Flames 2013 First Round Targets: Steven Santini



Ranked 47thamong North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, defenseman Steven Santini seems to check off a lot of the boxes that one would expect the Calgary Flames look for in a prospect: he’s American. He’s decently big. He’s heading to the NCAA. He’s a defenseman. Depending on how other teams rank him, he may be available in the late first round or, perhaps, when Calgary picks in the third round.

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Santini’s a March 1995 birthday, so he’s smack-dab in the middle of this draft class in terms of age. He played the last two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team in the USHL, where he had 5 points in 36 games two years ago and 5 points in 25 games this year, so he’s no offensive dynamo.

Defensive play is obviously his bread and butter – he had zero points for the silver medal-winning Team USA at the World Under-18s this year, but was named the best blueliner in the tournament. He’s 6’2” and over 205 pounds and appears to be physically mature. Notably, he’ll be joining Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold at Boston College in the fall.

A lot of people like Santini. But he’s the kind of player that appears all over the damn place in scouting lists thanks to having a lackluster offensive ceiling.

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Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus has him at 28. He praises his skating, physical play and defensive abilities. According to Pronman, things get hairy regarding his offensive play:

Santini’s area of dispute lies in his offensive upside. He shows good abilities on the power play, but scouts have given me divided opinions on his puck moving, ranging anywhere from it being one of his best qualities to being just average. I tend to lean toward the latter, despite the occasional flashes of puck rushing Santini shows. One source praised his shot, although I am not as convinced that it is a strength.

Future Considerations has Santini at 34. The Hockey Writers’ rankings have him at 45. My personal rankings have him at 35. It’s likely that a lot of teams have him similarly all over the place in their rankings. But he brings things to the table – notably physicality and strong defensive play – that teams tend to really like. They may simply choose players with more offensive upside ahead of him, which means he may slide anywhere from the late first round to the early third.


The Flames have a decent cluster of recent defenseman from the draft in Brett Kulak, Patrick Sieloff, Ryan Culkin and Tyler Wotherspoon. Steven Santini is a little bit different from all of these guys (though he’s closer to Sieloff than any of the others if we’re making comparisons), and he’s headed to college for a few years. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see the Flames continue to draft college-bound players – you keep their rights for awhile and they can develop at their own pace – and Santini is headed to a college where two Flames prospects already play.

But if he is, the Flames would be be wise to consider drafting him.

Flames First Round Targets

Around the Nation

  • ChinookArchYYC

    My preference is to take defensemen late, so yes a 3rd round pick up is fine by me. Defensemen nearly always take time to develop and if he says all 4 years he’ll be 22/23 when he’s ready to make the jump to the show. It doesn’t matter that there are a number of defensemen in the Flames’ stables. When you’re taking about 4 years from now, it’s about collecting assets.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    On a non-sports note, the flooding has displaced a lot of families all over southern Alberta. It’s going to be a difficult time for many of our friends and neighbors. My thoughts and good wishes are with those affected.

    • supra steve

      I live in Okotoks, but work in High River. I tried to drive out at about 11:15AM, but by then the water was too deep in places so I went back to my workplace. Was stuck there till about 6pm with about 17 others (and 2 dogs), no electric (11:30am) and no cel phone service after about 2pm. Rescued by a big manure spreader truck, which we were all quite happy to jump into by that time. My small store was still dry when we left, as the building is on a small rise, but we were literally on an island as several cars in our parking lot were covered half way up their doors. On the drive out some cars were completely covered and many buildings under 4 or more feet of water.

      Thankfully, my home is dry in Okotoks and we will have family staying with us from High River (one whose basement is probably flooded and another whose basement is hopefully dry).

      And my beloved Subaru…was still dry when I left it in High River.

      A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers and rescue workers, much appreciated.

    • Lordmork

      My fiancee and I had to evacuate around 11 last night. No real risk to our house (we hope), which is the good news, and we were packed and ready and had a place to go. I hope everyone else who’s been affected is as lucky as us.

  • I would LOVE Santini in the 3rd. But there is absolutely no way he falls that far. I’d like Santini in the late first, too, though. Seems like a really solid player.

    If you’re talking about defenders in the early 3rd round, you’re more likely looking at guys like Linus Arnesson. JMO.

  • Lordmork

    All my years in Calgary, I have never seen it this bad. I’ve seen flooding, bad flooding but I cant remember seeing the things I have seen on TV. This is just unbelievable. Hope everyone is OK & dry. June is really becoming a scary month, its becoming its own season, our rain season.

  • McRib

    IMO the Flames should stick to drafting high skill forwards in the first round. Santini doesn’t have the upside to justify being drafted in the first round.

  • Franko J

    I like Sanitini, however if the Flames are going to use the 22nd or 28th pick in the draft, I am thinking that they might have other Defenseman ranked higher on their list.
    They are probably are more likely targeting:
    McCoshen, Mueller, or Theodore with one of those picks. With the long-shot or dark horse pick of Vanelli.

  • please cancel acct

    I also would like too see three forwards picked with our first round selections. If Morrisey is still available at 22 ,that would definitely be hard to pass on. But I doubt he’ll make it that far.It sure would be nice to have a 2nd round pick, as there will be some really good defensemen still available.


    Morrisey /Mantha/Lekonen/Lazar


    Round 3 Wallmark

  • McRib

    I like Santini and the fact that he is off to Boston College makes sense but listening to Jay Feaster yesterday on TSNs Mock Draft show after someone suggested that he was who TSN had with the third pick he laughed and said “everyone wants to tell us who we should draft”. For starters that might scare the crap out of most fans, but leads me to the impression that Santini isn’t as likely as possible. Honestly I can see a Morrissey or Pulock dropping to 22nd, so Santini would only ever work for me at 28, but perfer Theodore, Bowey and Vanelli’s offensive upside.

    He is a worst case scenario pick and if the Flames are going off the board with the 28th don’t be suprised if its Tommy Vanelli. Pronman and NHL Central Scouting might not like him, but I know Red Line Report has him 28th right in that Pittsburgh slot.