Calgary Flames 2010 Draft Primer



The 2010 NHL Entry Draft is just four days away and although the Flames don’t currently possess a top-60 pick, Darryl Sutter has historically been very active on draft day in the past. As such, there’s little chance that the Friday/Saturday action will not include Calgary, especially given the Flames urgent need to shore up their prospect ranks and dump some salary.

Flamesnation will endeavor to cover the draft from every possible angle, starting today through till the end of the week. Today we begin with the basics – a Flames draft primer.

Fishing Holes

Since 2003, the Flames have concentrated their drafting efforts almost exclusively in the Canadian Junior leagues, with the WHL in particular leading the way. The OHL has been the second league of choice while most of Europe has been altogether ignored.

WHL – 13 (38%)

OHL – 8 (23%)

Sweden – 5 (15%)

Finland – 2 (6%)

US HS – 2 (6%)

QMJHL – 2 (6%)

USU18 – 1 (3%)

USHL – 1 (3%)

Despite heavily favoring the WHL, the Flames have only yielded two NHL players from the dub thus far: Dion Phaneuf and Dustin Boyd. Both guys were traded this season. On the bright side, Mitch Wahl (Spokane Chiefs) and Ryan Howse (Chilliwack Bruins) may improve that record within the next few years.

Brandon Prust is the only OHL graduate for the Flames (also traded this year). Greg Nemisz and T.J. Brodie will be turning pro this September and are both top 10 prospects in the organziation.

Sweden has claimed 2 of the Flames last 3 first round picks in Mikael Backlund and Tim Erixon, both of whom figure to be centerpieces going forward.

Organizational Strengths

The Flames boast a host of solid prospects on the back-end. Matt Pelech, John Negrin, Keith Seabrook, T.J. Brodie and Tim Erixon all have potential NHL upside, with Erixon likely being the pick of the litter. Aside from Pelech, most of the Flames blueline prospects are of the mobile, puck-moving variety.

Organizational Weaknesses

There’s a general lack of legitimate, offensive talent up front. As I covered extensively in my organizational depth post, the Flames haven’t picked very many forwards inside the top-60 under Sutter (4 in the last 7 years) meaning the scoring depth is puddle deep. The aforementioned Wahl, Nemisz, Howse and Backlund bring some hope for the near future, but the truth is none of them are sure-fire bets to contribute at the NHL level.

Flames 2010 Draft Picks

Round 1 – none*

Round 2 – none**

Round 3 – #64 (via CBJ for Anton Stralman)

Round 3 – #73***

Round 4 – #104 (via NSH for Dustin Boyd)

Round 4 – #108

Round 5 – #133

Round 6 – #163

Round 7 – #193

*Flames first rounder was traded to PHX in exchange for Olli Jokinen

**Flames second rounder was traded to TOR with Wayne Primeau in exchange for Anton Stralman CHI for Rene Bourque.

***The Steve Staios trade involved the Flames 2010 or 2011 third round choice.

2010 Targets

Darryl Sutter will be looking for offensive talent off all stripes, but particularly down the sides owing to the orginzations dearth of scoring options at either wing. The club will also be looking to move up in the draft if at all possible and will no doubt dangle one of their extra blueliners or heftier back-end salaries. Cory Sarich, Adam Pardy and Ian White are all likely draft day trade fodder.

What We Can Expect

Given what we know about Sutter’s habits and the Flames situation, here are some educated guesses for what we can expect to see come Friday/Saturday

– At least 4 draft picks to come from the WHL and OHL

– At least one pick from Sweden

– A high risk/high reward offensive forward in the third round

– A solid push by Sutter to move up into the second or first round

– At least one Flames blueliner to be dealt

  • Section 216

    Great post Kent!

    Your speculation is probably as close as bang on as you’re gonna get too.

    I’m thinking Stajan has replaced Langkow for less. Albeit less gritty his numbers will be better. Trade with a defencive prospect for a Frolov type.

