The Flames Fifteen Returns

Justin Azevedo
May 07 2013 11:44AM


Welcome back to the Flames Fifteen - our now annual ranking of the Flames' prospects.

The Methodology

It is thought that a player's 23 year old season is the one where he goes from prospect to NHLer - or, for some, to tweener. Therefore, that is our cut-off line. Last year, we distinguished players who were already legitimate NHLers - we won't be doing that this year. 

We asked our panel to rank every player under 23 in the Flames system as of March 15th (when I sent out the request), with points being awarded to the top 15 - 1 point for their 15th ranked player, and 15 for their 1st ranked player, etc. In the event of ties, the highest overall single ranking prevailed. The panel this year includes myself, Kent Wilson, Ryan Pike, Book of Loob and Hayley from Matchsticks and Gasoline.

See Ya

There are numerous faces who didn't make the cut, graduated or left the rankings.

Not Top-15, but recieved Top-15 votes:

  • Joni Ortio (16th, two 15th place votes and a 12th place vote)
  • Pat Sieloff (17th, one 13th place vote)
  • Brett Kulak (18th, one 14th place vote)
  • Carter Bancks (19th, one 14th place vote)
  • Ryan Culkin (20th, two 15th place votes)

Graduated:

  • Mikael Backlund (excluded)
  • Leland Irving (5th last year)
  • Paul Byron (12th last year)

Ranked last year but not this year:

  • Greg Nemisz (11th last year, no points this year)
  • John Ramage (13th last year, no points this year)
  • Chris Breen (15th last year, no points this year)

We'll start the articles in the next couple of days. Two little tidbits before we get to that, though - first, there were a few picks that left me saying "really..." - so I'm sure people will be unhappy with a few of the results. Secondly, it's been widely thought that Jay Feaster's past two drafts have been very good, but with one or two exceptions the panel doesn't exactly agree with that.

We look forward to sharing our results with you. 

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Justin is a 22-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#1 Kent Wilson
May 07 2013, 01:46PM
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I recommend folks try to build their own ranks in the comments. It can get pretty interesting once you get to, say, 7th.

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#2 clYDE
May 07 2013, 06:45PM
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Iggy is up to 7 playoff points so those 2 college players better be in our top 15.

1. Sven 2. Brodie 3. Gaudreau 4. Lindholme ( a little ahead here) 5. Horak 6. Wotherspoon 7. Gillies 8. Arnold 9. Agostino 10. Brossoit 11. Reinhart 12. Jankowski 13. Granlund 14. Sieloff 15. Bouma

** It was nice to have to feel bad about leaving some guys off. *** I don't feel either guy we got from the Blues are players. Unless we get a great draft, we got killed in that deal. **** We got killed in the Iggy deal. Ortio may be the guy that moves the most this year and Breen is of interest too.

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#3 Parallex
May 07 2013, 09:01PM
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mattyc wrote:

yeah... i had him 13. I wavered back and forth with this list. I think a few of the players I have rated low (Cundari, Bouma) actually have a higher chance of making the show, but I don't think they have particularly high ceilings. Cundari, I think has some potential, and will play in the NHL (maybe even next year), but I'm not sure he'll ever be more than a 5th D.

This. Had him (and Bouma) low because while I think they'll have NHL careers I don't think they have much "impact" potential. They're low wage depth guys... low wage NHL depth guys (which is something) but still just depth.

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#4 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
May 07 2013, 12:02PM
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What! Kulak only got one vote! I didn't know that we had such a deep prospect pool. Hopefully there is space next year for our #6 pick at the draft ;)

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#5 Kent Wilson
May 07 2013, 12:28PM
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@If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin

It's a surprisingly tough exercise once you get past the few obvious guys at the top.

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#6 Parallex
May 07 2013, 01:12PM
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So that would mean that 10 of them are:

Sven Baertschi, TJ Brodie, John Gaudreau, Max Reinhart, Roman Horak, Michael Ferland, Lance Bouma, Markus Granlund, Bill Arnold, Tyler Wotherspoon

So now to determine the identity of the remaining five. I would guess that the remaining 5 are: Jon Gillies, Laurent Broisset, Mark Jankowski, Mark Cundari (if for no reason other then the prominance of him in the image alongside the B's), and Ken Agosino (maybe Hanowski instead of Agosino).

