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.