Jay Feaster talks 2012 Entry Draft



After the public unveiling of new Calgary Flames assistant coach Martin Gelinas on Thursday afternoon, Flames general manager Jay Feaster held court with local media and fielded questions on the upcoming 2012 NHL Entry Draft. For ease of reading, roving FlamesNation reporter Ryan Pike has distilled a great deal of information from Mr. Feaster into a few handy chunks. 

Are the Flames going to pick at 14 or move?

Jay Feaster: Are we prepared to trade down? I’m having conversations with teams all the time in terms of trying to improve our hockey team. Depending upon what assets we might get back there…If we had the assets, would we entertain the thought of moving up? Yes, we would. Right now, we’re not in the position to do that in my mind, but we’ll see what happens between now and [this] Friday.”

What’s draft week look like for the scouting staff?

JF: We’re going in with the pro guys on Sunday. We’re flying in on Sunday and we’re going to meet with our pro scouts on Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday. We have our depth charts in pretty good order for all of the teams. But now what we’ll do is we’ll go in and if there are guys that we feel have changed, their ratings aught to change, based on where we were at the mid-winter meetings, we’ll make those adjustments. We’ll talk about the free agents and get our plan together there as far as we’ll finalize the guys we want to target. And the amateurs will be in starting on Tuesday and we’ll start meeting with them on Wednesday.”

 Is it a deep draft?

 JF: There’s that real upper echelon and then it drops off. But at the same time, we think there’s value in this draft. There’s good players in this draft. To the extent that we can try to get back that second round pick, we’d like to be able to do that. We’re certainly going to get a good player at 14. Whether it’s a player that’s as far advanced as Sven was, I don’t know about that. I think Sven was a special case to be available at 13, but yeah, we feel good about it.”

 How does the team refine their list? Are the Flames using the same "work the list" philosophy as last year’s draft?

 JF: We really, right up until we had to leave to go to the floor, up until Friday afternoon a year ago, we were challenging the list, challenging the order. We had some that we had “boxed” – that’s literally, we put a box around them and say “are we sure this guy aught to be above this guy.” And we go through all of the pure ratings on them. What did we give this guy on character, what did we give him on hockey sense, what did we give him on skating… All these different things. So we go through it, we challenge it, we put it into the Decision Lens software program and we challenge it that way, and right up until the midnight hour, we actually made a switch.

The switch put Sven ahead of player who had been ahead of him. And we’ve looked back at that and we’ve said the player that we initially had ahead of him, if we had not made the change – if we had not kept refining and challenging the list – the player that we would have drafted we think is a guy who is going to play, we don’t think he’s going to play in the same time-frame that Sven is and we don’t think that he has the same upside that Sven does."

So that’s why what we’ve said and what we’ve challenged our guys with is that you have to make sure that the list is in the right order because when our pick comes at 14, if the guy we have rated ninth on our list is there, and there’s the guy at 16 and we say, ‘we really like him and he’s a whatever position,’ we’re not going to say ‘should we think about the guy there?’ We’re going to take the best player that’s still on our list.”

Are the Flames ruling out drafting certain kinds of players? (For example, they already have two smaller forwards in Paul Byron and Johnny Gaudreau…)

 JF: We’re in the asset business. And while maybe you’re not going to play an all 5-8 line in the National Hockey League, the reality of it is that if you have three guys that are 5-8 and all three guys are talented hockey players, they’re assets.”

 Are they more or less likely to challenge their list based on last year’s draft results?

JF: We’ve talked about it already and we’re in that same situation, I can tell you. We have in a couple of different places, both at the upper end of the draft and then later on in our list, we have names boxed and we’ll have at it again when we get to Pittsburgh. Part of that will be, in addition to the interviews that we did at the combine, we’ll interview some of those guys again in Pittsburgh and more importantly, we’ve had our scouts in the various areas where these guys are from doing even more research. Doing research with the coaches, doing research going back with teachers, the whole bit, trying to find out and fine-tune it as best we can.”

What is John Weisbrod’s role in drafting?

JF: Ultimately Tod [Button] reports directly to him. He’s been out there and he has seen certainly the guys at the top end that we’re looking at. He’s looked at a lot of video and film of guys, as well. He was there at the combine, so he was instrumental in the interview process there. It’s a good collaborative effort with he and Tod.”

Does trade talk happen more often at the draft?

JF: What happens when you get there is that [trade discussion] gets more focused. The other thing that happens when you get there, you may have a guy that you’ve been talking to for a week here or two weeks, and then you get to Pittsburgh and you’ll call or he’ll call and say “Let’s go have a cup of coffee, let’s go down the street and let’s go for a walk.” Sometimes literally that process of we’re not on the phone, we’re together and I’m going to tell you what I need and what I can and won’t do and sometimes that makes a difference.”