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#7 mattyc
May 07 2013, 01:56PM
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Baertschi, Brodie, Gaudreau, Horak, Jankowski, Reinhart, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Gilles, Broissot, Bouma, Agostino, Cundari, Martin, Arnold?

Does Brodie even still count as a prospect?!

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#8 NHL93
May 07 2013, 02:31PM
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Hope to see Ortio prove everyone wrong in the next few years.

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#9 Parallex
May 07 2013, 02:39PM
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mattyc wrote:

Baertschi, Brodie, Gaudreau, Horak, Jankowski, Reinhart, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Gilles, Broissot, Bouma, Agostino, Cundari, Martin, Arnold?

Does Brodie even still count as a prospect?!

Not by most measures but it says that it basically counts guys under 24 so I'd say yes.

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#10 Kevin R
May 07 2013, 02:48PM
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OK. Here is my kick at her:

1/Brodie

2/Baertschi

3/Gaudreau

4/Max Reinhart

5/Tyler Wotherspoon

6/Gilles

7/Cundari

8/Horak

9/Brossoit

10/Bouma

11/Jankowski

12/Agostino

13/Granlund

14/Hanowski

15/Arnold

There you have it. Heard it here 1st :)

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#11 T&A4Flames
May 07 2013, 02:49PM
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Hmmmmmmmmm.........

1)Brodie- Has shown the most at this point

2)Baertschi- Remains the most skilled prospect in the system

3)Gaudreau- Skill rivals Sven but no NHL experience & remaining size ? keep him 1 step below

4)Horak- Not sure what he is yet as a NHL'r, but has shown an ability to handle the game at the highest level

5)Wotherspoon- Steady player with strong showing at WJC; improved each post draft year

6)Brossoit- Strong junior career with improvements each year incl. invite to WJC camp

7)Gillies- Exceptional 1st year in college winning numerous awards

8)Jankowski- Highest upside of all prospects after Sven & JohnnyG

9)Bouma- Already spent time in the NHL and showed well as a 4th liner.

10)Reinhart- Strong showing in the few games he played at the end; rare player that does better at the NHL level?

11)Granlund- Slow start to the year but strong WJC showing and kept going from there

12)Arnold- Strong, consistent competitor at college level; yearly improvement

13)Breen- Big improvement this year; continues to develop 14)Cundari- Strong end of season showing

15)Ferland- His youth and upside puts him slightly ahead of Hanowski and Agostino

Wow. That did get tougher as it went on. Placement is tough all over.

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#12 Kent Wilson
May 07 2013, 02:52PM
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Good stuff guys. Not too different from what we put together I think.

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#13 seve927
May 07 2013, 02:52PM
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I've had mine ready for a while! Brodie would be at the top if he's still considered a prospect. This is based on a combination of potential and how far away they are from being an NHLer:

Baertschi, Gaudreau, Cundari, Reinhart, Wotherspoon, Horak, Agostino, Gillies, Jankowski, Brossoit, Kulak, Arnold, Granlund, Ramage, Sieloff, Bouma

Culkin, Hanowski, DeBlouw, Elson and Ortio get honourable mention.

Ferland and Gordon I don't hold much hope for after seeing them live (or on TV) a few times this year.

Next year I see Baertschi, Cundari, Horak and Bouma on the big team.

The year after could see a couple of Gaudreau, Arnold, Wotherspoon, Agostino, Ramage, Reinhart or Granlund. Maybe even Elson. I liked what I saw from him in a couple viewings.

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#14 Parallex
May 07 2013, 03:09PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I recommend folks try to build their own ranks in the comments. It can get pretty interesting once you get to, say, 7th.

1: Baertschi 2: Brodie 3: Gaudreau 4: Gillis 5: Jankowski 6: Reinhart 7: Wotherspoon 8: Granland 9: Horak 10: Arnold 11: Broissot 12: Agosino 13: Hanowski 14: Bouma 15: Cundari

... yes, it got hard to rank folk at 6 for me. The first three were easy, 4/5 was a debate on who to put where but the names were the same, 6+ was hard. Decided to go with a mix of upside, present accomplishment, likelihood of making the NHL.

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#15 mattyc
May 07 2013, 04:04PM
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@Parallex

Our lists are quite close. I just never know where to put goalies...