    Sarich had an ok second year and could go to a team with a young defence like NYI, ANA, ATL. Trade for pick or prospect.

    Staios could also be valuable to a young team or buried in the minors. I sincerely think if he is not dealt before training camp one of the youngsters will force daz’s hand.

    Kotalik stays although I don’t believe what Daz says to the media. He was saying Tanguay was an elite left winger before he traded him for a First rounder. Kotalik will have no takers however. We get to see how he performs and with the belief that the farmers support him, he may just pick up his game and show us what he is capable of. most likely wishful thinking.

    Don’t forget Roger Millions is just awesome.

  • Appreciated.

    On Langkow – I currently consider him better than Stajan when all aspects of the game are considered, so I can’t see the Flames moving him for merely a draft pick (with the hope of replacing his contributions via free agency). In addition, he has a NTC which makes dealing him in an environment like the draft extremely unlikely (Sutter would have to broker the deal and then contact Langkow in order to get it okay’d).

    So, yeah…if we’re going to move salary it’s probably going to be of the “Sarich” variety.

    • Section 216

      Lankow is a personal favorite. I agree, it may not be at the draft but if daz has a green light for teams x, y, & z. Teams with dearth of prospects like Washington could use a vet and on draft week/end…. Who knows.

      One of the most respected players to wear the flames silks no doubt.

  • Nicely done Kent.

    It’s hard to say who on the current roster will still be in Flames jerseys once the draft is over, but we know of some salaries we’d like to see gone (Kotalik for one) but whether darryl gets anyone to bite will be the big question. Who is willing to give up a 2nd round pick for Sarich (as an example) unless we also take some of that team’s unwanted baggage with it?

    I really hope we can hang on to White. I’m around the Saddledome alot and I can tell you he impressed the fan base considerably in a short period of time. The same can’t be said for the others that came over via trade earlier this year, but maybe with time put in at training camp they can feel more comfortable around here.

    I wonder why we have such a high number of “homegrown” talent. Do the Flames not put much $$$ to scouting internationally or has Darryl not changed his mind from 2003 that we should have a large number of Western Canadian kids around. I think the WHL/CHL talent is the best too, but if we’re not seriously looking elsewhere with a significant amount of resources how do you expect to yield late round talent? It’s worked just fine for Detroit.

    • D C

      “Who is willing to give up a 2nd round pick for Sarich (as an example) unless we also take some of that team’s unwanted baggage with it?”

      Another mans garbage is another mans treasure.
      *cough* Kotalik *cough cough* Ahem.. excuse my throat its going on like that for a while now…

  • Oyo

    at first i was very much against moving kipper. but rethinking it a bit (does he have a NTC??), he could very well bring in a nice forward and if we couple him with someone, sarich, staois, kotalik, moss, whoever basically, could we free up enough cap to acquire a goalie from free agency?

    i guess the real question is would any team be willing to take on that much cap. likely not i guess eh

  • If you forced me to gamble on it, I’d rank Pardy, White and Sarich as the most likely Flames to move this weekend, in that order.

    But as we all know with Sutter, just about anything is possible. Few GM’s pull more moves out of left field than Darryl.

  • If you forced me to gamble on it, I’d rank Pardy, White and Sarich as the most likely Flames to move this weekend, in that order.

    But as we all know with Sutter, just about anything is possible. Few GM’s pull more moves out of left field than Darryl.

  • Graham

    The UFA crop looks pretty thin at center, so if you move Langkow, you are likely looking at bringing in another center via the trade route.

    This might make sense if you were trading for a true #1, but we don’t seem to have the cap space, and or prospects / picks to package together. This would mean packaging Langkow with White or Gio, but is this enough to bring in an impact #1 center? I still think Sutter thinks that Stajan is the #1

    Sarich looks like the best trade bait, although
    I agree with Kent, White could be on the block
    (salary expectations) and Pardy could easily be replaced with a Kronwall for less money.

