The Weekly Ignition: December 30 2013

Ryan Pike
December 30 2013 10:57AM

 

 

Christmas is over and we're now rapidly approaching the beginning of 2014. What a wild few weeks it's been, but now hockey has returned from its brief holiday slumber and there's a lot to get caught up on.

Let's get to it.

RESULTS ROUND-UP

The Flames began the week on Monday night with a thrilling come-from-behind win over the St. Louis Blues. Despite trailing 3-1 after 40 minutes, the club battled back, tying the game late and winning in the shootout. [Post-Game]

After three days off for Christmas, the Flames returned to action against a pair of rivals and didn't do much in the way of scoring. Despite the games being close for the majority of their duration, the Flames lost 2-0 on Friday to Edmonton [Post-Game] and 2-0 on Sunday to Vancouver [Post-Game].

As a result, the Flames are now technically worse than the awful Florida Panthers, standings-wise.

PRESS ROUND-UP

Steve Macfarlane has an excellent piece on Mark Giordano's rise to NHL captain.

Kent Wilson has a handy advanced stats primer, focusing on possession stats.

Why aren't the Flames scoring? Kristen Odland takes a look.

Darren Haynes examines Calgary's goaltending situation.

Finally, Wes Gilbertson takes a look at Markus Granlund's whirlwind first day in the NHL.

A LOOK BACK

The Abbotsford Heat swept a two-game series with the Oklahoma City Barons this weekend, winning by 5-1 and 4-2 scores. Joni Ortio earned his 14th and 15th wins of the season. Ben Street had six assists and Max Reinhart also played well. Street has 32 points in 26 games with the Heat. Up in Anchorage, the ECHL Aces split a weekend set with the Ontario Reign, losing 4-2 but then winning 3-0. Olivier Roy started both games.

More competition for the prospect Three Stars this week, with much of the junior and college players back in action. Brandon's Eric Roy had three assists, Emile Poirier had a hat trick, and Johnny Gaudreau had two goals, three assists, and took home the MVP trophy at the Three Rivers Classic. Mark Jankowski had...an assist. But his team was playing Holy Cross, owners of a 2-11-0 record, so don't get too excited.

Over at the World Juniors, Jon Gillies back-stopped Team USA to wins in each of his two starts.

A LOOK AHEAD

The Flames have a light week. They host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and then the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. After that, we're in full-on “OMG Olympics!” mode, as the club plays three-to-four games per week, including a fair bit of travel.

On the farm, the Heat host the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday, after which they head out for a lengthy road trip. Up in Alaska, the Aces host the Ontario Reign again on New Year's Eve, then welcome the Idaho Steelheads on Friday and Saturday.

In the World Juniors, Jon Gillies will likely get the start as Team USA faces Team Canada tomorrow morning. After that, we head into the medal round! Doncha dare miss it!

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Now in his fourth 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 and the Wrestling Observer.
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#1 Graham
December 30 2013, 12:23PM
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'As a result, the Flames are now technically worse than the awful Florida Panthers, standings-wise'

The Flames need to keep the current streak going, what was previously a top five pick could well turn into a top three pick!

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#2 jl
December 30 2013, 12:59PM
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Top two spots have blue chip prospects after that there is a drop off in my opinion, which is on par with the very best scouts...

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#3 BurningSensation
December 30 2013, 01:02PM
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Graham wrote:

'As a result, the Flames are now technically worse than the awful Florida Panthers, standings-wise'

The Flames need to keep the current streak going, what was previously a top five pick could well turn into a top three pick!

I'm not convinced that this upcoming draft has any difference in quality from players 3->5.

As it stands;

1. Ekblad 2. Reinhart 3. Nylander

is the consensus top 3 (in some order).

but;

4. Draisaitl 5. Bennett

Are arguably as good as any in the top 3. (Personally I hope we end up with either Reinhart, Ekblad, or Draisaitl).

My concern is that with Burke's fetish for size and truculence no matter where we end up drafting the result will be the skating refrigerator Nick Ritchie.

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#4 Baalzamon
December 30 2013, 01:15PM
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@BurningSensation

I don't know about that. I can see Burke salivating over Ekblad (size, hitting, skating) and Draisaitl (reach, smarts, strength). And, let's not forget, he drafted Morgan Rielly in the top 5 in 2012. So that doesn't rule out Roland McKeown, for example.

Then again, he did take Tyler Biggs in the first round too, so...

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#5 Kevin R
December 30 2013, 01:24PM
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Are we unofficially eliminated from the playoffs yet? Gotta be pretty close. I know everyone wants to be in the 2015 draft sweepstakes, so getting 2015 1st rounders will be next to impossible. But do we have what it takes to get more than 1 top 5 pick in 2014. Would that be worthwhile doing? Just curious if the top 5 players in 2014 draft have stud potential?

