Flames First Round Targets 2015 - Nick Merkley

Kent Wilson
June 22 2015 11:00AM

Every so often a Calgary born kid pokes his head above the crowd and becomes a noteworthy NHL prospect. The Flames franchise, however, have made a habit of not drafting local guys, be it players who were born and raised here, or guys who spent their formative junior seasons here. The one exception I can recall over the years is Brent Krahn of the Calgary Hitmen, whom the Flames took 9th overall in 2000 (aside - don't take goalies in the first round!). 

Nick Merkley might be the player to break that habit. The 5'11", 190 pound centre/right winger was the highest scoring draft eligible player in the WHL this season and has long been considered one of the best young players on the Calgary scene. 

Merkley's consensus ranking is a mid-first round pick, so there's a fair chance Merkely will be around when the Flames take the podium. He's also the guy FN readers most expect the Flames to take in the first round according to our official poll (which you can see to the right of this article).

Read Article | 22 Comments

FN Mailbag - June 20, 2015

Kent Wilson
June 21 2015 11:00AM


The sun is shining, the snow has melted and the Stanley Cup has been awarded (to the Chicago Blackhawks...again), so that must mean it's NHL entry draft time. That also means it's time to resurrect the FN weekly mailbag feature for a little while, starting today. 

Topics of interest are...well the draft, free agency and trades of course. Oh, and the Flames strange interest in changing their goaltending situation, of course. 

Read Article | 29 Comments

Top-10 UFA Countdown: #6 Matt Beleskey

Kent Wilson
June 16 2015 11:00AM

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy! 

Almost every postseason there arises an unlikely hero from the middle of a team's roster to make headlines. And any time that player is a pending free agent, teams line up to pay that him too much money as a result. Call it the Bickell effect. 

This year, that player is Matt Beleskey. The Ducks 27-year old winger has been a run-of-the-mill NHL forward for years, but his 8-goal in 16-games playoff performance combined with his size (6', 205 pounds) has him on a lot of GM's radars heading into July. Just to make his agent even happier, Beleskey also put up the best regular season of his NHL career, managing 22-goals and 32-points. His underlying numbers, however, tell a much more complicated story than his counting stats.

Read Article | 34 Comments

The Big Gainers: Part 4 St. Louis Blues

Kent Wilson
June 11 2015 11:00AM

Like all of the subjects of this series so far, the St. Louis Blues laboured in mediocrity for a long period before ultimately making the leap. They bottomed out in 2005-06, finishing last in the league with 56 points and only became a going concern again in 2011-12 when they finished 2nd in the West with 109 points. They have been heavy hitters (albeit playoff disappointment ever since).

The bad news for the Blues is they wasted their one terrible season by picking Erik Jonhson first overall. The good news is they managed to accrue a bunch of other good players during the dry years. 

Read Article | 8 Comments

Flames First Round Targets 2015: Timo Meier

Kent Wilson
June 07 2015 11:00AM

It's June, so that means it's time for another round of our annual Flames first round targets series.

This year, the club sits smack dab in the middle of round 1 with the 15th overall selection. The last time the team had a pick in this area (14th overall), they elected to trade down and pick Mark Jankowski 21st overall. And while we still can't be certain of Jankowski's future with the club, the collection of players the team missed due to that decision (Teuvo Teravainen, Cody Ceci, Olli Maata, Scott Laughton, Tomas Hertl, Zemgus Girgensons) suggests it wasn't the best of maneuvers. 

Read Article | 26 Comments