Flames Darkhorse Targets: Eric Roy


Phil Tot fighting Eric Roy at the end of the game

 – pic via CanesCast

Usually the hype generated about the NHL Entry Draft in any given year is due to the top players in that class. Not much thought is given to those ranked outside of the Top 30, although if you looks back through previous drafts you’ll find each class hosts a couple players who have become notable NHLers.

The 2013 class in particular has been regarded as a "deep" draft. This refers more to the talent available outside the Top 30 rather than merely best in class – although there’s no shortage of high end prospects as well. After their picks at 6, 22 and 28 are made  (barring a trade) Calgary will select in the third round, at 67th overall. A guy who may be available at this spot – and is considered to be one of the draft’s chief dark horses – is Brandon Wheat King rearguard Eric Roy (rrrrr-oh-yee not wu-ah).

Roy has been one of the WHL’s top offensive for the last couple years, although his production stumbled a bit this year. Partnered with top 2013 prospect Ryan Pulock, Roy amassed 17 goals for 39 points in 72 games. This after a 53 point campaign the year previous. Of course, Brandon being one of the WHL’s worst teams likely contributed a bit to Roy‘s dip in production.

Scouting Report

Roy is ranked 71st on Corey Pronman’s Top 100 NHL Draft prospects list and had this to say about him:

After an impressive 17-year-old season, Roy took a step backwards in his 18-year-old campaign with Brandon. He has some abilities with which to work, but there are a number of areas that he needs to address if he is to succeed as a pro.

The good: Roy is an above-average skater who is mobile in every direction, and he skates well for a bigger player. He has significant offensive upside, evident in his 53 points in 69 games last season.

The bad: his defense, his decision making with the puck, and his physical game. One scout said that he is lost in his own end, and another said that he struggles with pace, turnovers, and trying to do too much. These issues and consequential risks make Roy a long-term prospect, should he pan out.

Every scout I talk to echoes the exact same thing as Pronman mentions above: Roy has tremendous offensive tools and upside, but looks lost when tasked to play defence – which ironically is also what his position is called.

Coming into the season Roy was considered as a possible contender for a Top 15 Draft spot, however those hopes have long faded. His personal downfalls combined with his teams performance on the ice culminated into a season to forget for the blue-liner. Also, with more eyes on him due to it being his draft year, his defensive flaws have become more magnified and assisted mightily with his drop down draft boards.

He does however posses tremendous offensive tools and a skill set like that on a defensemen may too be good for some teams to pass up on inside the Top 90. He skates well and also has an above average shot. The advantage with Roy is that his biggest weakness is something that can be taught. His neglect and overall lack of attention paid to the defensive zone can be adjusted and if he’s willing to learn, can become a sufficiently executed part of his game. The upside is definitely there, it’s the uncertain projection that will scare teams off come draft day.

The Numbers

Roy’s 17 goals for 39 points comes out to an NHLE of 13 which doesn’t exactly blow the doors down but is respectable for a draft eligible defensemen who’s game revolves around his offense. His NHLE last season 19 is actually considerably better and speaks towards the step backwards he took this season.

Mentioned in Kent‘s previous Darkhorse piece about Jordan Subban – who’s a very similar player to Roy – players who’s offense is the main part of their game in Junior sometimes tend to struggle when they reach the NHL. The difference between Subban and Roy is size. Subban is 5’9” while Roy towers at 6’3”. He is however fairly lanky (Jankowski-esque) weighing only 187 pounds and if he stands a chance at the pro-ranks he needs to – like most prospects – pack on some muscle.

Roy‘s tools do look like they have the potential to evolve into an NHL calibre skill set and that is certainly something that will attract teams. The duo of high offensive potential and a fixable weakness in his defence gives him massive upside and rebuilding team like the Flames could deem that to be a risk worth taking.


Many scouts and people "in the know" that I’ve spoken with echo that Roy is one of the drafts biggest dark horses in that if you fix his D, he could be a stud. Calgary needs difference makers now and in any other draft, finding a big time boom or bust prospect in the 3rd round would be a no brainer, however with the depth of this draft there may better (and safer) options at 67.

While Roy does have all the tools (on offense) to become an impact NHLer, his aforementioned defensive uncertainty adds a big level risk to his projection. If Jay Feaster and Co. were to end up picking Roy, I’d be more intrigued rather than upset because it would at least be going down an unbeaten path for Calgary – one of selecting high risk/high reward players in the draft. This a route Calgary has seldom taken in the past but seem to be doing much more of under Feaster (Jankowski, Gaudreau) and it’s bound to show some dividends sooner or later.