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#6 McRib
December 30 2013, 01:28PM
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@jl

Don't agree at all you might want to look at the OHL scoring leaders Michael Dal Colle, Sam Bennett and Bendan Perlini are all pushing those ahead of them, also along with Leon Draisaitl could all turn out to be as good or better than (Reinhart, Ekblad). I hope we draft first or third actually not a fan of Ekblad defensive game needs a lot of work, IMO. I would like to see us take Draisaitl or Dal Colle at third.

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#7 Clyde
December 30 2013, 01:28PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I'm not convinced that this upcoming draft has any difference in quality from players 3->5.

As it stands;

1. Ekblad 2. Reinhart 3. Nylander

is the consensus top 3 (in some order).

but;

4. Draisaitl 5. Bennett

Are arguably as good as any in the top 3. (Personally I hope we end up with either Reinhart, Ekblad, or Draisaitl).

My concern is that with Burke's fetish for size and truculence no matter where we end up drafting the result will be the skating refrigerator Nick Ritchie.

Nylander has slipped out of the top 10 and continues to fall. I think Calgary will end up with a top 2 selection behind the sabres and will pick eckblad after buffalo takes rhinehart.

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#8 McRib
December 30 2013, 01:30PM
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@BurningSensation

I agree with you that their isn't as much of a drop off after 1-2 as some might think, but William Nylander will be lucky to go in the Top. 10 having a regression year in Sweden.

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#9 BurningSensation
December 30 2013, 01:31PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I don't know about that. I can see Burke salivating over Ekblad (size, hitting, skating) and Draisaitl (reach, smarts, strength). And, let's not forget, he drafted Morgan Rielly in the top 5 in 2012. So that doesn't rule out Roland McKeown, for example.

Then again, he did take Tyler Biggs in the first round too, so...

Oh I definitely think Ekblad is at the top of his list - I just don't see him slipping out of the top 2 (unless Nylander or Draisaitl takes his game to another level) with Reinhart being the other guy I can't see slipping to #3.

He also drafted the Sedins - who are not exactly bulldozer framed power forwards - but McKeown is rated towards the bottom of the top 10 and would likely be a reach between 3-8.

And Tyler Biggs was exactly who I was thinking about when I wrote the comment.

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#10 McRib
December 30 2013, 01:37PM
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You guys are really sleeping on Michael DalColle just saying if we pick third don't be surprised if he is Burkes guy. He has the size (6'2") is still filling out and currently third in OHL scoring with 62 points. As a comparison Sam Reinhart only has 50 points this year in the WHL. Considering the OHL is often thought as the better league to say Reinhart is miles away from anyone else would be incorrect.

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#11 BurningSensation
December 30 2013, 01:38PM
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McRib wrote:

I agree with you that their isn't as much of a drop off after 1-2 as some might think, but William Nylander will be lucky to go in the Top. 10 having a regression year in Sweden.

I confess to having not invested much in looking at Nylander recently.

I do note he looks to have bounced around teams a bit. Is he at the WJC? (I haven't watched a Sweden game yet).

'Future Considerations' (for what it's worth) has him ranked at #4.

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#12 BurningSensation
December 30 2013, 01:42PM
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McRib wrote:

You guys are really sleeping on Michael DalColle just saying if we pick third don't be surprised if he is Burkes guy. He has the size (6'2") is still filling out and currently third in OHL scoring with 62 points. As a comparison Sam Reinhart only has 50 points this year in the WHL. Considering the OHL is often thought as the better league to say Reinhart is miles away from anyone else would be incorrect.

He's got a little Gabe Landeskog thing going on for sure, and he would check a lot of the boxes that Burke likes.

That said, if the draft is pretty flat at the top-end (as it appears to be IMO), I think the Flames increase the emphasis on position for determining their pick - either a D man (Ekblad) or a skilled C from the dub (Reinhart, Draisaitll).

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#13 McRib
December 30 2013, 01:49PM
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@BurningSensation

William Nylander got cut from Swedish Elite League team and only has 8 points in 18 games in second tier Allsvenskan (The League Backlund lite up in the lock out). Last year Nylander had 6 points in 8 games in the same league. He also failed to make team Sweden's World Junior Team although they have a strong team this year. He still projects as a 8-15 pick, but other players have passed him on most of the rankings I have seen, surprised FC still has him so high.

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#14 BurningSensation
December 30 2013, 01:53PM
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McRib wrote:

William Nylander got cut from Swedish Elite League team and only has 8 points in 18 games in second tier Allsvenskan (The League Backlund lite up in the lock out). Last year Nylander had 6 points in 8 games in the same league. He also failed to make team Sweden's World Junior Team although they have a strong team this year. He still projects as a 8-15 pick, but other players have passed him on most of the rankings I have seen, surprised FC still has him so high.