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#16 Scary Gary
May 07 2013, 04:17PM
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1.TJ Brodie, 2.Sven Baertschi, 3.Roman Horak, 4.John Gaudreau, 5.Mark Cundari, 6.Jon Gillies, 7.Tyler Wotherspoon, 8. Markus Granlund, 9.Ken Agostino, 10.Laurent Broisset, 11.Mark Jankowski 12.Max Reinhart, 13.Bill Arnold, 14.Lance Bouma, 15.Ben Hanowski

I'm guessing my views will change a lot by the end of next season. Hopefully JohnG can put some size on that frame, starting with squats. You look at Sid and he's all legs, glutes, core.

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#17 Parallex
May 07 2013, 04:32PM
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mattyc wrote:

Our lists are quite close. I just never know where to put goalies...

Broissot was the hardest to place. Couldn't figure him out so easily.

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#18 Scary Gary
May 07 2013, 04:39PM
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Parallex wrote:

Broissot was the hardest to place. Couldn't figure him out so easily.

Hey gents, why so low on Cundari?

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#19 mattyc
May 07 2013, 04:46PM
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@Scary Gary

yeah... i had him 13. I wavered back and forth with this list. I think a few of the players I have rated low (Cundari, Bouma) actually have a higher chance of making the show, but I don't think they have particularly high ceilings. Cundari, I think has some potential, and will play in the NHL (maybe even next year), but I'm not sure he'll ever be more than a 5th D.

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#20 T&A4Flames
May 07 2013, 04:47PM
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Scary Gary wrote:

Hey gents, why so low on Cundari?

Why so HIGH on Cundari?

To small a sample size in the NHL for me. Size would be a concern over the long haul and quite frankly, I don't know enough about him except that media types weren't too high on him when acquired. His showing at the end actually boosted him a bit for me.

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#21 Scary Gary
May 07 2013, 05:15PM
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He's put up a lot of points at all levels while keeping his plus/minus in check. I'm hopeful.

As for the size thing he's 200lbs, he might be a couple inches shy but so was Dan Boyle (not saying he's Boyle though). He did have 15 pts in 19 OHL playoff games in 09/10.

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#22 Baalzamon
May 07 2013, 05:38PM
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Everyone has Arnold too low.

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#23 Ryan Pike
May 07 2013, 06:57PM
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I would've had Cundari 16th, if that was an option.

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#24 SmellOfVictory
May 07 2013, 06:59PM
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Lessee:

1. Brodie
2. Baertschi
3. Gaudreau
4. Jankowski
5. Gillies
6. Arnold
7. Reinhart
8. Kulak
9. Wotherspoon
10. Horak
11. Brossoit
12. Granlund
13. Cundari
14. Ortio
15. Agostino

Although Bouma is a proven NHLer, I'd say, he's also already pretty much maxed out as a 4th liner, so I don't think this list is for him. And honestly, the guy I'd most LIKE to be able to have on here is Ferland, but he's looking pretty iffy.

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#25 seve927
May 07 2013, 09:20PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Everyone has Arnold too low.

I would love to put him higher, but I haven't seen enough of him. If he is actually legit, and it seems like Reinhart could be, and we're drafting another pretty sure thing, and other possibilities in Janko, DeBlouw and Granlund... Are we actually suddenly quite deep at center?

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#26 seve927
May 07 2013, 09:25PM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

Why so HIGH on Cundari?

To small a sample size in the NHL for me. Size would be a concern over the long haul and quite frankly, I don't know enough about him except that media types weren't too high on him when acquired. His showing at the end actually boosted him a bit for me.

I think he's the only D in the system that could play next year. Maybe TSpoon, Ramage or Breen. I thought he looked real good in his audition. Since that's all I've got to go on, he's high.

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#27 bookofloob
May 07 2013, 09:30PM
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Yeah, our lists all look pretty drastically different after about 7th or 8th. A lot of it depends on what positions you value organizationally.

Or at least it was in my case.

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#28 Baalzamon
May 07 2013, 09:34PM
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@seve927

deep, but not really talented. If you have six 3rd line centers, you still have 0 #1's.

Of course it COULD work out okay. Jankowski and Granlund both have top 6 ceilings... but well... look were most people have those guys.

