Flames at the Draft: Is a move out there?



Our indefatigble leader asked his vast array of Tweeps earlier today if there was a draft subject that might be of interest as we head into the last week before the annual cattle auction, and it appears people are wondering what it would take for the Flames to add another first rounder or move up the order from 13th. It’s a decent question, and with the rather unsettled nature of this year’s draft, the possibility exists that a few teams might be willing to swap a pick if the right circumstances arose.

To get started, it seems reasonable to assess the current landscape. For movement to occur, the first condition that must be met would be to ascertain if there are any motivated sellers. That condition seems to be easily met this year, if recent reports suggesting that the Leafs, Blue Jackets and Islanders are willing to at least listen to offers for their picks have any merit. I don’t doubt that other teams would countenance a move of their pick if the chips fell correctly, but not every GM is willing to divulge that information quite yet.

Beyond any sort of secretive activity, history would suggest that once teams get away from the upper half of the first round, picks to tend to move about a bit more freely. Last year, 8 of the last 15 picks in the first round changed hands at least once, and in 2008, all but 3 of those last 15 selections were swapped at some point, with many of the moves, including two relatively famous transactions by Calgary, happening on draft weekend.

With that in mind, let’s examine the two scenarios mentioned earlier. First, it seems fairly clear to me that the Flames don’t have many chips that would get a first round pick on their own, and the ones they do possess are likely worth keeping. There doesn’t seem to be much point in trading Gio or Backlund, to my mind. T.J. Brodie and Max Reinhart are the next best young assets the club has, and absent someone in the top 5-10 losing their minds, Calgary has no business offering either of them up. Beyond that, if the Flames had any kids that could rate the acquisition of a first rounder, we’d have already seen them in Calgary.

Most of the veterans on the club aren’t likely to be the right bait for a lottery pick, either. Regher or maybe Bourque could well get a first rounder, but Regher’s age, Bourque’s indifferent 10/11 play and the duo’s movement clauses would likely prevent the haul from being much more than a pick falling quite a bit later than Calgary’s own selection at 13. Bouwmeester probably rates a high pick on merit, but his contract and shaky finish last year might make teams hold off. Frankly, even if those three were to go, the Flames should be looking for proper young forwards that are already in the league rather than simply acquiring lottery tickets in a middling draft, so a straight move of any of them for a pick doesn’t seem to be the proper resolution.

Otherwise, it’s pretty thin gruel, and to be blunt, most of the players Calgary would move likely require the Flames to add a sweetener to any deal just to get them the hell out the door. I can’t even see that adding a Sarich type to the 13th pick would get any traction in the market. Garth Snow seems to want a younger forward for that 5th pick, Scott Howson pretty clearly wants a top line center to be the return for the 8th selection, and as most us are all too painfully aware, Calgary isn’t exactly swimming in skilled young pivots. 




The only other asset that could allow the Flames to move up would be the pair of second rounders they obtained from the Rangers in the Erixon deal. In 2008, the Leafs traded a second and third to move from 7th to 5th in order to draft Luke Schenn, and I suppose if Colorado at 11 or Minnesota at 10 were motivated to add picks, dropping a few spots might be worth it to them.

That scenario seems unlikely, though. The only top-twelve picks that have moved in the last two drafts were the two selections that Toronto sent to Boston in the Kessel deal, and although it pains me greatly to be fair to the Leafs, I’m compelled to note that Brian Burke didn’t expect his team to finish in the lottery two years running. In other words, no team has knowingly traded a pick in the top 12 since the aformentioned Leaf/Islander swap of ’08 for any sort of return. The flux surrounding the rankings of prospects in this draft could lead to a team changing it’s mind about keeping a top pick, but again, Calgary isn’t dealing from a position of strength here.

As I mentioned earlier, picks in the low end of the first round do have more mobility historically, and this is a situation where Calgary’s forced trade of Tim Erixon might offer them something to work with. In fact, last year’s draft offers an example of just the sort of move that could involve one of those two late Leaf picks. The Islanders acquired the 30th pick last year from the Hawks for the 35th and 58th picks, and although he’s stated that his preference is to move up, Brian Burke has made it clear that the 25th and 30th picks are in play. Calgary has the 45th and 57th picks, so they might need to make a larger deal to get another late first rounder, but there’s enough disagreement about the players after the top 8 that a GM may decide that two lottery tickets are better than one.  

