2014 NHL Draft Midseason Top 5: Who Will The Flames Land?

Christian Roatis
January 15 2014 07:18AM

 

                                                                    pic via: TheWorldOfJuniorHockey

The saying "it's been tough sledding" has been all too true in Calgary over the past few weeks. For one, the National Hockey League team rebuilding in the StampedeCity has been having trouble scoring goals, forget winning games, which can really begin to get frustrating. Also, it's been warmer outside of late which has made the snow heavier and stickier making sledding more tough.

The cause for these struggles is obvious - the roster stinks, thanks to the rebuild, which also stinks. There's lots of losing and frustration and yelling "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST SCORE!!". The one positive afforded by a rebuild however, is that the team undergoing it is gifted with a nice and early selection in that years Entry Draft. This luxury is no different for the Flames, who are poised to make the earliest selection in franchise history this June in Philadelphia. Currently slotted at the 3rd overall pick (without taking the Draft Lottery into consideration), the Flames' selection would be the highest ever, with four 6th overall selections (including Sean Monahan this past draft) currently holding down that title.

The 2014 Draft has been pegged by some experts as "poor", which in my honest opinion is not true. 2014 does lack the incredible depth of exceptional talent at the top of it's prospect pool that the 2013 Draft had, however the depth of quality players is still very much there. To sprinkle in some positivity and sunshine into your Flames fan life, here's a look at who the Flames could bag come June, ranked in the order I have them on my list:

1. Aaron Ekblad, D, OHL

He is in my opinion, the only player in this draft class that has star potential and the clear cut number one. There's an argument to be had for Sam Reinhart, but I see the youngest Reinhart settling in as a good second line center, while Ekblad posses top pairing potential. Also ranked first over at Future Considerations, scouts have raved about this kid long before his draft season. He - like John Tavares before him - received exceptional status to enter the OHL draft as a 15 year old, and went 1st overall to the Barrie Colts in said draft. He impressed right away, holding his own extremely well against men nearly four years his senior and came away with 10 goals and 29 points in 63 games. His numbers have steadily and healthily improved with 34 points in 54 games last season and a remarkable 14 goals and 31 points in 31 games in 2013/14. In addition to this, he wears the "C" in Barrie - a leadership role he also held down for Canada at the recent Ivan Hlinka U18 Tournament. To top off a tremendous first half of the season, Ekblad was selected to Canada's U20 World Junior Championship team this winter as an underage defenseman - also a rare feat.

The man-sized 6-foot-4, 216 pound Ekblad has been compared to the top defenseman selected in last years draft, Seth Jones, with some scouts saying they'd prefer Ekblad over Jones. I wouldn't necessarily go that far with Ekblad, but he's a tremendous prospect nonetheless. Ekblad thrives in all zones as his tremendous size and strength in combination with elite hockey sense permit him to shut down opponents equally as well as scores on them. Along side his booming slapshot, Ekblad is a crisp passer and can quarterback a powerplay with ease. He's absent any glaring weaknesses, although some scouts suggest his skating could use a little refinement. If you're the Calgary Flames, you'd be giddy to snatch up this incredible talent.

Potential: Number One Defenseman

NHL Comparable: Victor Hedman

2. Sam Reinhart, C, WHL

Without a doubt, the best eyes and brain in the draft. No one thinks the game at higher level than Sam Reinhart and his vision is off the charts. He gave fans a glimpse of that in the World Juniors - which he also played as an underager - and does so on a regular basis with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. In 176 career WHL games Reinhart has a remarkable 199 points, including 50 points in 33 games this year, 16 of those being goals. The issue with Reinhart remains for me however, his ability to translate this high scoring offensive to the pro ranks. He will undoubtedly score, but I don't see him being an elite scorer. A strong two-way center that contributes here and there seems a more likely outcome for the youngest of Paul Reinhart's kids.