What happens when a deal is offered during the draft?

JF: When that phone call comes in, if somebody calls and says ‘Would you trade down? We’ll give you our pick at whatever and here’s what we’re offering,’ you know I’m going to get off the phone. I’m not going to say yes or no to that, I’m going to get off the phone and say ‘What do you think, boys?’ And it’ll be put out there and we’ll get everybody’s opinion.”

How many jerseys with name-bars are you bringing?

JF: We’ll probably have, I don’t know, a half-dozen.

  • Big Ell

    Nice article. I am new to the Flames Nation but would like to thank you guys for the great posts. Flames Nation is by far the best place for Flames information on the net. As a die hard fan living in Asia you are much appreciated!

    Thank you!

  • Arik

    Are the Flames ruling out drafting certain kinds of players? (For example, they already have two smaller forwards in Paul Byron and Johnny Gaudreau…)

    JF: We’re in the asset business. And while maybe you’re not going to play an all 5-8 line in the National Hockey League, the reality of it is that if you have three guys that are 5-8 and all three guys are talented hockey players, they’re assets.”

    Absolutely love love love this quote. Feaster gets it.

  • everton fc

    Although I’ve been critical of Jay, Wesibrod, the new regime… I am beginning to believe they might actually right this ship of barnacles…

    I also get a good vibe about Hartley.

    We shall see. Still think we poach Grigensons, if he’s available.

  • supra steve

    I have been in the “let’s give Feaster a chance” camp from day one. Has always confused me that some were not willing to give him a chance, quick to jump on any mis-steps (PL3 trade, Babchuk overpay). I am not entirely sold on him yet either, but everyone makes mistakes. Would really like to know how much input he got from others (and who those others were) on some of those early mis-steps? Was Sutter thumbs up on Babchuk, then changed his mind? Anyway, would like to know who to blame, but so far Feaster has been too classy to point any fingers. Perhaps the B. Sutter departure had something to do with it (was pointing the finger at one of the guilty parties)? Or, could be all on Feaster?

  • supra steve

    @ Steve: Been with you in that camp of give Feaster & the management team he builds a chance. I think many of us no longer feel we have a core capable of getting to the playoffs on so many levels, talent, leadership, grit, determination. How many times have they scrapped and clawed their way to a from the floor to get themselves in a playoff position and their just isnt that talent and leadership to get them to the next level. It just doesnt work anymore & there are many problems to fix. I am satisfied that the drafting/scouting & farm system has made a dramatic turnaround. It just hasnt flowed over to the big club & it wont happen until we establish a new core. Minimum 2 of Iggy/Kipper/JBO must go & if all 3 were gone by next draft, well, the team has to do what it’s gotta do.

    I am dead set against trading down. I realize the likes of Eberle were drafted 18th but as a rule the earlier you pick, the most likely you are getting an NHL/potential impact player. Can you imagine if we did that last year? Best player in the deal usually wins trades. I think at 14th we are going to get a decent player & we may even see some players totally unexpected fall to us. Then watch our phone start to ring. It would have to be a gross overpayment before I would even consider it. If players fall to us, you have to treat that 14th like a lottery pick.

    • RexLibris

      Eberle was taken 22nd, but the point is well-taken.

      Those late-first round picks that end up having better potential than some of the 15-odd players taken before them are few and far between. But as the saying goes, you fail on all of the attempts you never take.

      Would the Flames trade Cammalleri and their 14th to Carolina for the 8th?

      I’m throwing out ideas to keep the draft talk interesting, but Carolina wants a winger to play with Staal and there aren’t many wingers the Flames could part with. My hope is the Oilers could somehow market Hemsky and a prospect like Hamilton for that pick, but I’m probably seeing things through copper-and-blue glasses.

      The big one would be Iginla to Carolina. In exchange perhaps the 8th overall, Zac Dalpe, and a 1st round pick next year? Drafting 8th and 14th would be a big boost to the team, it would also pretty much be the signal that a rebuild is underway. I don’t think it’ll happen, but thought I would mention it as a hypothetical.

  • supra steve

    to me, there’s a hard line top 15 (MAYBE 16) in this draft. Beyond them, no one interests me much at all.

    Yakupov, Murray, Grigorenko, Forsberg, Galchenyuk, Dumba, Teravainen, Rielly, Faksa, Trouba, Reinhart, Ceci, Maatta, Girgensons, Collberg (the maybe is Aberg).