C'mon Lindholm! (or Monahan).

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#29 ChinookArch
May 07 2013, 09:37PM
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seve927 wrote:

I would love to put him higher, but I haven't seen enough of him. If he is actually legit, and it seems like Reinhart could be, and we're drafting another pretty sure thing, and other possibilities in Janko, DeBlouw and Granlund... Are we actually suddenly quite deep at center?

And hopefully we can find a true #1 somewhere in that list.

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#30 SeanCharles
May 07 2013, 09:55PM
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Baertschi, Brodie, Guadreau, Gillies, Jankowski, Reinhart, Horak, Wotherspoon, Cundari, Arnold, Brossoit, Kulak, Granlund, Agostino, Breen/Bouma

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#31 T&A4Flames
May 07 2013, 09:59PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

deep, but not really talented. If you have six 3rd line centers, you still have 0 #1's.

Of course it COULD work out okay. Jankowski and Granlund both have top 6 ceilings... but well... look were most people have those guys.

C'mon Lindholm! (or Monahan).

Screw that. C'mon Barkov!

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#32 T&A4Flames
May 07 2013, 10:11PM
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Drouin injured tonight. I wonder how bad and if it affects his draft status.

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#33 Baalzamon
May 07 2013, 10:27PM
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@T&A4Flames

I wouldn't think it would hurt his stock at all unless it's a concussion. Last year both Galchenyuk and Rielly missed most of the season and both were picked in the top 5

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#34 schevvy
May 07 2013, 11:27PM
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Canucks lose. Very interested to see how their offseason transpires.

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#35 Q
May 07 2013, 11:36PM
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And I thought we had a crap year! Canucks go out and get Roy at the deadline and then get swept? WOW! Things not lookn so positive now for nucks fans! The Sedins are straight-up Horrid in the playoffs! Love it! The axe will fall on someone! The only thing that tempers the sting of not being in the "dance" is seeing the most hated team in hockey swept! Next-up..... Habs !

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#36 Sincity1976
May 07 2013, 11:37PM
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I rank all of the Flames prospects and kids here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zNw3iGwsLWkE0c1BX0bA8p6h8UwgsY7lDiHZMiHiMmk/edit

But my top 15 are:

Baertschi, Brodie, Gaudreau, Jankowski, Horak, Reinhart, Sieloff, Brossoit, Wotherspoon, Cundari, Breen, Granlund, Gilles, Agostino, Ortio

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#37 Sincity1976
May 08 2013, 12:02AM
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If your top 5 doesn't include Baertschi, Brodie, Gaudreau, Jankowski, and Horak then I don't agree with your list.

But 6-20 is really open. Which makes sense for where the Flames are with their prospects. A lack of high end guys but lots of depth.

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#38 beloch
May 08 2013, 02:16AM
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Q wrote:

And I thought we had a crap year! Canucks go out and get Roy at the deadline and then get swept? WOW! Things not lookn so positive now for nucks fans! The Sedins are straight-up Horrid in the playoffs! Love it! The axe will fall on someone! The only thing that tempers the sting of not being in the "dance" is seeing the most hated team in hockey swept! Next-up..... Habs !

The Canucks are in salary cap hell to boot. They have 11 UFA/RFA's to re-sign or replace but they're already $100K over the cap for next season. Gillis may be even busier than Feaster this summer!

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#39 Brett Martin
May 08 2013, 03:30AM
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1. Baertschi 2. Brodie 3. Gaudreau 4. Gillies 5. Jankowski 6. Horak 7. Bouma 8. Wotherspoon 9. Reinhart 10. Arnold 11. Granlund 12. Brossoit 13. Agostino 14. Sieloff 15. Ortio

Horak and Bouma are in front of some guys that I think have higher ceilings than them, all due to the fact they've already made some contributions to the Flames.

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#40 ChinookArch
May 08 2013, 07:02AM
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schevvy wrote:

Canucks lose. Very interested to see how their offseason transpires.

Yup. You'd have to think the coach's days are numbered there. If memory serves me right, Vancouver's ownership wasn't happy with Vigneault when they first bought the team. Between he and Mike Gillis, a mess was made from a pretty good goaltending situation.

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#41 seve927
May 08 2013, 07:24AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

deep, but not really talented. If you have six 3rd line centers, you still have 0 #1's.