Reinhart's ability to slow down the game is truly incredible, as he affords himself enough time to execute whatever he has in mind on nearly every rush. The 6-foot-1, 183 pound center's keen offensive instincts and quick hands allow him to weave into scoring areas with regularity and a solid shot can bury the puck more often than not. The foot speed is also excellent, as you'd expect. Safe to say he'll have no issue getting up and down the ice in the bigs. Would be a solid pick for the Flames, especially if Sean Monahan turns into the top line center he's looking to be. Having a one-two punch up the middle of Monahan and Reinhart would stymie opponents as both take care of their zone but can bury the puck if given the opportunity.

Potential: TopLineCenter, although I think he settles into a 2nd center role

NHL Comparable: Mike Richards

3. Sam Bennett, C/LW, OHL

The 17 year old has made waves this year, in a big way. His 26 goals and 66 points in 40 games leads the Kingston Frontenacs by a 20 point margin. He was also ranked the Top North American Skater by NHL Central Scouting. I'm clearly on a different wave length than NHL CS on the Bennett ranking, but nonetheless, the ranking speaks volumes about the kid. Scouts rave about how his ability to improve his game night after night, possibly part of the reasoning behind NHL CS ranking him tops. If he keeps improving at the pace he is, he could very well overtake Ekblad and Reinhart, but at this point he's a step behind the two.

Bennett is a pure offensive talent with an excellent shot and deceptive speed. He gets his goals through hard work and determination most of the time rather than flashiness. Bennett's primary weakness was identified as being his lack of strength, but he's bulked up considerably of late, tipping the scales at 181-pounds, a respectable number for a 6-foot, 17 year old. Bennett would be another solid, skilled addition to the Flames' prospect core and would continue to solidify that left wing position that already features a wealth of blue-chip prospects including Sven Baertschi, Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuck.

Potential: Top 6 Forward, could be top line forward.  

NHL Comparable: Chris Kunitz

4. Leon Draisaitl, C/LW, WHL

Draisaitl didn't explode out of the gates this season and lost some attention in the West to Reinhart, who did come out firing on all cylinders. The 6-foot-1, 209 pound Draisaitl however kept steady, piling up points consistently and started gaining some serious attention in the second quarter of the year. He rose to 3rd on Future Considerations' rankings by December - one behind Reinhart - and NHL Central Scouting recently ranked him ahead of both Reinhart and Ekblad, as the 2nd overall North American Skater. Like the Bennett ranking, I disagree with it but nonetheless it speaks volumes of the player. Draisaitl leads the Prince Albert Raiders in scoring by a wide margin with 18 goals and 51 points in 33 games. 

His style of play mimics that of Pavel Datysuk almost to a T, although Datsyuk is obviously a much better player. Draisaitl can have the puck on a string on multiple occasions during a shift and his quick hands and shifty movements allow this lingering with the puck to occur without issue. Also like Datysuk, Draisaitl posses a tremendous ability to locate his teammates in obscure areas on the ice and feed them the puck through traffic, making him a valuable weapon on the power play. My only real concern with Draisaitl lies in his foot speed. He has a solid stride and good edge work, but doesn't seem to posses that elite gear where he can blow past a defender. He'd be a valuable addition to a Flames group screaming for skill and could do wonders for an ailing powerplay. 

Potential: Top 6 Forward, could be a top line forward.

NHL Comparable: Pavel Datsyuk

5. William Nylander C/RW

One of the biggest fallers from the beginning of the season, Nylander was talked up to be a contender for the 1st overall spot to start the year and has now fallen out of most Top 5's. Plauged by inconsistency, Nylander didn't get off to a strong statistical start this year in the SHL, posting just two helpers in 11 games before being loaned to teams in the AllSVENskan, where he rediscovered his stride. Currently, he has 9 goals and 16 points in 24 Allsvenskan games with two different teams this year.

The 5-foot-10, 170 pound forward can be as dynamic player as there is in the draft when he's own, as he posses incredible skill and offensive ability. Lightning quick hands partner up with his equally quick feet to bolt on defenders and create scoring opportunities. His goal scoring savvy is undeniable but he may be even better suited as a playmaker with elite vision and puck distributing abilities. The only problem is obviously stringing it all together on a consistent basis. With guys like Ekblad and Reinhart who bring it every night, Nylander becomes more of a liability as a top pick in this draft. He is born in Calgary - father Michael used to frustrate locals as a roster player - and like Draisaitl, would be a great skill upgrade for this team. He reminds me a lot of Sven Baertschi and it makes me wonder if Nylander will have similar growing pains as Sven has had, revolving around consistency and play outside the offensive zone. Wouldn't it be great if Hartley had two of the same guy to bench?