  • Section 216

    As much as I would love to see White stay as I believe he’s the best thing that has come out of that January 31st deal.

    But I also believe he brings us back the best return.

  • Section 216

    Good on ya Kent. I agree with you on the Langkow/Stajan issue. I have spoken to people in TO where most thought Stajan was just a guy, some speed, good hands and good back checking but not a scorer or a top 2 center. Sure Stajan has a NTC but who in their right mind would want him and for that price? My guess is that Moss, Sarich, White, would be used to move up. I think it’s wrong to focus your scouts in the west here. While there are some great players, in the NCAA, OHL, the Q and in Europe. Look at what Burke is doing in Toronto, signing good NCAA players who are UFAs.

  • Robert Cleave

    Kent, is Stajan’s NTC already in effect, or with his new deal starting July 1? He didn’t have it in his old deal, obviously. I doubt that Sutter would move him or anything, so it’s just more a matter of curiosity.

    As for the third rounder in the Staios trade, I’m fairly certain the Flames have deferred transferring that choice to the Oil until next year’s draft.

    • You are correct sir. As you point out, though, Sutter isn’t going to deal a player he just signed so the issue is moot.

      I think the Flames are keeping this years pick as well, but I figured I’d include the info anyways.

  • well except for last year ds has made it more exciting. yes we have lost in the first round and it is terribly frustrating but the reason expectations are so high is because he has put teams together that can have expectations. (yes they have underachieved) but we change gm in the late 90s and 2000’s every year and that didn’t help either. im still with darryl and im not saying stajan in goin to be underpaid but i think he will have good enough offensive numbers and is a lil underrated in the defensive end. he is not a gritty player like lanks but will do decent here i think. go flames go.

  • Balthazar

    I’m always intrigued by the selections made at the draft, not for the individual players – because I’m not a scout and have no idea who is worthwhile to pursue – but rather for the source (or fishing hole) from which the Flames draft them.

    I like western Canadian players and like living in western Canada, but I think the stats above show a lack of consideration of the talent pool elsewhere. I recognize not all Euro players succeed in the NHL but…

    • …I don’t think it’s even the success level of the Euro players in the NHL relative to NA players. It’s just risky to draft Eastern European players because of the KHL. I can think of a couple examples, Zherdev and Radulov. They are in their mind 20’s and left for the KHL. With that being said, it wouldn’t be a bad strategy to draft a couple Czechs or a Russians with offensive upside between rounds 4-7.

      Also, this is not with the intent of painting whole nations hockey players with the same brush, but Eastern European hockey players relative to NA and Northern Europeans are notoriously selfish on the ice (ie more worried about individual success rather than sacrifice for the team). The Sutters ethos is unequivocally the antithesis of the typical Eastern European hockey player.

      • Balthazar

        “It’s just risky to draft Eastern European players because of the KHL”

        True, but I didn’t mean eastern Euros only. The talent pool in europe is more than just Russian. I think Sutter has a strategy with the western boys. I just think it’s short sighted.

        I get the “western boys will play close to home and maybe give a hometown discount” argument. It just limits the pools the Flames draw from…

        If any other business was similarly parochial, it too would miss out on developing new talent, skills and adopting some new best practices.

          • …I followed a link from this forum toay. It was an interview with Todd Button (Flames Head Scout). Anyways, it seems the Flames have 2 scouts for Western Canada, 1 for Ontario, 1 for Quebec/Maritimes, 1 for US High School/NCAA, 1 for Sweden, and 1 for Finland. Maybe add one more for the old the Czechoslovakia area and 1 for Russia?

            …I get that Eastern Europe is not only Russia. There are actually more Czech players in the NHL than Russians (I think???). I’m just saying Eastern Europeans (Czech, Slovak, Russian make up the bulk) don’t typically fit his (Sutter’s) brand of hockey player.