa waaaaaa.

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#14 RexLibris
June 23 2012, 01:52PM
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@everton fc

Hope you liked the 1260 coverage, they have the Pipeline Show guys do it and they are really tapped in to the junior levels.

As for the Flames picks, there are a few Edmonton picks that I was uncomfortable with (Moroz, Lelaggia to name two) but nothing anywhere in the range of what I have seen in Calgary's selections.

Time will tell, that much is true, but I don't think that, after last year's draft buzz, the management group has done themselves any long-term favours here.

The problems the Flames have were not going to be fixed at the draft. There were only two players who could have been taken in the entire draft who might have made a difference for the team and both were gone before #14. That being said, with a development system so starved of high-end or can't miss prospects, Feaster and Weisbrod seemed to lean towards the long shots.

When you are down at the table it is best to make the safe plays and get back in the game. Doubling down sounds dramatic but often just hastens an exit.

Just my take.

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#15 everton fc
June 23 2012, 02:18PM
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@Rex

Great coverage from 1260 The Team. They had interviews ready with some of the most obscure picks. Impressive.

One thing 1260 kept stating was the fact the Kings won the Cup with size and speed. Once again, the Flames did not draft size and speed. Girgensons was there. They chose Jankowski. Girgensons is farther along. He's still growing into a 6'2" 200lb frame. And he's a leader.

Forever, I will question this pick. And I'm not at all happy w/our 2nd pick. But I know less about him. Perhaps he is a sleepr, but at 6'0"... A defenceman at 6'0"...

Makes me wonder.

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#16 RexLibris
June 23 2012, 02:38PM
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@everton fc

LeTang was small, still is. If the talent is there to heck with size, provided it doesn't become systemic.

Glad you liked the coverage, the 1260 guys have a pretty good product, I think, and the Pipeline show guys are some of the best in the business, in my opinion.

I don't put stock in what the Cup champions did to win. Win the thing and then everyone will be copying you. Trying to copy last year's model will consistently put you several years behind. That being said, NHL GMs are like tween girls, always following the latest trends and then moving on.

I think the Flames will come to regret passing on Girgensons. I know that had the Oilers been picking there he'd be one I'd have loved to walk away with.

Safe to say that this was not the weekend Flames fans had been anticipating.

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#17 Baalzamon
June 23 2012, 03:17PM
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@BurningSensation

"- Feaster's scouts REALLY liked him. He's paying his scouts to do the draft, not central scouting or random Internet draft boards, - Feaster managed to trade down and get a 2nd rnd pick and still take his guy. Smart. - You can be pretty certain that other teams had Jankowsi on their radar, even if central scouting didn't - The draft is NOT about filling immediate need, taking Olli Maata just because he'll be ready sooner, and despite the fact your scouts think he has a much lower ceiling is simply foolish. If your scouts think Jankowski ischia BPA, ale him. If you can get someone like Buffalo to pay you a 2nd rnd pick and still get your guy, that's full of win.

I also love the Kulak pick, he's all upside, and could be another huge steal."

While I'm not this positive, I have a similar feeling about this draft (now). The Flames wanted Jankowski. Maybe they're right, maybe they're not. They would have taken him at 14th. They took him at 21st instead, and recouped a 2nd rounder (though they sort of wasted that...). Jankowski might be a bust, it's true. But so might Gaunce. It does happen. The Flames used to make a habit of safe picks (Pelech, Nemisz) guys who were sure things... and then didn't turn out, anyway. I much prefer the (arguably) 1st line upside that comes with Jankowski. I would have stayed at 14th and taken Teravainen, but I'm not a pro. These guys are.

and I also liked the Kulak pick. The Duncan Keith comparison on THW makes me laugh, but I think he could be a decent all-around defenseman if developed properly. Sort of in the mold of Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

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#18 everton fc
June 23 2012, 03:26PM
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Gaunce is not Girgensons.I think we can all agree on that.

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#19 Emir
June 23 2012, 07:52PM
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I dont know where all the Girgenson love is coming from but he is a 3rd line center last time I checked. Maybe a number 2, But not a number 1. Do we really need to load up on third line talent in this org? I thought we had that covered already. Sure girgenson has a tough grit and would be a good addition, but a safe pick nothing more and destined for mediocrity.

I'm more bent on passing over Teravanien. I think he could really be something. But considering how his stock fell on draft day, I wonder how his interviews went. Seems weird to be projected top 5 and then drop like a lead weight.

Jankowski is just going to be an epic story. One of great failure or tremendous success. Instead of the old "in sutter we trust" slogans we will have some sort of memorial to feaster and company for their work. If they fail, boy, let the double down jokes roll in.

I'm curious of Jankowski and this draft. The theme of this draft was lets shop where everybody else doesn't. I'll give some credit to the org for going out on a limb and trying something new.

All in all, its a gamblers draft. And the most important part is that we didn't pick that plug Brendan Gaunce. Thank god.

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#20 Baalzamon
June 23 2012, 08:51PM
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@Emir

"All in all, its a gamblers draft. And the most important part is that we didn't pick that plug Brendan Gaunce. Thank god."

amen bro. Amen.

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#21 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
June 23 2012, 10:07PM
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Totally agree with Emir. Where the hell did all this hyoe for Girgensons come from???? Man, I guess in a weak draft some people will talk up third line grinders. A lot of scouts have questioned his ability to put up offense at the NHL level. And remember folks, he plays in the USHL, a gentlemans' league if there ever was one. A tough, gritty guy in that league is an average Joe in the CHL. Yes, he may turn in Ryan Getzlaf, but more likely he will just be a third-line center, albeit a good one.

We already got a guy like him in Arnold and a better player, imo, in Reinhart.

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