Potential: Top Line Forward, although there is considerable risk.

NHL Comparable: Sven Baertschi, Jiri Hudler

Wild Card: Jake Virtanen, LW, WHL

Without a doubt the biggest Wild Card in the 2014 Draft class. Some nights, he's a man among boys, dominating opponents every which way, imposing his will, while others, you find yourself checking the roster sheet to make sure he's even playing. This inconsistency has been the driving factor behind his erratic rise and fall in draft rankings. One month he's ranked inside the top 10 and then the next he almost plummets out of the Top 30. He had a brutal stretch from the middle of November to early December, which lead to a free fall in the rankings, but has since switched into another gear and is flying full steam. NHL Central Scouting ranked him the 9th overall North American skater, and I would go as far as saying he's a Top 10 overall prospect in this draft. His scoring has also picked up significantly recently and now sits at 26 genos and 42 points in 43 games this year. Some scouts have said it, and having watched him a lot this year I've come to agree, when he's on, Jake Virtanen is the best and most dominant player in this draft. Unfortunately he's not always on and has struggled at times with attitude and work ethic issues, which can be addressed, but are problematic nonetheless.

At 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, Virtanen is one of the fastest skaters in the draft - both forwards and backwards. He proved just that at the CHL Top Prospects combine yesterday finishing as the fastest skater, both forwards and backwards. For a forward of his size, that skating ability is extremely impressive. Virtanen posses good hands and vision but when talking about his offensive tools, it's his shot that is the crown jewel of his arsenal. It seems at times his wrister travels just as fast as his slapper - and that's no knock on his slapshot. Both are rockets. He can deliver bone crushing bodychecks and won't back down from scrapping anyone. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Jarome Iginla. If the Flames don't get a shot at either Ekblad or Reinhart, I think they'll a long look at Jake Virtanen before they make their up to the podium. He brings a ton to the table, the table just isn't very tidy yet. Sort out any commitment and attitude issues that may exist, and you've got yourself a hell of a player.

Potential: Top Line Forward, considerable risk.

NHL Comparable: Bobby Ryan

Conclusion

The 2014 NHL Draft may not yield as many All-Stars as its predecessor did, but there's no shortage of quality players, even outside the six I listed. Short a miraculous run, the Flames will get to select one of these players in June and will no doubt come away with someone who will impact the organization going forward.

 

 

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Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
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#1 Dave
January 15 2014, 07:39AM
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Excellent article. I'm very excited for the draft. My top choice would be Ekblad. I think the flames D is alright now which will allow him to develop without having to rush him up. It also gives him good role models to follow.

If we can't draft Ekblad then I believe we need to draft a Center. Reinhart would be a fine addition in my books.

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#2 Parallex
January 15 2014, 08:31AM
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Good call on the Datsyuk comp... I was watching highlight reels of him a week ago and I was trying to think of who he reminded me of (stylistically speaking).

I dunno about Ekblad... after watching the black hole at Center the team has had I wouldn't object to shoring up the center position.

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#3 Peekin Saprykin
January 15 2014, 07:57AM
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I'm hoping we can take Ekblad with our pick as well, but I'd like to see about acquiring another pick to get a chance at Virtanen. He may be a risk, but as long as we have a sure fire hit (Ekblad), I would take that risk all day long. While he is inconsistant, I feel this is far less risky than, say, Mark Jankowski (Not to hate on poor Janko)

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#4 ChinookArch
January 15 2014, 12:35PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

Thomas Drance raised some questions that scare me about Ekblad.

All but 4 of his goals are on the PP. He is being outshot at EV Str quite regularly when he is on the ice for the Colts. All prime indicators that the kid is probably more Jack Johnson than Drew Doughty.

Just say no to Jack Johnson.

Sam Reinhart is the way to go. The kid has been a dominant player in the WHL for he Ice since he debuted as a 15 year old.