That said, picking Roy (or Subban) would go against some of the Flames recent draft habits of targeting kids with "hockey sense". The team hasn’t chosen a high-end offensive defender since Dion Phaneuf in 2003, instead going with stay-at-home guys (Sieloff and Wotherspoon) or two-way defenders (Brodie, Kulak, Culkin). The organization lacks firepower from the back-end as a result, so perhaps the team starts looking at potential blueline big guns this year.

Flames Darkhorse Targets

  • Parallex

    Yuck, Poor decision making is a major red flag for me… hard to improve someones thought process under pressure.

    Speaking of darkhorses: What would people think about drafting defenseman Brenden Kichton? I think he’s redraftable after not signing with the Islanders. 85 points in 71 games this year. He’s out of CHL eligibility I think, so he’d have to go straight to the farm, but a defenseman with a better then a PPG rate in the Dub… that has to be considered right?

    • SmellOfVictory

      I’d certainly be okay with Kichton sometime in the later rounds. No idea where he’s currently ranked.

      @Baalzamon: well Babchuk is ONLY a shot. He can’t pass for crap, he can’t skate, and he can’t do anything else. Roy may end up with similar defensive acumen, but at the very least he’d be faster and more versatile than Babs is.

      • SmellOfVictory

        I said it was my first thought, not my most coherent one, haha.

        I was downright mystified when I saw that Kichton was re-entering the draft. You have to wonder why he didn’t sign with New York.

        • Parallex

          Looking at the Islanders Reserve list they have 5 D on Roster, and 7 non-roster ELC’s (with only Griffin Reinhart able to slide) signed through 2014, alongside two D RFA’s… that’s not including any upcoming UFA’s they want to sign/resign… maybe he figured he wouldn’t get a shot with so many guys (many of them young) there?

      • icedawg_42

        x2. Babboon was awful in almost every aspect of his game. He could not skate at an NHL level, at all. If the Flames play it safe and make solid choices with all 3 picks in the first round (read: Steer clear of Fucale) then, like most of the sentiment here, I’d be ok with a high risk/high reward pick in the 3rd round.

    • Christian Roatis

      To be honest, I’d prefer Kichton over Roy. The one thing a lot of people question about Roy is his hockey sense – and that’s not something you can teach.

    • Christian Roatis

      To be honest, I’d prefer Kichton over Roy. The one thing a lot of people question about Roy is his hockey sense – and that’s not something you can teach.

  • McRib

    Depends where Roy goes he could easily go late second or early third, if he slips to the fourth then I’m all for it, but game went to S**T this season, he was -32 and stats last year were propped up by Ryan Pulock. Its looking like he is a first round talent, with a ten cent head type… but worth a flyer in fourth/fifth.

    The biggest flyer for me in the WHL is Jackson Houck, everyone seems to have wrote Vancouver off this season but he put up solid points with zero help. Red Line Report has him 38th and his stats on a weak team and power forward potential suggest such a ranking, yet every other publication has him 90-100… Just don’t understand it. That’s who I would want the Flames to take with the third rounder, could turn out to be the next Jamie Benn, Milan Lucic IMO. Another flyer is Kyle Burroughs a defender for Regina as he really came on late in the season.

    • Christian Roatis

      Houck had help from Brett Kulak…

      I wouldn’t mind looking at him at 67th. And I’d definitely prefer him at 28th over Fucale (though that’s more just my complete disdain for drafting a goalie in the first round than anything else).

      • McRib

        Its Adam Lowry Déjà Vu all over again for Jackson Houck… If we got him with that 67 pick it would be the best value pick in the draft and it doesn’t even seem out of reach.

        Everyone has lost there minds taking about Jason Dickinson (47 Points) and Laurent Dauphin (57 Points) as potential first rounder’s, yet I have heard nothing on Jackson Houck (57 Points) as even a second rounder? He put up similar numbers with far less help in a more physical league than those other two…. I would take him with the third first rounder in a heartbeat potential wise, but then everyone would say he is another Mark Jankowski pick and call me crazy, Hahahaha.

        When your only regular help ia a defender (Franson battled injuries all year) you don’t have much help, lol. (Cough Cough Sean Monahan) Houck & Kulak are already the cornerstones for that franchise, which they are turning around quickly to say the least. Obviously its a great market, as they will have two of the best 16 year-olds in the league next year Jakob Stukel and Alec Baer. Plus Tyler Benson the next year and they have already brought in vets Dalton Thrower and Joel Hamilton to help.

