June 21 2014 09:00AM
Lads and ladies, we are now less than one week away from the Most Important Draft in Calgary Flames History*.
*- Well, since last year's.
There's a LOT of chatter in hockey circles about movement at the top end of the draft order.
At least 8 teams have shown interest in acquiring the 1st pick overall from the Panthers. Van, Cgy, Edmtn and Tor among them.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 19, 2014
So what happens? I can, with absolutely no insider info, speculate three main scenarios.
June 20 2014 11:30AM
We're about a week away from the 2014 Entry Draft and the Flames have 5 picks inside the top-90, including a franchise high 4th overall. It's not hyperbole to say this summer will be a pivotal one of the Flames road back to respectability. If they pick a future star or two and not stub their toe horribly in free agency, it will give the club a much better chance of making their up the crowded Western Conference standings ladder.
Of course, the other key consideration is how they develop and manage their current crop of players...
June 20 2014 08:34AM
Over the weekend, the Alaska Aces - Calgary's ECHL affiliate - won their league championship, the Kelly Cup. The triumph was likely especially sweet for a pair of Flames properties who had seemingly fallen off the proverbial radar - forward Turner Elson and defenseman John Ramage.
Elson was arguably the star of development camp last year, but played just 37 games in a depth role with the Abbotsford Heat. He split February between Abbotsford and Alaska before getting sent down for good at the end of the month. Ramage impressed many in training camp and arguably looked the most pro-ready of the three first-year blueliners (the others were Patrick Sieloff and Tyler Wotherspoon). But Ramage couldn't find his footing in the AHL and was sent down to the Aces in mid-March.
To delve into what happened with the Aces' playoff run and how Elson and Ramage fared, I chatted with the play-by-play voice of the Alaska Aces, Mike Benson, last week. We had a lengthy conversation, so here's some selected quotes regarding the play of Calgary's two key prospects with Alaska.
June 19 2014 01:00PM
Markus Granlund is a unicorn-like rarity in the Calgary Flames system historically. No, not a younger brother of an emerging NHL star (hey Valeri Bure). No, he's a second round pick. And after spending time with his club team, HIFK Helsinki, for a few years, he made his arrival in North America and made a splash.
Granlund comes in at #4 on our 2014 Flames 15.
June 19 2014 10:29AM
1. The Spezza situation
Was fairly glad to see Brad Treliving come out and say the rumored package the Flames allegedly offered to Ottawa for Jason Spezza — Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman, Mikael Backlund, and a first-round pick — was a bunch of hogwash. Any reasonable person probably saw that as the case anyway.