Let's right say you are right and Ekblad does become Jack Johnson 2.0, and let's then imagine that the order of the top three are: Buffalo, Edmonton, Calgary.

My dream scenario is that Buffalo goes to either Bennet or Reinhardt with Ekblad falling to the Oilers. The Oilers have to pick a defenseman., and Calgary laughs for a full decade.

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#5 Baalzamon
January 15 2014, 08:43AM
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Julius Honka!

... no?

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#6 aloudoun
January 15 2014, 09:00AM
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Ekblad is my clear #1 as well for Flames drafting.

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#7 Tenbrucelees
January 15 2014, 11:21AM
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I'm still hoping for the playoffs this season!

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#8 Kevin R
January 15 2014, 12:02PM
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Those friggin Oilers pi... me off! We finally win a game & it takes the Oil with their elite players (us Flame fans are so allegedly jealous of) 3 weeks to get back to 1 point behind us playing 2 more games. FFS! I see Buff, then Oilers then us picking. At this point I think we need to try & get Ekblad. I understand the debate, but dmen do take longer to reach their peak & it would be good to get started on developing a future top 2 dman sooner than later. Thing is, Buff don't need Ekblad, Oilers desperately do. You wonder what it would take to flip picks with Buff? Then, if we can get another 1st for Cammi, flipping Sven & that other 1st for a top 5 pick.

Damn Oilers, they are sunk on playoffs & I think MacT is just going to let them coast to another Top 3 pick & do nothing at this TDL other than getting a 3rd for Hemsky. Damn them Oilers, useless pieces of shight.

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#9 Kevin R
January 15 2014, 02:18PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Let's right say you are right and Ekblad does become Jack Johnson 2.0, and let's then imagine that the order of the top three are: Buffalo, Edmonton, Calgary.

My dream scenario is that Buffalo goes to either Bennet or Reinhardt with Ekblad falling to the Oilers. The Oilers have to pick a defenseman., and Calgary laughs for a full decade.

I get the concern, but any of these kids may not meet expectations. What if Ekblad & Nurse tandem wind up being Edmontons 1-2 D & haunt us down the road? That could happen too. From what I saw at the WJC, I liked Ekblad & felt he was the player Flames should target. Good for us & it screws the Oil.

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#10 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 15 2014, 02:19PM
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lionlager wrote:

Just a thought, but anyone else think that Burke might not let go of the reigns now that he has them? He fired Feaster, said he didn't fire him just to take over the job, reportedly now offered it to nieuwendyk, Joe turned it down. Could have happened how it was reported, but its sort of convenient to keep Burke in charge throughout this next round of selloffs and drafting.

"anyone else"? I'd say most everyone is considering the idea that Burke finds the best GM right in his own mirror

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#11 kittensandcookies
January 15 2014, 03:11PM
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@RexLibris

Wow. Oilers have been rebuilding for __ years and the margin between the Flames and them is small? Good job!

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#12 Kmp
January 15 2014, 07:51PM
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I like Ekblad, but not as a top 3 pick. Same thing for Reinhart. Right now I would go Draisaitl, but a trade for 2 first rounders (Anaheim) would be a nice option.

How about Sven for Adam Larsson.

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#13 Burnward
January 15 2014, 08:51PM
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@Kmp

Not near enough I think dude.

If you went with something like...Wideman, Baertschi, Stajan for Larsson and Zajac...that might get you in the door.

I dunno. HFBoards area here.

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#14 Baalzamon
January 15 2014, 09:01PM
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@Burnward

Why not simplify? Baertschi and Reinhart for Larsson.

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#15 McRib
January 15 2014, 09:01AM
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Solid piece agree with everything in the Top. 4 which is where we are likely drafting, but I would replace William Nylander with Michael Dal Colle. Dal Colle has just exploded this year offensively where Nylander has plateaued slightly after failing to make SEL Team, that would be the differece for me. Man oh man, Jake Virtanen has been exciting to watch this season when he has been on excellent sleeper choice. If we even could somehow collect a middle of the first rounder for a Cammy Package (doubtful I know) he still could be available. Scouts are all over the map with him, has all the talent in the world though as everyone in Calgary is aware when he is on his game. Most explosive skater by far in the draft for me!! Jake Virtanen has also made some Pavel Datsyuk like deeks this season. He went backhand shelf a couple of games ago a blew my mind.

