Flames Take Morgan Klimchuk 28th Overall


Morgan Klimchuk
– pic via Tricia Hall


In their third trip to the podium in the first round, the Flames went back to their list and grabbed a hometown boy, in the form of Morgan Klimchuk of the Regina Pats.

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The Flames are obviously familiar with Klimchuk, having seen the Pats play in the Dome quite a bit. After the fan (and media) confusion regarding passing on Hunter Shinkaruk at 22nd overall in favour of Emile Poirier, Klimchuk is a completely logical choice. A Calgary prospect, Klimchuk has put up strong offensive numbers for the Pats over the last two seasons – 113 points in 144 games, including being just over a point-per-game this season for the struggling club.

If putting up strong numbers on a fairly thin team isn’t impressive enough, the thing that struck me about Klimchuk’s game during my viewings was that he did the little things. In addition to scoring goals and setting them up, Klimchuk’s two-way game is very good and he’s good at reading coverage. He’s an effective player in his own zone, constantly using his head to check his own team’s coverage and adjust his positioning.

Overall, he’s considered a player that isn’t great at anything, but is pretty damn good at everything.

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After the Emile Poirier pick divided the fanbase, Klimchuk wasn’t just a safe pick – he was the right pick. The most important first round in franchise history is now complete. As the immortal poet Meatloaf once wrote: “Two outta three ain’t bad.”

  • icedawg_42

    Was disappointed that Lindholm wasn’t on the board at 6, so I gave Feaster an A on Monahan. Then at #22 I was so baffled and angry about leaving Shinkiurak on the board that turned into a D- …the Klimchuk pickup brought my overall rating on the Flames first round to B….I would much rather gambled with the #28 pick than the #22

  • beloch

    It is now apparent the Flames’ scouts had serious wood for Poirer and, with no second round picks to work with, it was inevitable that they’d take him in the first round. However, the chance that Poirer was going to be drafted in the 23-27 range was exceedingly low, so this really comes down to one thing:

    Klimchuk vs. Shinkaruk

    They’re both Calgary boys. They’re both 5’11”. They both debuted in the WHL during the 2010-2011 season. Shinkaruk is only 5 months older but has an played 49 more games and has scored at a significantly higher pace in the WHL, and is a center to boot. WHL Stats:

    Shinkaruk | Klimchuck
    G/G: 0.518 | 0.375
    P/G: 1.135 | 0.785
    PIM/G: 0.549 | 0.326

    The Tigers have done better over the last three seasons than the Pats, so there’s less chance that Klimchuk was being propped up by his team-mates. Shinkaruk is a bit lighter, suggesting he may have more filling out to do than Klimchuk. I’d say the stat-sheet definitely gives a significant edge to Shinkaruk in spite of this. Having too many good centers is a great problem to have, since it’s easy to turn them into wingers and even easier to trade them. Klimchuk is a winger and therefore slighly less adaptable.


    If the Flames’ were dead-set on taking Poirer in the first round, they probably should have taken Shinkaruk at 22 and Poirer at 28. Perhaps their scouts have seen something in these players that is not reflected in their stats. These are both players that Calgary scouts have probably seen a *lot* of, so I’ll grant that this is possible. Time will tell!

    • RedMan

      “It is now apparent the Flames’ scouts had serious wood for Poirer and, with no second round picks to work with, it was inevitable that they’d take him in the first round. However, the chance that Poirer was going to be drafted in the 23-27 range was exceedingly low…”

      It is my guess that Montreal would have taken him at their late pick (was it 25th?)
      He said he had interviewed long with the Flames AND Montreal…and was pretty sure if one hadn’t taken him, the other would have.

  • RexLibris

    While I hadn’t anticipated the names, I did believe that the Flames would work the 1st round this way, reaching for a 2nd round player with a 1st round pick.

    Bad round. Monahan is a good pick, I was really hoping he’d be there for Edmonton.


