Flames First Three Rounds: A Retrospective

Ryan Pike
June 26 2014 11:08AM

It's almost time!

The 2014 NHL Draft goes Friday and Saturday from scenic Philadelphia, PA. The Calgary Flames own five picks in the first three rounds. To edify my own curiosity, I went ahead and made a fancy table of every Flames pick in the first three rounds since 2001 - the year Tod Button became head scout and began running the draft board. Each player is listed in overall order, and listed with the number of pro games they've played split into North America's three major leagues (the NHL, the AHL and the ECHL).

Table after the jump!

Pick
Year
Player
NHL
GP
AHL
GP
ECHL
GP
4
2014
TBA



6
2013  Monahan
75


2003
Phaneuf
680


10
2002
Nystrom
487
109

13
2011
Baertschi
53
73

14
2001  Kobasew
601
139

21
2012
Jankowski



22
2013
Poirier

2

23
2009
Erixon
51
132

24
2004
Chucko
2
277

24
2007  Backlund
246
55

25
2008
Nemisz
15
220

26
2005
Pelech
13
386

26
2006
Irving [G]
13
194
8
28
2013
Klimchuk

4

34
2014
TBA



39
2002
McConnell


138
39
2003
Ramholt
1
210

41
2001
Taratukhin

80

42
2012
Sieloff

2

45
2011
Granlund
7
52

48
2008
Wahl

71
148
54
2014 TBA



56
2001
Medvedev [G]



57  2011
Wotherspoon
14
48

64
2010
Reinhart
19
134

64
2014
TBA



67
2013
Kanzig



69
2005
Baldwin

263
41
70
2004
Prust
369
221

70
2007
Negrin
3
143
53
73
2010
Leach

6
59
74
2005
Ryder

45
4
74
2008
Howse

59
20
75
2012
Gillies [G]



78
2008
Bouma
121
95

83
2014
TBA



87
2006
Armstrong

177
140
89
2006
Marvin

5
65
90
2002
Lombardi
536
86

97
2003
Donally

104
105
98
2004
Boyd
220
136

-Four straight-up bust first rounders here in Chucko, Pelech, Irving and Nemisz. Granted, Chucko might've turned into a Lance Bouma-esque depth guy had it not been for concussion issues. At least the Flames got a roster player for Nemisz, right?

-Second-round whiffs: Taratukhin, Ramholt, McConnell, Wahl... No wonder Darryl Sutter kept trading his seconds away! However, Granlund and Wotherspoon seem good so far.

-Third-round mistakes: Baldwin, Ryder, Howse, Armstrong, Marvin, Donally. Good thirds: Reinhart, Prust, Bouma, Lombardi. Negrin is roughly what I expect from a third rounder - a depth guy for the farm team, verging on being a tweener in the NHL at times.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#2 Reidja
June 26 2014, 12:21PM
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Respectfully, blaming the Flames draft performance on one man is incredibly (bad word edited by editor).

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#3 Dave
June 26 2014, 12:56PM
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@Justin Azevedo

I think to get an accurate assessment you'd have to look at Todd Buttons draft list. Not the actual drafted players.

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#4 Justin Azevedo
June 26 2014, 11:37AM
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man tod button objectively isn't good at his job

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#5 theCalgaryJames
June 26 2014, 05:56PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

so has holditch, and I'll remind you about 2008. means nothing. their job description is what they do. the flames are poor in those areas. simple.

…OVERsimple.

The drafting has drastically improved in the years since Sutter's departure. Especially when you look at the late round picks made by the organization. So, what's more likely? That Button is a terrible scout (though widely respected) who just turned into a good scout in the last 3 drafts that just so happened to coincide with Sutter's autocratic regime coming to an end? Or that a massive change in organizational philosophy culminating with the ousting of Sutter allowed for Button along with Feaster and Wisebrod to improve the flames stable of prospects dramatically in the 3 years since…?

The logic of blaming Button for a series of decisions that weren't REALLY his to make seems flawed to me. His job is to inform the decision makers so that they can make the best decision. If they decide they know better or to disregard his input altogether then what more can he actually do?

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#6 Justin Azevedo
June 26 2014, 12:24PM
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@Reidja

enjoy the probation. that language doesn't fly here.

regardless, if your department was operating at 60% efficiency and you were the head of it, there would be significant reprimands because of it. I'm pretty sure it's fair to blame the head of amateur scouting for poor amateur scouting. the "sutter drafted those guys" defense doesn't work either: if button's input wasn't being used, what incentive would there have been to employ him?

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#7 beloch
June 26 2014, 12:36PM
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One other thing... I suspect we'd all feel a bit better about things if you had included the fourth round (e.g. Brodie, Gaudreau...).