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#16 redhot1
January 15 2014, 09:09AM
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If it comes down to Buffalo and Calgary (hopefully), I believe the Sabres will take Sam Reinhart, due to their depth at defense, and lack of scoring. If they Flames keeps trending downwards, and if the Oilers could win some games (tentative go Oilers) Ekblad could fall into Calgary's lap. Even if the Flames could win the lottery, I would still take Ekblad. We can shore up our centre position with a pick in next years draft, with either Eichel or McDavid. If we get a first round pick for Cammaleri in this year's draft, from a place like Pitt, I would draft a large winger, preferably a RW, with the late first round pick

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#17 Bean-counting cowboy
January 15 2014, 09:38AM
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I want me some Ekblad please!

The nice thing about this draft is that if you draft anywhere in the top four you still might end up with the best player of the draft. The recent ISS rankings have given me a bit more confidence that if we slip out of the top 2, there won't be a huge drop off to 3 and then 4.

I was initially worried that there was a big drop off from the top 2 but it doesn't seem to be shaping up that way anymore.

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#18 jeremywilhelm
January 15 2014, 09:49AM
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Thomas Drance raised some questions that scare me about Ekblad.

All but 4 of his goals are on the PP. He is being outshot at EV Str quite regularly when he is on the ice for the Colts. All prime indicators that the kid is probably more Jack Johnson than Drew Doughty.

Just say no to Jack Johnson.

Sam Reinhart is the way to go. The kid has been a dominant player in the WHL for he Ice since he debuted as a 15 year old.

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#19 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 15 2014, 09:52AM
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ive enjoyed this year more than any in recent memory. Hoping Burke doesnt screw things up, and hope ownership realizes fans prefer a rebuild over win now bandaid fixes.

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#20 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 15 2014, 09:57AM
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regarding Burke, I am not sure he has ever had the latitude and resources at his disposal as he does now. oodles of cap space, no behemoth contracts handcuffing him, ownership that wants to win and willing to spend to the cap, draft pics, a smattering of trade-able vets, a serviceable coach and good development team, a few prospects with skill potential...

he really must be like a kid in a candy store compared to the crap heap he had to work with out east of Eden.

do it right Burke and we will let you stay. ;-)

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#21 Johnny Be Gaudreau
January 15 2014, 10:22AM
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I know I am going to catch some flack for this. But it wouldn't be a healthy discussion if everyone just all nodded their heads and readily agreed with each other.

I know Ekblad has been granted exceptional status and everything. However, in the time that I have watched him this year he doesn't strike me as having op pair potential in the NHL. His skating is lacklustre in my opinion and he has a very awkward stride. I also find his decision making to be suspect at times. My concern is that all the hype around him being granted exceptional status and his ability to score as defenseman in the OHL coupled with his large size is feeding the hype. My opinion is he won't realize his potential in the NHL and he'll likely level out as a 3,4,5 depth pairing guy.

In that regard I hope he doesn't fall into Calgary's lap given Calgary's precedented past for drafting big busts.

Out of the prospects that I've watched in the top 5. I actually hope the Flames go after Bennett. I know he's listed as a Centre in the OHL records. TSR and central scouting have him listed as a LW. Even though finding LW players seems to be easy in this league and we have some depth there. I think Bennett has the potential to be that all around scoring winger the Flames could really use. He also thinks the game at a high level enough so that they could easily convert him to RW. Watch him closely if you get a chance his skating stride is very fluid and smooth. He's a solid skater and that deceptive shot is Iggy-esque. I salivate picturing Bennett flying down the Right while Poirier flying down the left and the Flames having a skilled speedy line in a couple of years.

I said this on twitter last night but I get the same feeling watching Bennett play about him that I got watching Monahan play this time last year. But it's just so weird for me to think the Flames would draft 2 OHL kids in a row. Lol.

