As the run-up to the 2014 NHL Draft begins in earnest, everyone and their dog does a mock draft. Heck, probably two or three of ’em.
It makes sense. Mocks give an idea of the actual players a team might get, rather than in the abstract, which makes them easier to discuss. But ignoring the obvious “you’re trying to predict the behaviour of 30 groups” problem, from a Flames standpoint we had another issue.
This is the first draft for Brad Treliving and Brian Burke in Calgary, and nobody knows what their preferences are or how hands-on either of them will be.
Back before Treliving was hired, the variables were simpler. Brian Burke would run the draft, but Tod Button would create the list with his staff. Button is still probably working off the Weisbrod/Feaster criteria of a combination of character, skill and hockey sense, given that the upper management roll-over began in December, when a lot of the groundwork had been laid for the year’s scouting.
Burke? He likes big guys. And we’ve had a few looks back at his drafting history as a GM already – he’s sat at the table for a lot of drafts, so he has a track record. Treliving doesn’t give us that option, as he was an assistant GM under Don Maloney and probably had a similar level of involvement as Craig Conroy does – input on some decisions, but probably no final calls.
In a way, though, that could work to Calgary’s advantage.
If nobody knows what cards the Flames have, or what players they value – on their team or in the draft – it provides a really interesting shift in bargaining position that the team hasn’t really had in a few years. Teams will probably find it harder to pull a fast one, at least until they develop expectations of what the new management team really values on the market.
But it sure does make it frustrating when you’re trying to assess from the outside whether Treliving and Burke prefer Aaron Ekblad to Sam Bennett, or Sam Reinhart to Leon Draisaitl, or Michael Dal Colle to Jake Virtanen.
We can guess, but none of our guesses this year will be particularly educated.