All in all, it’s hard to imagine a stand-alone player move that nets the club an extra first round choice next week in St. Paul, and a move up from 13th seems equally unlikely barring a major reshuffling of the current roster. With Feaster having commented earlier this spring that the club expects to operate at the cap, that possiblility seems remote as well, so if any movement occurs, the most plausible scenario might well involve packaging those two second rounders in some fashion to move into the last 6-8 picks of the first round.

  • Still say it makes more sense to drop down for an extr apick if you’re sold on a guy and are sure you can still get him. In a draft like this, I think quantity is the way to go unless you can get in that top 6 (unlikely). Players with a lot of skill will still be av ailable in the 2nd round and Calgary might as well swing for the fences (within reason) on their picks hoping that quanity pays off.

  • Trading down to get extra picks in an average draft is the way to go. Unless you can get into the top group of Huberdeau, Strome, or Courturier than you dont try to trade down. Getting multiple chances at players with high potential is the best way to replenish our stock of offensive players.

    #13 to Chicago for #18 and #36
    #18 to Toronto for #25 and #39
    Stajan and #57 to Florida for #64

    Draft – 25, 36, 39, 45, 64
    – Grimaldi
    – Rattie
    – Rask
    – St Croix
    – Granlund
    Draft heavy on skilled, offensive forwards. Character grinding players that can play in the NHL are not what we are looking for. We need to swing for the fences and get players that will be top six offensive players. Draft five players with that potential and if we do it right we get one of them that is a game breaker that will have the potential to be a star in the league and be able to replace Iginla in the future.

  • This post is a lot more relevant for this article so I will repost it:

    This is off topic but rumor has it Colorado is offering up the 11th overall pick in this years entry draft looking for goaltending help. This is highly unlikely but more hypothetical. Should the opportunity present itself that Irving + a 2nd be traded for the 11th overall pick (plus maybe a 3rd or something), would you take it?

    Irving has taken some steps forward this year but ultimately Ortio is likely going to surpass him on the depth charts in no time and some may recognize Irving as a potential starter who would be cheaper than Schneider or Bernier to acquire.

    Thoughts? I think I would do it myself.

  • I keep seeing the Flames moving backwards in the draft to get certain players (Backlund, Erixon *sad face*, )

    I keep seeing Mark McNeil and Zach Phillips in a Flames uniform for some reason. So my intuition tells me that one, or both if one of them falls to 47??? (Not really going to happen though), will be a Flame come next week. I’d be happy with either player but would prefer McNeil. Maybe that is just due to the Sutterization of the city.

  • If anything the Flames should trade down in this draft. I would group the 10th to 30th picks together in equal value as far as skill. If the Flames could trade down their first pick they could package it with a bad contract (Stajan) to dump some salary.

    13th overall and Matt Stajan, to Ottawa for the 21st and a second…

    • T&A4Flames

      Only thing with that is that LA is looking to fill holes now and make a run, not acquire more prospects. If they do trade Bernier or Quick they’ll want an asset back that can step in and play. Most likely a scoring winger.

  • T&A4Flames

    The other glaring need that Columbus has is for a skilled puck moving defensmen. With his blessing for the trade, would Bouwmeester be a viable option for the Jackets to pick up. Could we attain the 8th and say Voracek in this deal? If we could, then trade the 8th for a lower 1st and high 2nd. Would Ottawa give up the 21st and 35th for another top 10?

  • T&A4Flames

    If that is the case with Colorado and LA than we should move Kiprusoff for the #11 pick and move Iginla to LA for Bernier and something.

    Realize that it is not going to happen because we are only a “couple” of pieces from winning the cup, or qualifying for the playoffs whichever is the new goal for the organization.

    Unless you get one of the top centermen in the draft the rest of the talent is the same from #8 to #70. They all have some upside and they all have some problems. I say the more chances you have to draft and develop the better the odds that you will do both right for a change.