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#22 seve927
January 15 2014, 11:35AM
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I'm very fearful of Ekblad as well. The Colts are 9 goals to the negative on the year with him on the ice compared to when he's off. The Rebels on the other hand are 25 goals better with Fleury on the ice than off. Honka by the same metic is +10, McKeown +17. I know people don't put much stock in +/-, but looking at it in this relative sense I think it's more meaningful. Last year Monahan was +15 relative while being -18 absolute.

Watching Ekblad at WJC, I thought he made a lot of bad decisions and really didn't look good in his own end. I don't see the athleticism of a Seth Jones or Darnell Nurse (-17 using the above WOWY calculation, Josh Morrissey by comparison is +33) that would make me think he's likely to get that much better. If perception of him is that high, I think it could be a great time to trade down, get a better pick, and get another pick or prospect as well.

I'd rank the forwards Bennett, Reinhart, Draisaitl, DalColle, Perlini with very little to pick between any of them. Meaning I'd be happy drafting as low as 7 or 8 if it meant adding another good prospect.

Intriguing mid round picks for me are Adrian Kempe, Julius Honka, Roland McKeown, Connor Bleackley, Nickolay Goldobin.

All that said, the Blues turned Erik Johnson into Shattenkirk, and the Kings got Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson, so I'd expect Ekblad to have some decent trade value for a while even if he didn't work out for the Flames. I'll be disappointed if they draft him though.

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#23 suba steve
January 15 2014, 12:18PM
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@Kevin R

"Damn Oilers, they are sunk on playoffs & I think MacT is just going to let them coast to another Top 3 pick & do nothing at this TDL other than getting a 3rd for Hemsky. Damn them Oilers, useless pieces of shight."

That really would be a "BOLD" move by MacT, considering how restless their fans are getting (and rightly so).

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#24 ChinookArch
January 15 2014, 05:03PM
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Kevin R wrote:

I get the concern, but any of these kids may not meet expectations. What if Ekblad & Nurse tandem wind up being Edmontons 1-2 D & haunt us down the road? That could happen too. From what I saw at the WJC, I liked Ekblad & felt he was the player Flames should target. Good for us & it screws the Oil.

You forgot to image that he's Jack Johnson 2.0.

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#25 Byron Bader
January 15 2014, 05:05PM
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MonsterPod wrote:

Flames core in four:

McDavid Monahan Ekblad Gilles

Ah... though I don't want to jinx it.

No Gaudreau for you?

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#26 ChinookArch
January 15 2014, 10:16PM
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@Kevin R

I think you need to read the thread again. Until tonight I had never even seen Ekblad play, and still have no real opinion of what he'll become in the NHL.

I was kidding at the Oilers expense.

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#28 Dave
January 15 2014, 09:42AM
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I really can't see the flames drafting 5 or lower. I think the flames will place 29th or 28th and some other team might win the lottery and move ahead, but either way they are going to get a good player!

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#29 Monaertchi
January 15 2014, 09:56AM
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BPA for me please. I don't give a hairy rats butt what are current roster requires, or the future roster. That's what trades are for.

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#30 bookofloob
January 15 2014, 10:14AM
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Reinhart please

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#31 Baalzamon
January 15 2014, 11:10AM
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Monaertchi wrote:

BPA for me please. I don't give a hairy rats butt what are current roster requires, or the future roster. That's what trades are for.

Exactly... but what I don't get is why people always complain about proposed trades in this vein because they're not ready to "give up" on the player.

If the Flames traded Sven Baertschi right now for a top defense prospect, people will say they "gave up" too soon. That isn't giving up. It's trading surplus (playing somewhat fast and loose with the term) for need.

Okay, that was a little off topic...

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#32 seve927
January 15 2014, 11:39AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Exactly... but what I don't get is why people always complain about proposed trades in this vein because they're not ready to "give up" on the player.

If the Flames traded Sven Baertschi right now for a top defense prospect, people will say they "gave up" too soon. That isn't giving up. It's trading surplus (playing somewhat fast and loose with the term) for need.

Okay, that was a little off topic...

Funny you'd mention that. I've been just looking at teams overloaded with older D prospects that might be interested in swapping for Sven - I don't know much about these guys but New Jersey would seem to be in the market for some youthful offense - Jon Merrill? Phoenix, David Rundblad? NYI, Matt Donovan?

