14 drafts of Tod Button: a trip down memory lane

Ryan Pike
May 29 2016 08:00AM

The Calgary Flames promoted Tod Button to the role of head scout in the fall of 2001, replacing Ian McKenzie. He had been with the organization since 1997 and was promoted to the top job by his brother, Craig.

This will be Button's 15th draft as the Flames' top dog in the scouting department. How's he done over his previous 14 kicks at the can?

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How Good is Mikael Backlund?

Kent Wilson
May 28 2016 02:00PM

Twenty-six-year-old centreman Mikael Backlund is easily the most controversial player to be profiled in this series, and maybe one of the most divisive Flames players in recent memory.

In the other articles so far, the title prefix of "how good is..." was entirely rhetorical. From Gaudreau to Giordano, each skater is undeniably a star or cornerstone player. Almost all fans would agree they are "core guys". The question is a legitimate this time around.

Backlund is still considered largely expandable in most corners of Flames Nation. The popular sentiment is that he is a pretty good third line centre - a "nice to have", but a guy you could leverage or package to fill another roster hole if possible. Third line C's aren't exactly rare after all. Even good ones.

The perception is understandable. Backlund is not a compelling player by most traditional measures. He's not big or physical. He's doesn't boast a booming snapshot and he can't really dangle through the bad guys at the blueline. His counting stats are mostly mediocre.

But there's a reason myself and other writers at this site tirelessly defended Backlund. Even though he doesn't wow the eyeballs crowd or win scoring races, what he does do - consistently, imperceptibly - is the one thing that wins hockey games. 

Drive goal differential. 

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FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Adam Ollas Mattsson

Ryan Pike
May 28 2016 12:00PM

Not a lot of Calgary Flames fans seem to have a handle on Adam Ollas Mattsson. That's a bit of a shame, as the 20-year-old Swedish defender has quietly put together a pretty decent couple of seasons.

Originally drafted by the Flames in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft as a gigantic project player, he's established himself as a pretty reliable defensive player in a pretty good pro league.

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No World Cup? No problem for the Flames

Ryan Pike
May 28 2016 08:00AM

The rosters for September's World Cup of Hockey were finally finalized yesterday, with 173 National Hockey League players named to the eight teams. Some eyebrows were raised, though, by the small number of Calgary Flames players named to the competition.

Top-six forwards Johnny Gaudreau (North America), Sean Monahan (North America) and Michael Frolik (Czech Republic) are headed to the World Cup, along with blueliner Jyrki Jokipakka (Finland) and pending unrestricted free agent Jakub Nakladal (Czech Republic). Not headed to the tournament, at least for now, are everybody else on the Flames roster including the three best defensemen (Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton) and the rest of their top six (Mikael Backlund and Sam Bennett).

Honestly? I'm kind of happy more Flames aren't going.

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FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Brett Kulak

Ari Yanover
May 27 2016 12:00PM

Brett Kulak basically went from the ECHL to the NHL in a span of a couple of months.

Okay, so he isn't a full time NHLer - and with the number of bodies the Flames have on their blueline, it might be a bit. But when you're one of the leaders of the Stockton Heat's backend - and you got there after earning your way onto an NHL lineup - then you're probably someone to watch out for.

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