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#8 Justin Azevedo
June 26 2014, 12:06PM
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@redricardo

I'll also mention that the latest incarnation of sham sharron, which is literally a non-existent entity, beat the flames drafting over this period as well. so the flames did worse than anyone could have done had you just given them the spreadsheets and a basic understanding of math and age.

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#9 PrairieStew
June 26 2014, 12:10PM
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The second most successful pick in terms of games played is Chuck Kobasew. That's some kind of special awful. Granted it looks like Backlund and Monahan should surpass him but still. And this survery just missed the Krahn, Saprykin, Fata, Tkaczuck first round whiffs.....

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#10 BurningSensation
June 26 2014, 03:47PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

man tod button objectively isn't good at his job

Given how big a swing we see in quality from Button once Dutter isn't standing over his shoulder, I'm happy to put the blame on men higher up for Calgary's horror show at the draft.

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#11 EugeneV
June 27 2014, 02:56AM
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Justin, at the risk of being cut off by you again, I think you show all the maturity I expect of a 22 year old University student.

How is my language on this post?

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#12 redricardo
June 26 2014, 11:57AM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

man tod button objectively isn't good at his job

Totally agree. The last couple drafts look like they've made up some ground, but overall, this is an organizational area that is holding this team back.

I won't be surprised one bit if Button is replaced shortly afer this draft.

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#13 beloch
June 26 2014, 12:35PM
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To be fair to Irving, he may still make it in the NHL. He's certainly close. He's not a legitimate bust. However, picking him in the 1st round does illustrate rather graphically why you don't pick goalies in the first round ever!

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#14 the-wolf
June 26 2014, 04:03PM
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Exactly. The guy has survived 5 GM's, I think? You only do that with meticulous notes on who you wanted vs who they made you take.

Trying to decipher the inner politics of an organizations decision making process is almost impossible.

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#15 BJ
June 26 2014, 06:24PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

man tod button objectively isn't good at his job

That presumes that Button is responsible for making the picks... he isnt... the GM is.

How much power and influence he has we will never know... especially under Sutter... interestingly enough things seem to improve under Feaster...

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#16 Lordmork
June 26 2014, 12:02PM
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But Howse just signed in the ECHL! Maybe he'll make a comeback!

Jokes aside, I want to feel better about the past 3 years, but there at 67 is Kanzig. I hope he succeeds, but he feels like a huge waste of a third given his NHLE, and a perfect example of drafting for size, not skill.

We have a lot of picks this year, and it could be a pivotal draft if we can improve our depth at key positions. Or we could draft more coke machines. I remain cautiously optimistic!

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#17 PrairieStew
June 26 2014, 12:16PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

@redricardo

I'll also mention that the latest incarnation of sham sharron, which is literally a non-existent entity, beat the flames drafting over this period as well. so the flames did worse than anyone could have done had you just given them the spreadsheets and a basic understanding of math and age.

It is fascinating to hear management types talk about how important scouting is, yet the success rate is pretty much 1 in 4 regardless. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a team dispense with amateur scouting altogehter - use Central Scouting's list and then spend money on development. Instead of employing 10 scouts - have 10 developmental coaches that just work with the guys you have already drafted. Each guy would only have 2 or 3 amateurs to be responsible for.

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#18 mattyc
June 26 2014, 12:23PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

man tod button objectively isn't good at his job

does anyone think their scouts are good at their job?

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#19 Ed Wailin'
June 26 2014, 03:26PM
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Man is that ever depressing!

This TSN article put things in perspective for me a little however, it really is a crap-shoot:

http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=69581

And speaking of taking goalies in the first round.... The 1990 Draft was a particularly memorable one for me, as I was super stoked on Trevor Kidd's flashy pads and insanely sweet mullet, after reading this though, I am so depressed on so many levels:

"The Flames and Devils swapped picks on draft day (1990) in what would become a goalie swap. Calgary moved up to 13 to take Trevor Kidd. The Devils used Calgary's pick on Martin Brodeur."

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#20 Bean-counting cowboy
June 26 2014, 12:00PM
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Given that we have two 2nd & two 3rds, I hope the odds are better for us this year than what history suggests!

unrelated - If Florida is hell bent on selling the 1st overall, I have a feeling Vancouver is going to make a push for it to select local boy Sam Reinhart.

I really hope this happens because then Buffalo with #2 (already with strong prospects on defense) likely take Bennett. Given EDM prospect pool is strong on defense and weak on forwards, MacTavish decides to take the big German since that man crush runs too deep. Ekblad then falls to Flames!