Could we get more? Less?

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#33 SmellOfVictory
January 15 2014, 11:52AM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Exactly... but what I don't get is why people always complain about proposed trades in this vein because they're not ready to "give up" on the player.

If the Flames traded Sven Baertschi right now for a top defense prospect, people will say they "gave up" too soon. That isn't giving up. It's trading surplus (playing somewhat fast and loose with the term) for need.

Okay, that was a little off topic...

Well there have been a number of suggestions that Baertschi should be traded for underperforming D prospects from other teams. That is what I'd consider "giving up" on him. Because we can see clearly how he's doing (or the org can) while he's struggling, whereas they're going in partially blind when they go after another team's struggling prospect. So basically they're saying "better the devil you don't know than the one you do", which indicates a low expectation for Sven's turnout.

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#34 lionlager
January 15 2014, 11:57AM
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Just a thought, but anyone else think that Burke might not let go of the reigns now that he has them? He fired Feaster, said he didn't fire him just to take over the job, reportedly now offered it to nieuwendyk, Joe turned it down. Could have happened how it was reported, but its sort of convenient to keep Burke in charge throughout this next round of selloffs and drafting.

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#35 lionlager
January 15 2014, 02:33PM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

Fair enough. Just saying that with Burke's clear statement about how he isn't going to fire anyone to take their job, and with the news that nieuwendyk was offered the job and turned it down, Burke's now showed that he 'tried' and can now appoint himself GM without it looking like he fired a guy to steal his job (which is looking increasingly probable).

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#36 T&A4Flames
January 15 2014, 03:06PM
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redhot1 wrote:

If it comes down to Buffalo and Calgary (hopefully), I believe the Sabres will take Sam Reinhart, due to their depth at defense, and lack of scoring. If they Flames keeps trending downwards, and if the Oilers could win some games (tentative go Oilers) Ekblad could fall into Calgary's lap. Even if the Flames could win the lottery, I would still take Ekblad. We can shore up our centre position with a pick in next years draft, with either Eichel or McDavid. If we get a first round pick for Cammaleri in this year's draft, from a place like Pitt, I would draft a large winger, preferably a RW, with the late first round pick

One name for you...

Alex Tuch

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#37 the-wolf
January 15 2014, 03:38PM
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To me Ekblad is the clear #1.

Disagree on Reinhart, I think he has more potential than Monahan and could easily grow into a #1 center.

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#38 MonsterPod
January 15 2014, 04:35PM
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Flames core in four:

McDavid Monahan Ekblad Gilles

Ah... though I don't want to jinx it.

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#39 Kevin R
January 15 2014, 05:25PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

You forgot to image that he's Jack Johnson 2.0.

So, like how do you know he is J.Johnson 2.0? What special crystal ball do you have that you know Ekblad would not make a solid top 2 dman on the Calgary Flames? Just curious, I love the Chinook we are currently having & I just want to understand what I am missing.

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#40 Kevin R
January 15 2014, 05:30PM
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RexLibris wrote:

MacTavish is making a few moves here and there (Scrivens in for Dubnyk, Hendricks basically replacing Ryan Jones), but I expect he'll move a tonne of bodies at the deadline (Gagner, likely, but Hemsky, N. Schultz, Smyth, Bryzgalov, Potter, Jones, and Belov are all expiring UFAs).

The team is sunk and isn't in a position of strength to move anything of significant value and get equal return.

They'll likely make the biggest moves at the draft (Gagner's NTC kicks in July 1st) or during the summer (maybe something like Eberle for Couturier, who knows) when they are on more even footing with trade partners.

Most Oilers fans and bloggers seem to feel that they'll have 29th locked up, and it is hard to think otherwise. Buffalo is probably going to subtract Ryan Miller at the deadline and they don't score enough to absorb that loss, while Burke's history suggests that he'll want warm bodies back in trade, meaning the Flames could get younger without getting noticeably worse.

There's still a long ways to go yet, though. Anything could happen and the margin between the three teams is pretty small, all things considered.

