We’ve previewed a bunch of possible first round targets for Calgary to pick at 6, 22 and 28 over the last few weeks and now we’ve reached the stretch drive – mere hours from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. But before we let the festivities begin, let’s run down a couple other possible targets for
Describing Anthony Mantha as a hockey player is simple: pure goal scorer. The six foot four, 190 pound menace sniped 50 goals for
The most prominent of Mantha’s strengths is obviously his shot, which is already considered by many scouts to be an NHL calibre. Mantha also terrorized defenders with his blazing speed. Future Considerations described Mantha at top speed as being "amongst the fastest players straight line in the QMJHL". Quick feet is a big time attribute to have when you’re as big as Mantha is (6’04", 190). Ranked 18 by FC, he sits 22nd on Corey Pronman’s ranking, saying this about him:
Mantha picks up speed quickly, with a certain smoothness in his skating technique. That skating ability, combined with his 6’4" frame, makes him an intriguing physical package. He does possess some skill, but he is more of a good thinker than a fancy puck handler. He can slow the game down, and he exhibits good calmness, often finding the right plays to make with the puck. He shows above-average ability as a passer. He is a top-end finisher, possessing a bullet shot. When he gets an opportunity to one-time a puck, he winds up high, delivering a lot of weight through the shot. He could use some work defensively, as he is not the most physical of players, but he will bump opponents along the boards.
Mantha has all-star potential – he’s a big, fast sniper. Sounds a lot like what Jay Feaster and Co. have been saying they need to add to the team. Mantha could surprise many people and make the jump to the NHL next year – after all he has the size, skating and skill to do so but it’s generally a good idea to give freshly drafted prospects at least a year to refine their games in a lesser league. Nonetheless, Mantha would be a solid selection for the Flames at 22 and would be an absolute steal at 28 if he lasts until then.
Erne is another guy that fits into the "scoring power forward winger" niche that
Ignoring all that, the six foot one, 200 pound winger scored 28 goals and 72 points in 68 games (NHLE of 26), so that’s decent. The problem with Erne lies in his offensive potential and transition at the NHL level. Many question his creativity and just plain ability to create offense when the competition gets stiffer. In fact, Copper&Blue published a very interesting article comparing Erne to other players in a similar goals per game rate (between 0.37 and 0.45), points per game rate [between 0.92 and 1.13 (90% to 110% of Erne’s production)], who were selected somewhere
Of course, just because it happened to these guys doesn’t mean it will prove true for Erne, it just adds a little perspective. He’s an option at either 22 or 28, but I’d advise Flames staffers to stay away from this one.
The Flames need some feel good stories with all the crap that’s been happening and grabbing a good ol’
Although a little slight at 5’11", 180 pounds, Klimchuck has electrifying speed and world class agility that allows him dodge any issues that may come with being undersized. Great vision, tremendous stick work and a rifle for a shot make him a great offensive threat – almost a carbon copy of Sven Baertschi minus the ‘nicknameability’ (yes I made up that word) of his name and the number 2 ranking on our top 15 Flames prospects board.
Klimchuck’s shot is so impressive, it leads Future Considerations scout Zenon Herasymiuk to call it on of the best in the draft – heavy and accurate. Klimchuck sits 21st of Future Considerations ranking and while they agree with everything I mentioned about his offensive skills, they’re quick to point out he needs work in the defensive zone. He doesn’t necessarily lack effort or ability on D, he just doesn’t make an impact on the game in a major way on D. However a take-away here and block shot there can patch that up in a jiffy. Corey Pronman is not nearly as generous when ranking Klimchuck, dropping him out of the first round and dropping him off at 33rd overall, saying this about him:
Klimchuk put up good numbers with not much offensive help in
Good numbers indeed – Klimchuck’s 36 goals complimented the 76 points in 72 games he scored this year. While he’s not overly big or heavy he is fast and assuming
Judging by the Mark Jankowski bombshell last year, the Flames aren’t afraid to swing for homeruns at the draft. Well they’ll get another shot at one this June with Andre Burakowsky. The slick 6’1", 179 pound Swede has been regarded by many as the homerun swing of the draft. He has all the tools – skating, skill, grit – to become a high end NHLer one day but is marred by a couple of common issue attributed to high-octane offensive forwards: greed and lack of defence.
Burakowsky can get caught in "his own world" dancing with the puck and completely ignoring his teammates at times and on defence can show complete lack of interest. Ranked 13th by Corey Pronman, Burakowsky earned rave reviews from the Hockey Prospectus scout:
He gains efficient power from his stride, and he has a great top gear. His skill level allows him to regularly make above-average to high-end dekes and passes. He has the look of a skilled puck possessor with every shift. The extra element of his game is his grit, and one NHL source described his work ethic as equal to his skill level. He has the ability to impact the possession game with his skill and smarts, and he has a knack for pressuring the puck away from opponents. In order to fulfill his potential, Burakowsky will have to get stronger. There are also significant question marks around his decision making, as some scouts indicate he can be a bit of a puck hog. There are some kinks to correct, but his game has great upside, and he can be a top-line player at his peak.
Pronman – again – mentions Burakowsky’s lack of team play at times, turning into a "puck hog". Future Considerations, who ranks him at 25, echos much of the same, raving at his offensive skills and upside but expressing concern in regards to his vision and defensive commitment.
Burakowsky earned four goals for 11 points in 47 games playing in Sweden’s Allsvenskan (NHLE = 7) – basically a tier down for the SHL – which doesn’t seem too impressive for a guy who’s bread and butter is racking up points, but his lack of ice time early in the year can be blamed for that.
All in all, Burkowsky would be an intriguing choice for a Flames system that really lacks elite prospects, but he’s a much bigger question mark than some of the other options given his low ice time, point totals and incomplete game. He could come over in a couple of years should he add some muscle to his frame and could turn himself into a solid scoring winger in the future. Or, of course, wash-out completely.
The possiblites for Calgary are virtually endless at both the 22nd and 28th position. While I hope and pray they don’t go too far off the board, we’ll just have to wait and see how the ‘Most Important Draft in Calgary Flames History" plays out Sunday in New Jersey.
Flames First Round Targets
- Anthony Mantha
- Morgan Klimchuk
- Adam Erne
- Andre Burakowsky
- Robert Hagg
- Ryan Hartman
- Steve Santini
- Valery Nichushkin
- Nicolas Petan
- Josh Morrisey
- Elias Lindholm
- Aleksandr Barkov
- Sean Monahan