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#21 the forgotten man
June 26 2014, 12:16PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

@redricardo

I'll also mention that the latest incarnation of sham sharron, which is literally a non-existent entity, beat the flames drafting over this period as well. so the flames did worse than anyone could have done had you just given them the spreadsheets and a basic understanding of math and age.

Yeah, the ol' "even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut" analogy. Irregardless of the last couple of drafts, Button should have been let go ages ago - horrible drafting for over a decade is what has decimated this Franchise - I lay this on Ken King's shoulders.

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#22 Jordan
June 26 2014, 01:07PM
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Does anybody know if they show the second round on TV or online?

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#23 Kenta
June 26 2014, 02:05PM
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I think we may be giving Button too much credit/blame. During the Sutter years I don't think he had much say as the slugs we tended to pick in the first round had Darrel's fingerprints all over them. I don't know if the Feaster drafts were generally better because Button had more say or Feaster/Weisbrod did. That is why this year should be interesting.

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#24 theCalgaryJames
June 26 2014, 03:10PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

man tod button objectively isn't good at his job

Perhaps playing devil's advocate here…

Do we think it's Button or the fact that Darryl Sutter was a one man show as GM of this team for so long? Is the fact that the drafting has improved over the last couple of years more an indication of a more open consensus between Button and Feaster/Weisbrod?

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#25 Justin Azevedo
June 26 2014, 12:22PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

It is fascinating to hear management types talk about how important scouting is, yet the success rate is pretty much 1 in 4 regardless. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a team dispense with amateur scouting altogehter - use Central Scouting's list and then spend money on development. Instead of employing 10 scouts - have 10 developmental coaches that just work with the guys you have already drafted. Each guy would only have 2 or 3 amateurs to be responsible for.

I think that there are about 10 core players on a team. over a decade, they need to be replaced. essentially, if you're finding one top-6 forward or one top-4 defenseman per draft, you're doing a good job. I count 3 guys (lombardi, backlund, phaneuf) that qualify under that. I think there are 6 maybes too (last year's first rounders, erixon, granlund and baertschi). if I'm being generous, instead of finding 10 in 10 - which I think should be the goal - button has found like 8 in 13.

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#26 schevvy
June 26 2014, 12:44PM
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I can't believe Chuck Kobasew has played over 600 games

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#27 Tony
June 26 2014, 01:47PM
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Jordan wrote:

Does anybody know if they show the second round on TV or online?

Looks like rounds 2 through 7 will be shown on the NHL network starting at 8am mountain time.

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#28 Captain Ron
June 26 2014, 01:50PM
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beloch wrote:

To be fair to Irving, he may still make it in the NHL. He's certainly close. He's not a legitimate bust. However, picking him in the 1st round does illustrate rather graphically why you don't pick goalies in the first round ever!

Carey Price.

Just saying

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#29 mattyc
June 26 2014, 12:28PM
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Also: remember when Chuck Kobasew was looking like a super solid prospect. I remember the exhibition season where he was leading the league in goals, and looked like a legit top 6 fwd. What happened?!

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#30 Jordan
June 26 2014, 02:30PM
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@Tony

Thanks man. Looks like a early morning for me then.

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#31 Jeff Lebowski
June 26 2014, 12:04PM
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I found this mildly interesting: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/draft_bests.php?page=1

Without actually tallying it seems Calgary has drafted a lot of the best players (as described) at specific draft positions, going back, way back.

So, it's like who is the best* 123rd overall draftpick?

I was surprised at how many players were Calgary picks.

*again the best pick might not be a distinguished player. Also, guys like Gretzky weren't obtained in an amateur draft.

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#32 PrairieStew
June 26 2014, 01:39PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

I think that there are about 10 core players on a team. over a decade, they need to be replaced. essentially, if you're finding one top-6 forward or one top-4 defenseman per draft, you're doing a good job. I count 3 guys (lombardi, backlund, phaneuf) that qualify under that. I think there are 6 maybes too (last year's first rounders, erixon, granlund and baertschi). if I'm being generous, instead of finding 10 in 10 - which I think should be the goal - button has found like 8 in 13.

Agree with your numbers 2-3 guys per year; but you didn't comment on my premise to completely dispense with team amateur scouting. I know it won't happen but it is an interesting what if ....

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#33 Justin Azevedo
June 26 2014, 04:39PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Exactly. The guy has survived 5 GM's, I think? You only do that with meticulous notes on who you wanted vs who they made you take.

Trying to decipher the inner politics of an organizations decision making process is almost impossible.

so has holditch, and I'll remind you about 2008. means nothing. their job description is what they do. the flames are poor in those areas. simple.

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