I only have 1 response to you Rex. That SOB MacT reads this sight, saw my post & decided to pull the trigger on that trade to make me look foolish. He's an SOB, where's a woodshed?

So based on what you think, Oilers are going to trade Bryz & fly with Scrivens & go into next year with Scrivens as your #1? You guys going for McDavid as well?

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#41 coachedpotatoe
January 15 2014, 06:02PM
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Monaertchi wrote:

BPA for me please. I don't give a hairy rats butt what are current roster requires, or the future roster. That's what trades are for.

What do you do if your scouting staff can't come to a consensus on BPA? This draft could come down to that. If it does you certainly need to consider immediate needs, depth in the organization and team philosophy. If the Flames cannot agree on BPA, Burke will make the decision based upon team need and his philosophy, which means he will likely take Ekblad or which ever forward is both skilled and big. I don't see burke just taking a small skilled guy if there is a skilled big guy. Personally I don't know enough about any of them yet to make a decision, also will be determined by draft order.

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#42 Burnward
January 15 2014, 09:52PM
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@Baalzamon

TRIGGER PULLED!!!

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#43 Kevin R
January 15 2014, 10:48PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

I think you need to read the thread again. Until tonight I had never even seen Ekblad play, and still have no real opinion of what he'll become in the NHL.

I was kidding at the Oilers expense.

Ohhhh. Ok. Sorry. I was confused, not hard some days to confuse me. I there was something out there that was flagging a big flag saying runaway as fast as you can from picking Ekblad. I liked the kid when I watched him at the WJC. Sorry dude.

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#45 Ryan Pike
January 15 2014, 08:56AM
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By sheer coincidence, one can see the top two guys (and the wild-card) tonight at the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game!

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#47 Baalzamon
January 15 2014, 11:43AM
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@seve927

McKeown and (especially) Honka are excellent sleepers this year. Honka, in particular, doesn't get enough credit for his own-zone play IMO.

I'll admit I don't watch Ekblad enough to have a reliable opinion of him.... but my impression from the WJC was that he was absolutely carrying Derrick Pouliot at even strength, who gave him no help whatsoever defensively.

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#48 MonsterPod
January 15 2014, 02:25PM
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I'm on the fence. Clearly we need both an elite center and an elite D. And I disagree that you just take the best player. If we have plans for Klimchuk, Baertschi, possibly Poirier, and don't forget Gaudreau, then we need to look at a RW before a LW, like Jake Virtanen. Not in the #1-3 spot, but you get the idea.

Edmonton took the best player in Yakupov and they should have selected the best D man instead. Or traded down a few spots and taken a D.

There seems to be less risk in Reinhart. If he's a stellar #1, great. But if he becomes a really good #2, he wouldn't be a bust. But if Ekblad doesn't become Pronger, it seems like everyone will have a hernia.

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#49 RexLibris
January 15 2014, 02:34PM
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@Kevin R

MacTavish is making a few moves here and there (Scrivens in for Dubnyk, Hendricks basically replacing Ryan Jones), but I expect he'll move a tonne of bodies at the deadline (Gagner, likely, but Hemsky, N. Schultz, Smyth, Bryzgalov, Potter, Jones, and Belov are all expiring UFAs).

The team is sunk and isn't in a position of strength to move anything of significant value and get equal return.

They'll likely make the biggest moves at the draft (Gagner's NTC kicks in July 1st) or during the summer (maybe something like Eberle for Couturier, who knows) when they are on more even footing with trade partners.

Most Oilers fans and bloggers seem to feel that they'll have 29th locked up, and it is hard to think otherwise. Buffalo is probably going to subtract Ryan Miller at the deadline and they don't score enough to absorb that loss, while Burke's history suggests that he'll want warm bodies back in trade, meaning the Flames could get younger without getting noticeably worse.

There's still a long ways to go yet, though. Anything could happen and the margin between the three teams is pretty small, all things considered.

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#50 Burnward
January 15 2014, 09:54PM
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@RexLibris

We may get warm bodies back...but we have to free up a few contracts before the end of the NCAA, CHL seasons.

So a sell off isn't out of the question. Going to be interesting though.

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