    2 (3) of these players WILL be available at 14th. It’s simple math. And that’s why I don’t like the idea of trading down, because the best of the rest is… I think Lindholm. I suppose if Aberg is a maybe Lindholm perhaps should be too, but the bottom line is, the Flames can get Collberg or better at 14th. Might a team in the top 13 go off the board and leave 5 of the “top 15” available? Yes. But we don’t know until draft day. If the Flames trade down when 14 comes around because they don’t like the lay of the land/a lot of players fell, thats… sort of okay.

  • MC Hockey

    Great info!! At least it doesn’t sound like Feaster is giving up on trading up. If Carolina is shopping their pick at 8, we should realllly try and move up there. How much would their interest in Bouwmeester be? Imagine if we got the 8th and 14th. Not too realistic but it would certainly make things interesting.

    Just quickly on Grigorenko, why is it that he’s falling so fast? Is it simply the Russian Factor? Either way, if he falls to there, I think the Flames have to take a look at him.

  • RexLibris

    unless the Flames suddenly turn around and re-sign Jokinen, Cammalleri is pretty much slated to be their best center. Not likely they trade him.

    also, I don’t imagine the Hurricanes covet Cammy’s contract.

  • @ Rex: Sorry, 22nd, what a great pick, even better than Sven eh. I doubt Cammi is moved because of his age. Iggy deal I would be inclined to say yes to, just doubt Iggy would say yes to a Carolina destination. Then again, 1 year, he may just do it for the following reasons

    1/ he doesnt want to play under the Hartley conditioning marathon mentality(he probably feels he does quite fine himself seeing he is usually the fittest of Flames coming into traing camp each year). The fact they bring in a guy like Gelinas to be that good cop/buffer kind of gives you an indication there is probably a need for a guy like him. I know some of the most caring people can be just demanding SOB’s to work for. Not convinced Iggy has jumped on the Hartley train.

    2/he has had many changes in his personal situation that may make leaving Calgary a lot easier/keep in mind this is just speculation.

    3/He has 1 year left on contract, a change of scenario could really help him clear his head for some real big decisions a year from now without having to commit to longterm, which I think he is being pressed to do now by the Flames. He is very loyal to the Flames & may open up the locations to help the Flames max out the return they could get for him. We can only hope, but the Iggy rumours will only grow as the status quo continues.

    As for Oil, if you guys trade Gagner & Hemsky, it needs to be for an established NHL dman, especially if Oil draft Nails.

  • BurningSensation

    Rex I like your thinking. I like Camalleri, but for 8th overall I would do that if Carolina would. I just think it would look a little bad on Feaster’s part in bringing a guy back and making such a big deal about Cammy being back and then shipping him off. I’d be for that deal though, but I’d sure feel sorry for Cammy. But that’s business. I would love to see the Flames get the 8th overall.

    In regards to trading Iggy. All for it. But all the arrows point to Iggy staying in Calgary unfortunately. I still think that Iggy or Bouwmeester would be the most attractive options for Carolina. Iggy to play with Staal like you previous said, or Bouwmeester because the Hurricanes have Pitkanen (a decent top pairing for offensive purposes) and Gleason a good top four. Bouwmeester with Pitkanen would make a good combo and could make them a factor next year in the eastern conference playoffs. I think asking for two first rounders for Iggy is a little bit much though, I could see a first round this year and a second round straight for Iggy. Or just make the second rounder come next year. What’s your take on that?

  • First Name Unidentified

    On a separate note: TSN just reported that Jagr is testing free agency. Would it be possible to sign him for a 1 yr contract to play on a line with Cervenka? If we are “going for it” which seems like we are, it would be a decent addition on top 6.


    • Right now the Flames seem to have a lot of bodies in their top nine already, even assuming they don’t re-sign any of their UFAs.

      Jarome Iginla
      Mike Cammalleri
      Roman Cervenka
      Alex Tanguay
      Matt Stajan
      Cutis Glencross
      Sven Baertschi
      Mikael Backlund (RFA)

      That’s eight guys right there. If they sign Jagr, that eliminates whatever flexibility they DO have.

      • BurningSensation

        I have a feeling that outside of Backlund they won’t make much effort to re-sign FAs.

        Jagr would be a fantastic coup, but at his age the groin issues are likely to rob him of 5-10 games + some mediocre games as he recovers.

        Having 9 legit top 9 forwards is never a bad thing.

  • RexLibris

    Yes but I just think it’s unlikely that they give away both their picks in the top 60 for a 35 year old player, that way we spread out the loss for them and add to our longterm gain.