        Don’t even get me started on wasting a first on a goalie especially Fucale… Clearly the Hockey world is unaware of Ramo, Ortio, Berra, Gillies & Brossoit, all they see is Kipper is retiring so we need to draft a goalie NOW!! I think we are set for a couple years… Not to mention we have Tristan Jerry in our backyard the most complete goalie from the WHL since Carey Price and out performed Fucale at the Top Prospects Game and blew away his GAA/S% stats.

  • McRib

    On a similar note does anyone else think the QMJHL players are getting a little too much recogniztion this year being as its one of the best crops of all time for them??

    The WHL/OHL always have 2x or 3x more players drafted and by no means do I think this is an off year for the ‘dub, but the media seem to be discounting WHL players. Wonder if NHL teams think the same… as Klimchuk, Bowey, Theodore, Muller and Jerry are all first rounders for me.

    I’m not saying the QMJHL doesnt have some talent, but guys like Morgan Klimchuk outperformed Laurent Dauphin & Frederik Gauthier big time at the U18s yet most people still have the Q players ahead of him at the draft. Its funny the Q players I like (William Carrier and Emile Poirier) seem very underrated where as those other guys I don’t see as firsts other than hype.

    I am starting to think Calgary should trade that third pick for two seconds and take a falling Kilimchuk, Theodore, Bowey and one of those underrated Q guys (Carrier/Poirier)) or secure a very underrated Houck. This draft is sooooooo deep we could catch two gems in the second ala Shea Weber, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, etc in 2003.

    • McRib

      Petan has all the intangibles to think he can be a scorer at the next level. (Explosive first step with breakaway speed and a great Hockey IQ to avoid contact)

      If we can get a couple Big Forwards 6. Monahan 22. Erne/Rychel with the first two picks then Petan would be an ideal high upside pick for us at 28th, that’s right Pittsburgh’s pick is no longer 30th.

      If we had Gaudreau and Petan in the ranks, we might as well just trade Mike Cammalleri for another second rounder and change at the draft. Nic Petan could play in a year or two he is a Jaden Schwartz NHL thirdline ready player for me.

      Another small WHL forward if the Flames look somewhere else other than Petan worth noting is Jaedon Descheneau of Kootenay he finished third in WHL scoring of all 1995 draft eligibles and could be had for a sixth/seventh round pick from the looks of it.

  • SmellOfVictory


    yeah i definitely wouldnt mind calgary making another move to acquire another pick in the draft…2nd3rd round… whether it is the pit pick to move down or moving a player… we could end up with a few goodfuture NHLers this year… maybe with more selections we would have a better chance of drafting an elite player or two.

  • everton fc

    Shouldn’t I have penned this piece?! 🙂

    I still say we take a fly on Roy, if he’s available. The article itself, sells the player. At least to me:

    “He does however posses tremendous offensive tools and a skill set like that on a defensemen may too be good for some teams to pass up on inside the Top 90. He skates well and also has an above average shot. The advantage with Roy is that his biggest weakness is something that can be taught. His neglect and overall lack of attention paid to the defensive zone can be adjusted and if he’s willing to learn, can become a sufficiently executed part of his game. The upside is definitely there, it’s the uncertain projection that will scare teams off come draft day.”

    My other darkhorse – Jerome Verrier of Drummondville. Reminds me of a Quebecois-version of Nevin Markwart, though he’s a smidge bigger, with better offencive capabilities. Potentially. Perhaps I should pen a piece on Verrier, for Flamesnation?! 😉

  • McRib

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Flames use the 22nd pick on Petan if they’re that high on him. They might not want to risk him not being there 6 picks later. This is of course unless someone like Domi is still available at 22 which is unlikely.

    • McRib

      Good point and from what I have seen from Petan really seems like a kid with his head on his shoulders per say, I know the Flames are big on character guys and they have fallen in love with players the past two years because of it (Jankowski, Baertschi). Also gotta think a couple of teams before that Pittsburgh pick i.e. the Canucks like him a lot as well.

  • Franko J

    So many good players available. After the top 30 there is still an abundance of good prospects available. Here is hoping Feaster can at the least make a couple trades for more picks. Maybe I’m greedy but I would like to see the Flames try and obtain as many picks possible in this draft.