Over the last few weeks, FN has profiled 10 different potential Calgary first round targets, some of whom are long shots to be around (Teravainen, Trouba) and others who will be available but have obvious holes in their game or risks associated with them (Aberg, Pouliot).
This entry draft has a lot of question marks and variables that make anticipating the potential order problematic. The Oilers are choosin first overall and it’s still unclear whether they will select the consensus best talent in Nail Yakupov or instead target a defender like Ryan Murray. That could mean trade to move down the ranks or simply picking the guy they want.
In addition, this past season was plagued by injuries and has a lot of Russian talent near the top of the rotation. Both factors represent a risk – injury and a truncated means less information about a player while Russians are considered flight risks to the KHL (to say nothing of the persistent perception in some quarters that they are "enigmatic").
So there is a strong possibility some highly touted guys could fall because clubs are going with picks that are perceived to be safer. The mix of talent outside of the top-end is higly equitable as well, so idisyncratic scouting preferences may mean a few unpredictable choices.
What that means for the Flames at 14 is that there are a lot of possibilites that can’t quite be determined until things start going down. Here’s some other names we didn’t get to here at FN who nevertheless might be on Calgary’s radar.
Other Possible Targets
– Griffin Reinhart, D
Sam’s younger, bigger brother is a defender for the Edmonton Oil Kings and seems to have moved into the upper reaches of most mock draft thanks to the question marks surrounding some of the other options. As a result, he strikes me as over-hyped at the moment – all of his results to date have been good-but-not-great (36 points in 58 games this year) and the interest in him seems to be driven by his "tools" rather than his performance. Sometimes that kind of drafting works and you get Tyler Myers. On the other hand, sometimes you end up picking Colton gillies.
Reinhart is now doubt on the Flames radar thanks to the familial connection with Max Reinhart and having played in Edmonton. He’s likely not going to be around at 14, though, and he doesn’t strike me as the kind of talent the club should try to trade up to acquire.
– Tomas Hertl, C
The Czech native scored 13 goals and 25 points for Slavia Praha in the Czech pro league this year and was a stand out for his club at the World Junior Championships. He has some good offensive tools including puck handing and vision and is already 6’2" and 200 pounds. The thing holding him back is his skating, which is considered below average at best by most scouts. Everything else is in place, so if a club can somehow improve his stride to at least average, Hertl could be a value pick.
The Flames haven’t chosen a Czech player at the draft since Jiri Cetkovsky in 2002, so it’s doubtful they even scout in that part of the world these days. Even with the new regime in place, I doubt Hertl is on the Flames list.
– Slater Koekkoek, D
A solid overall defender by mos accounts, Koekkoek had most of his season wiped out by injury. He appeared in just 25 games for the Peterbourough Petes, scoring 18-points. His scouting reports resemble those of Olli Maatta, so he might be a worthwhile gamble for someone if he slides to the end of the first round or beyond.
– Matt Fin, D
Finn is a guy with decent offensive output (10 goals, 48 points in 60 games) and is described as an excellent skater with smooth mechanics and strong first pass. He made big strides in his second season over his rookie effort which makes him a bit of a late riser and he’s not ideally sized for a blueliner (6′, 198 pounds).
– Brendan Gaunce, C
The Belleville Bulls center is considered one of the "safest" picks in the draft because of his mix of size, all around awareness and character. He is already 6’2" and 212 pounds and scored 68 points in 68 games to lead his team during the regular season. He can dominate board battles, is a tenacious worker and has excellent vision.
On the other hand, he isn’t the greatest skater and doesn’t have the hands or the creativity which suggest he’ll be a notable scorer at the NHL level which is expected to be picked 20th or lower.
Further complicating things today are the rampant trade rumors. There are reportedly a lot of big names on the market, which could lead to a number of teams moving up, down or simply swapping their pick for a player outright.
– The Flames, of course, are said to be shopping Jay Bouwmeester and Mikael Backlund. Feaster has gone on record as saying Calgary could be convinced to trade down from 14 for the right package as well.
– Rick Nash continues to be shopped hard by the Blue Jackets. Howson is apparently seeking a Kings ransome for the Columbus sniper, so a first rounder will definitely be involved is Nash is moved.
– Jordan Staal rejected a 10-year contract extension with the Penguins, pretty much guaranteeing he’ll be moving on at the end of his contract with Pittsburgh. That may lead to the club dealing him rather than losing him for nothing.
– Bobby Ryan’s name has popped up again for whatever reason. He’s a legit 30+ goal scorer undert he age of 25, so the Ducks will also want a lot in return.
– Keith Yandles name has been bandied about today, which is somewhat surprising. He’s a guy who can play a lot of minutes and put up points, albeit in a highly skewed "offensive" type role. If you start Yandle in the offensive zone a buncha dn feed him second liners, he’ll put points on the board. His deal is an expensive one though.
– The Islanders and Hurricanes are apparently open to trading their top-10 picks (4th and 8th respectively). It will take impact players to pique their interest though.
– Blackhawks Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador are apparently on the block. Not sure they’ll be involved in a trade for a first rounder though.
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