    If teams are like public scouting reports, media publications, and internet bloggers there is going to be a huge divergence on the prospect list each team has. Big differences mean that teams are going to be looking to make deals to ensure that they get the player that they want in case somebody else takes them.

  • T&A4Flames

    I was listening to the Fan 960 the other day and they were commenting the next draft in 2012 is going to be a really good one with some high end players (particularly defenders). I never think a team should actively tank but if they were looking to do a major rebuild they should look to move those pieces this year so that they can get a top 5 or 10 pick. Ideally if you are going to suck you should do it when a Crosby is up for grabs and not a Patrick Stefan.

  • T&A4Flames

    When they are sitting in last place in December I hope that people think like you Brent G. Then we can look at moving the assets we have and acquiring first round picks for next year. The worst thing would be for fans and management to think that there is another miracle “almost made it” type run for the team to make.

  • T&A4Flames

    I agree with both ‘Shoutout’ and ‘Brent G’. If we can make moves to get Bernier +, we should definitly consider it. I still hate the thought of moving Iginla but I would really like to see him have a couple more chances with a contender. With luck, he will sign here again to finish his career just at a time when out rookies will be looking for a leader like him. Getting Bernier allows us to move Kipper as well which would bring a decent return.

    I don’t think we should tank…ever, but we do have some options with potential UFA’s next year. I would think that sometime between now and the trade deadline we could get a couple of 1st’s for Langkow and some other’s, packages may be necessary, but we NEED to do it this season. I think we really missed an opportunity with GlenX at the last deadline- could easily have gotten a late 1st.

  • Reidja

    Got to agree. The more picks the marrier this draft. We need to find a sucker like the islanders who just have to have thier Brock Nelson and are willing to Trade two slightly lower picks for our 13 or one of the second rounders. It high time that we come out on the intelligent side of a deal instead of the side that the likes of the islanders so often do….

    I’m wounding if we can get a quality young forward for one of our second round selections. Take some of the uncertainty out of having Feaster make picks.

  • Trading down is stupid. I suggest some of you take a look at this article from the Copper and Blue. Basically, a player in the 13 range has a 40% chance of becoming an impact player. You’d need 2.8 picks in the 25+ range to equal that. Not even close to being worth it. Always try to move up with superfluous picks.

    • T&A4Flames

      Depends on the draft. This one is so all over the map that it makes total sense as long as you have good scouting. Which we don’t know in Calgary because we have no idea how often Darryl overrode them to pick who he wanted. However, assuming you can get the guy you want later and add a pick why wouldn’t you? There’s zero consensus in this draft after the top 10-ish players and moving up this year to grab a sure-fire pick (which probably means top 6) isn’t likely for all the reasons stated in the article.

      • I don’t understand why that mentality exists. In essence, you’re giving the other teams control of your fate. If you like the guy, pick him. If there’s someone better, pick him. You can’t be sure that a pick will be there when you move down. If the guy you want gets snagged, then you’re left with a worse player and a player who has less then a 15% chance of doing something in the league.

        I can tell you with 99% certainty that Calgary does not have good amateur scouting. Tod Button has been the head of amateur scouting for more then 10 years now, and has presided over the worst grouping of picks in franchise history during that time. Keep in mind, Button was the one who said it would be a good idea to let Martin St. Louis go.

    • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

      I don’t think so.

      first and foremost, Regehr has long maintained he wants to stay a Flame. He’s taken less throughout his career to stay here, He’s well respected on and off the ice for what he brings to the organization. His off season home is close, his family is close, his wife is from Calgary, he’s lived here for, what?, 12 years? Seems to me RR wouldn’t be willing to waive his NTC unless the circumstances were almost perfect.

      that said, of all the ‘desired’ locations for an NHL player to live, NoCal is probably at the top, or near it at least, for a lot of NHLer’s.

      IMO, guys like Regehr, Iggy, Kipper signed here because they want to stay here. Hockey is just one part of these guys lives, and I think they actually believe they are still a good team and want to win together in Calgary.

      hypothetically though, your proposal seems fair, but I’m not sure it would make either team appreciably better.