With time ticking down to the 2009 NHL entry draft, here are some of the considerations and issues to keep in mind heading into Friday.
– The Flames own 7 picks in this year’s draft, but only one is inside the top 60 (20th overall). Their other choices include 67 (via PHX), 107 (via CBJ), 111, 140, 170 and 200. In terms of rounds that’s: round 1, round 3, round 4 (x2), round 5, round 6 and round 7.
– Darryl Sutter tends to trade away second round picks for established NHL players. Including the 2004 entry draft, the Flames have had a grand total of one second rounder (Mitch Wahl from 2008) over the last 5 drafts. This year is, of course, no exception with Calgary’s 2nd rounder going to Carolina (via LA). However, Sutter also tends to trade down in the first round in order to recoup later picks. The Flames have moved down in each of the last four drafts, with #24 being the highest choice the organization has enjoyed since Dion Phanuef at 9 as a result.
– Calgary’s other drafting proclivities under Sutter have been well documented. His favorite fishing hole is the WHL where 42% of Calgary’s draft picks have come from since ’04. That’s by far the largest margin in the league. The only European nation Sutter bothers to draft from is Sweden (Backlund, Deilert, Jonsson) with every other hockey hotbed across the pond (Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Germany) being almost totally ignored. Overall, 64% of Sutter draftees have been Canadian born.
– The Flames will probably look to acquire a scoring forward with their first round pick this year, most likely a winger. A number of decent offensive prospects should be in range, even if the Flames choose to once again trade down in the first round. Several mock drafts have Calgary taking Red Deer Rebel Landon Ferraro in the first round owing to his high goal total, good pedigree and Junior team affiliation. Other potential targets include Zack Budish, Peter Holland, Chris Kreider and Carter Ashton. Also, seeing as the Flames haven’t chosen a goalie since Leland Irving in 2006 watch for them to pick at least one puck stopper. Hopefully in one of the later rounds.
– The Flames will trade down in the first round. Again. Probable trading partner is the New York Islanders, who have 5 picks inside the top 60 including two first rounders (1, 26) and three second rounders (31, 37, 56). Look for the Flames to drop to 26 in exchange for one of the Islanders later 2nd round picks. Sutter is often very active at the draft, so the Flames may be looking to move or acquire actual NHL players as well.
– Jay Bouwmeester will be in play this Friday. The Panthers dropped the ball by not dealing him at the deadline and will be desperate to get anything they can for him before he bolts for free agency. According to a Craig Custance tweet on the subject, Florida is looking for a conditional first round pick (dependent on whether Bouwmeester signs with the new team or not). Rumor has it that Bouwmeester is building a house in Calgary and would consider signing with the Flames, although the club would have to engage in some serious salary management in order to fit his potential $6M+/year deal under the cap. A first round pick would also be a fairly high price for the Flames to pay, given that they have already surrendered next year’s first rounder to PHX thanks to the Jokinen deal.
– Vincet Lecavalier will also be available this Friday. With the Lightning ownership imploding and Lecavalier set to receive a big, fat bonus on July 1 the club will be looking to delete him from the books as soon as possible. I would anticipate Montreal to be the most interested club.
– Dany Heatley is also on the block, but there has been some reservations given his scheduled $4M bonus come July 1. Murray claimed recently that Heatley’s moving is contingent on being dealt before the organization has to pay out his July bonus, although that may be more posturing than anything else. The inclusion of Lecavalier on the “available expensive stars list” may hamper Murray’s bargaining position somewhat.
– The LA Kings may look to move the 5th overall choice for an impact player that can help them right away. The Kings have built slowly via the draft over the last few years and are now awash in young, promising players (Hickey, Doughty, Teubert, Simmonds, Brown, Kopitar, Moller, Boyle, Purcell, Johnson, Bernier). An established NHL player or two would no doubt help their maturing youngsters get a foot hold as well as move the team out the Western Conference basement, where they’ve languished for years. Jack Johnson may also be available this Friday.