Of course it COULD work out okay. Jankowski and Granlund both have top 6 ceilings... but well... look were most people have those guys.

C'mon Lindholm! (or Monahan).

Did LA or Boston have this elusive elite Art Ross Trophy winning center? I think everybody's putting too much value on this franchise center, because it's always been the excuse that we couldn't win with Iginla. I'd say it's depth in the roster that is more important. Teams like LA and St. Louis can wear teams down by throwing excellent hockey players out there EVERY shift. Is David Backes a "true" number one? How's it working for the Carolina's and Tampa Bay's (although I think Carolina will be back with a vengeance next year, but it's more because of their depth). Tampa has two #1C's, spends to the cap and they're still picking third.

Too much emphasis on what a #1C is and what it's worth. I'll take a lot of really, really good players over trying to build around one superstar. Unless it's Sid. He's actually good enough to do that.

All of this is not to say I think the Flames have that kind of depth; I have no idea how good any of those guys will be. I'm just saying I prefer depth to trying to build around one guy.

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#42 Parallex
May 08 2013, 08:34AM
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seve927 wrote:

I would love to put him higher, but I haven't seen enough of him. If he is actually legit, and it seems like Reinhart could be, and we're drafting another pretty sure thing, and other possibilities in Janko, DeBlouw and Granlund... Are we actually suddenly quite deep at center?

Not really. I see Arnold, Horak, and Reinhart as guys with 3rd line upside, Deblouw as a 4th (maybe 3rd) line guy assuming he doesn't bust. Jankowski has top six upside but still has a high bust potential.

And even if we have a bunch that don't bust out altogether some will likely have to move to wing to be effective.

So while we have a bunch of guys that I can see "making it" I don't see any guys that are surefire impact players at center.

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#43 chillout
May 08 2013, 08:58AM
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@seve927

ummmm actually LA and Boston do have franchise players at center. LA has Kopitar, Richards, Carter who are all 1st line centers on most teams and stoll for second line. Boston has Bergeron and Seguin and Krejci and marchand. So I would say they have some pretty sick centers as well. At least 3 #1's on each team....Strangely enough these teams with sick depth at center have each won the cup fairly recently.

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#44 Q
May 08 2013, 09:23AM
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@beloch

Thanks for that! Somehow this summer just got even better!

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#45 seve927
May 08 2013, 09:26AM
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chillout wrote:

ummmm actually LA and Boston do have franchise players at center. LA has Kopitar, Richards, Carter who are all 1st line centers on most teams and stoll for second line. Boston has Bergeron and Seguin and Krejci and marchand. So I would say they have some pretty sick centers as well. At least 3 #1's on each team....Strangely enough these teams with sick depth at center have each won the cup fairly recently.

Yep, back to the definition of franchise player. A lot of people wouldn't call those guys that. If that's the case there are probably about a hundred or more franchise players in the league. Pretty loose definition.

My point being that early in their careers, they wouldn't have been seen as (once again depending on definition) franchise players, or key components. If you're going to open up the definition, then I do think it's possible (and it's hard to ever say it's probable) that the Flames could have a couple or three "franchise players" at center in the pipeline after this draft.

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#46 RexLibris
May 08 2013, 09:53AM
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schevvy wrote:

Canucks lose. Very interested to see how their offseason transpires.

I would think that going out in four straight could light a fire under Gillis.

;-)

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#47 T&A4Flames
May 08 2013, 10:27AM
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RexLibris wrote:

I would think that going out in four straight could light a fire under Gillis.

;-)

To do what, waive players? They are already over the cap for next year with players to sign. They're boned for next year.

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#48 seve927
May 08 2013, 10:37AM
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T&A4Flames wrote:

To do what, waive players? They are already over the cap for next year with players to sign. They're boned for next year.

Sedin's to Nashville!

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#49 Baalzamon
May 08 2013, 10:53AM
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seve927 wrote:

Sedin's to Nashville!

For the Kostitsyns.

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#50 seve927
May 08 2013, 11:37AM
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@Baalzamon

Perfect.

Seriously, I think they'd probably like to move some of their big contracts, but would anyone be willing to pay a whole lot for them right now? Buying out Ballard gives them a bit of room, but I don't see a whole lot they can do.

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