    Klimchuk, reach, in my opinion. Kind of reminiscent of the Jankowski move in that there was talent left on the board and they chose not to take it.

  • RexLibris

    Poirer would not have been available at 28. Montreal was set to pick him at 25. Highly skilled player with good size and fastest player in the draft. As much as we all like the local boy Shinkaruk this was the right choice.
    Good on Feaster to stick with his top list!

  • TheBear64

    Bottom line, when drafting players, you take the best guy available at the time. This is why the Colorado Avalanche took Nathan MacKinnon 1st overall even though they desperately need good defensemen. MacKinnon was by far the best player available.

    This group of Flames scouts stubbornly thinks that they know better than everyone else, and sticks to their list no matter what, no matter who is the best player available. They passed by better players last year and they did it again this year. These decisions will come back to bite them, when those players that they passed over will become good players for their opposition. This has happened many times in the past with the Flames, and it seems it will continue to happen for some time yet.

    • supra steve

      “This group of Flames scouts stubbornly thinks that they know better than everyone else, and sticks to their list no matter what, no matter who is the best player available.”

      So, what do you suppose they base their list upon???? I would think it is the BPA according to all the data they have collected over the past season (and longer in most cases). Have you not noticed that every list is different? Why would the Flames list be identical to the TSN list or the Hockey News list?

      Craig Button’s list had Klimchuk at 18 (just above Horvat) and Poirier at 29. Not saying this list is any better then any other that can be found on the internet, just demonstrating that there are different opinions out there.

      Why bother employing a scouting dept. if all we want to see is the highest player on the TSN list as our next selection (or the highest player on your personal list)?

      • I guess most of us are wondering how the Flames make their list. I don’t see any geniuses in the bunch so what information are they getting that others don’t?

        It is one thing to like someone more that is projected to go later better than some available at your pick but it is a waste to not trade down in that situation. I still don’t agree with these later 2 first round picks being the best choices regardless.

        I will gladly eat my words if Feasters picks do better than other consensus/safer picks. Same goes for the high schooler Jankowski picked last year. Hated the pick then, hate it now and will eat my words if he does anything of relevance in the NHL.

  • RedMan

    I like the Flame’s first rounders… including the foreigner, what’s his name, Poirer? skill and not undersized and grit, tough… we need these guys too – third-liners that can put the puck in the net and play it tough

  • Really like Monahan & Klimchuk, not familiar with Poirer, but he sounds half decent.

    This draft wasn’t a home run, but we added 3 potential top 9 Forwards today & have some wildcards that could turn into something.

    Not bad. Now on to Free Agency hah!

  • I read last night that Montreal was keen on Poirier and they were picking at 25. The reason we had to pass on Shinkaruk to get Poirier was because of that reason. That being said. I have felt strongly that Shinkaruk was over rated since March add to the fact that Vancouver sucks at developing younger players Shinkaruk might end up elsewhere anyhow.

    The reason i like Poirier over Shinkaruk is Shinkaruk is not a dynamic player he’s pretty much straight forward. You take Poirier’s speed and hands the way he can accelerate in 1 to 2 strides to top speed is something the Flames have severely lacked. Add that to the fact that he drives to the net unabashedly at full speed and you have a unique player in your line up that a lot of teams do not have. Now consider that most of the goaltenders in the NHL today are not technical stoppers like they were in the 90’s they’re more big lumbering bodies that take up net and have solid reactions. Take a kid coming at you at 30 mph full speed and a goalie who sucks at moving/technical positioning and he’ll never be able to get himself into position in time. Advantage Poirier. The more I think about this pick the more I think the Flames have done their homework again coming up with possibly the late round steal of the draft. Will Poirier ever reach the heights of Barkov, MacKinnon or Drouin. Probably not. That doesn’t mean in the right mix of players he can’t be an amazing player.

    p.s. he’s Vinny Lecavalier’s nephew.
    ‘nough said.