A few random thoughts on the world championships, memorial cup and how the Flames draft picks are settling out.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND-UP
Five Flames-related players headed over to Scandinavia for the World Hockey Championships this month. Two of them are coming home with hardware.
Jiri Hudler’s Czech Republic team finished in seventh place. Hudler had five points in eight games. T.J. Brodie donned the maple leaf for the first time as part of Canada’s World Championship entry, but he had just a single point in the seven games he played. Canada finished fifth.
The Finns made the medal round but bowed out in the bronze medal game, finishing fourth. Finnish back-up Joni Ortio had a good tournament, going undefeated in three starts with a 1.98 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.
Chris Butler put a slight silver lining on his so-so season with a bronze medal. Wait, shouldn’t that have been a bronze lining? Anyhow, Butler had two points in 10 games for Team USA.
Finally, prospective Flames back-up Reto “Yogi” Berra showed that he has the chops to be a world-class back-up goaltender with the Swiss. He won a silver medal, going 4-0 in his four starts with a 1.00 goals against and an amazing .967 save percentage. Granted, it’s “just” the Worlds, but it was pretty great for him.
Meanwhile, in Saskatoon, the last meaningful hockey of the junior season is taking place in the form of the Memorial Cup tournament. Two Flames prospects are vying for the CHL’s top prize. Saskatoon has split a pair of games, with Michael Ferland posting two assists thus far. He’s been physical, too. The Blades finish their round robin play on Wednesday night against Portland.
Speaking of Portland, they’ve played once and Flames prospect Tyler Wotherspoon has zero points in a single game – which the Hawks dropped to the Halifax Mooseheads by a 7-4 score. They play tonight against the London Knights and then again Wednesday against the Blades.
If Portland wins tonight, all four teams are 1-1 after two games and things will get interesting. If Portland loses, they drop to 0-2 and basically disappear from contention already. High stakes.
FLAMES DRAFT PICKS
Well, the Blues are out. And the Penguins have a lead. What does this mean? Presuming, as I will do here, that the Kings, Blackhawks, Bruins and Penguins will be in the conference finals, here’s what will happen.
– Calgary’s own pick remains at 6th overall.
-St. Louis’ first rounder would be 22nd overall.
– Pittsburgh’s first rounder would be one of the last four picks, between 27th and 30th overall.
If the Penguins lose, though, because Chicago is the only remaining division winning team that finished ahead of them, the best that Flames fans can hope to draft with their pick is 25th or 26th. Best case is probably Chicago and Pittsburgh losing, in terms of draft picks. If that happened, the Flames would pick 6th, 20th and 25th.
Govern your cheering accordingly.
FGD WRITER RECORDS!
And on a lighter note, I (finally) tabulated the season’s FGD records sorted by writer. Based on who wrote the game preview, here’s how the Flames did.
I went 9-8-1, boasting a .500 winning percentage. BookofLoob was tied in winning percentage, at 1-1-0. Justin Azevedo went 3-4-1 (for a .375 winning percentage), while Nations overlord Kent Wilson went 4-8-2 for a woeful .285 winning percentage. Only Vintage Flame (0-3-0) was worse.
Collectively, the FN writing crew went 17-24-4. The OilerNation guest writers produced two Flames wins in the three games they previewed for us.
IF I WERE DRAFTING
Finally, if I were drafting as Flames GM, with the 6th, 22nd and 30th picks, here’s who I would grab.
At 6th overall: Sean Monahan, from the Ottawa 67s. He’s big, a center and has experience being a good player on a bad team. Much like how I enjoyed Brett Kulak carrying the mail in Vancouver (as I think it helps his development), the same can be said for Monahan in Ottawa.
At 22nd overall: Morgan Klimchuk, from the Regina Pats. For one, he’s a Calgary kid, but much like Monahan, he’s experienced at being a prime guy on his team. He’s also a very strong three-zone player and a guy who seems will translate to the professional ranks without much hassle due to his playing style.
At 30th overall: Ryan Hartman, from the Plymouth Whalers. I’ve been a fan of his since I saw him make life miserable for the opposition at the World Juniors. While boasting good offensive instincts and some strong skill, I mostly like Hartman because of his insane competitiveness and how he’s just a huge pain in the backside for the other team.