That certainly puts DalColle firmly ahead of him on my list!

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#15 suba steve
December 30 2013, 01:58PM
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A lot of us remember Nylander's dad as a Flame, and would not be all that impressed to have his son brought in with the steep price of a top 10 pick. I remember papa Nylander as a highly skilled player with no heart, in the same way that Heatley/P. Turgeon were. High draft picks were spent on those players too.

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#16 McRib
December 30 2013, 02:12PM
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@BurningSensation

Even if they are no super sure fire high end McDavid prospects this year... Burke can't really go wrong with a Reinhardt, Ekblad, Draisaitl, DalColle or Bennett. I know Toronto had a lot of luck drafting OHL kids the past couple of years (Finn, Brown, Verhaeghe, etc) in the later rounds, so if we sign a Poulin as GM would not be surprised if we go the OHL route for our top pick, although I am a huge Draisaitl fan as well!!!

Leon looked better than Reinhart in a Kooteny vs PA game that I watched this year on shaw. When Jonathan Toews went third overall in 2006 no one said he was a sure fire captain of two Stanley Cups and look how he panned out. Anywhere in the Top. 5 this year we will get a legitimate Top. 6 forward or top two pairing and you never know they may pan out to be better than expected.

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#17 beloch
December 30 2013, 02:23PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Are we unofficially eliminated from the playoffs yet? Gotta be pretty close. I know everyone wants to be in the 2015 draft sweepstakes, so getting 2015 1st rounders will be next to impossible. But do we have what it takes to get more than 1 top 5 pick in 2014. Would that be worthwhile doing? Just curious if the top 5 players in 2014 draft have stud potential?

Sportsclubstats says the Flames current probability of making the playoffs is 0.09%. It would take a record of 0.733 over the rest of the season for the Flames to have a 50/50 shot of making it in. That's not quite officially eliminated yet, but you'd have to be hitting the sauce pretty hard to bet money on the Flames making the playoffs right now. Burke does look like he enjoys his scotch, but not quite that much.

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#18 beloch
December 30 2013, 02:30PM
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@McRib

I'd be pretty surprised if Burke tries to move the Flames 2014 first-rounder for some other team's 2015 first-rounder. It would hurt the team badly to lose one of the players you mentioned only for the 2015 pick to wind up falling to the mid to late 1st round.

On the other hand, I fully expect Burke will prioritize 2015 first-rounders when selling off assets like Cammalleri. There's always a small chance that a team that's pushing for the playoffs this season could implode spectacularly next season.

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#19 Parallex
December 30 2013, 02:58PM
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@beloch

"There's always a small chance that a team that's pushing for the playoffs this season could implode spectacularly next season."

Yeah... I mean we could always try and trade with that foolish fellow that really misjudged the Maple Leafs and traded away the #2 & #8 picks along with a high second rounder... damnit!

In all seriousness I wonder if it's even smarter to pursue 2015 picks? The 2015 draft is pretty stacked but is it stacked deep enough that there will be an appreciable difference in talent that outweighs an additional year of player development. As nice as it is to dream of trading for a first from a team that implodes the better bet is that the pick falls in the same range as it will this year. The team most likely to see said implosion is the Maple Leafs and I really wonder if Burke could check his ego enough to make the bet that the team that largely still has his fingerprints all over it and led by someone who was basically his protege just isn't all that good.

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#20 Baalzamon
December 30 2013, 04:14PM
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McRib wrote:

You guys are really sleeping on Michael DalColle just saying if we pick third don't be surprised if he is Burkes guy. He has the size (6'2") is still filling out and currently third in OHL scoring with 62 points. As a comparison Sam Reinhart only has 50 points this year in the WHL. Considering the OHL is often thought as the better league to say Reinhart is miles away from anyone else would be incorrect.

it's worth considering that Dal Colle's center is Scott Laughton. It's probably a safe bet that Laughton is driving the bus to some extent on that unit. Draisaitl, on the other hand, is leading the Wheat Kings in scoring by a mile.

Not saying that Dal Colle would be a bad pick, but at 3 I would definitely take Leon.

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#21 Parallex
December 30 2013, 10:02PM
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Yeah I'm with Baalzamon. I'm really warming up to Draisaitl as our pick. Big Playmaking Center with high hockey IQ... what's not to like? Plus for that special uniqueness factor he comes from from a country that generally doesn't produce NHL players (let alone stars).

Not that I'd dislike DalColle but I'd rather have the guy that's been able to stick at Center in the CHL.

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