Many Calgary Flames fans were over the moon when the team acquired Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes 15 months ago. The tone of Flames fans changed from sweet to sour, though, as Jokinen played parts of two seasons wiht the team. And that sour taste may have gotten a whole lot harder to take after the first round of the NHL Draft concluded on Friday night.
The deal that sent Jokinen to Calgary (along with a 2009 third rounder) saw Matthew Lombardi and Brandon Prust change locales, and also included a first round draft pick in either 2009 or 2010. Last summer, the Flames elected to keep their draft pick, using it to select defenceman Tim Erixon 23rd overall. That means the Coyotes took Calgary’s 2010 first rounder, which they used on Friday night.
Who did the Coyotes select? A guy who fell a whole lot further than most people though, in the form of smooth skating Brandon Gormley. The Moncton Wildcats defenceman is coming off a 43 point year in the QMJHL, just his second Major Junior season. The book on Gormley is impressive, and it’s topped by one word: smart. He’s one of the savviest players in the draft, a kid who thinks the game well beyond his age and experience. Yes, he’s a good skater, and yes he can handle the puck…but the way he reads plays is why International Scouting Services ranked him number three among all skaters.
The fact that a big name, highly touted blueliner like Gormley going to the Coytes with a Flames draft pick has irked more than a few fans in Calgary. And it’s no knock on Tim Erixon. The 19 year old has played parts of three seasons in the Swedish Elite League, appearing in 45 games this past season. While posting 13 points, Erixon also increased responsibility and seemed to handle it properly.
No, this isn’t bugging Flames fans because of who was picked in 2009. It isn’t so much a "you should have given them 2009 not 2010" from what I’m hearing. I guess you can understand Sutter’s thinking…he felt his team was going to be a top flight squad, therefore making 2010’s pick less valuable than it ended up being. From what I’m hearing, this ends up being just another solid indicator that the Olli Jokinen trade was just not good.
Jokinen never performed here, and far too often was a liability on the ice. The team gave up two well liked forwards in Lombardi and Prust, and they also ended up giving up a top 15 pick. The fact that it turned into a pretty hyped player is just icing on a cake that nobody wants to eat.