Random Thoughts – The Flames 2014 Draft

random-thoughts

The draft is over and free agency season is rapidly approaching. We won’t be able to truly grade the new regime’s work in Philly for another 3-5 years, unfortunately, so all we’re left with right now is first impressions and gut reactions based on the info we have the factors you weight and covet. As much as we talk about prospect’s characters and builds and skills and results, the truth is each kid is or more or less a scratch lottery ticket – you buy a bunch now and only in 3+ years do you find out if you won anything.

For now, here is my knee-jerk reaction to Treliving’s first draft.

– I’ll start with Sam Bennett, because it doesn’t really matter what happens in the rest of the draft if Bennett turns out. There are all sorts of reasons to be excited about this kid: a June, 1996 birthday means he was one of the younger guys in the draft. He led his team in scoring by a 21-point margin despite only playing 57 games. Henri Ikonen, who came in second to Bennett, is two years older and an NHL draft pick.

Bennett also scored at the highest rate at even strength of any draft eligible player this year. His draft NHLe of 39.3 is right in line with most excellent-to-elite prospects.

These are sparkling results, which is likely why Bennett usually showed up higher than 4 on most mock draft and scouting lists. Corey Pronman ranked Bennett #2 behind Aaron Ekblad on his top-100 prospect list:

It’s hard to find a specific part of Bennett’s game that is weak; he’s
simply a fantastic all-around forward. He’s a really fast and energetic
skater who can play at a high pace and embrace a pressure style with
high amounts of effectiveness. However, Bennett’s best quality is his
hockey IQ. He sees the ice really well, and can dominate the puck in
terms of possession due to his hockey brain on top of his speed and puck
skills. Bennett has flashy elements to his game, while also being able
to generate chances through work ethic and instincts, and has an
impressive shot as well. Bennett battles well for pucks, with what one
NHL exec coins “superb natural balance” in terms of his center of
gravity in board confrontations. He also embraces the physical game, can
lay some quality hits and is a fine defensive forward.

Smart, fast, mean, deadly. The only thing Bennett needs to improve is strength, but that can be said of about 90% of the 17 year olds drafted each year. He instantly becomes a top-3 prospect in this organization.

– That said, Bennett should return to the OHL next season. Unlike Sean Monahan, who was one of the older guys of his draft class and already NHL-sized, Bennett has some growing and physical maturing to do before he’s ready to battle men in the NHL for 82-games a year. As a potential cornerstone player for his franchise, the last thing the exec team should want to do is rush him into the league and potentially spoil his development.

– To say nothing of starting the clock on his entry-level contract – keeping Bennett in Calgary next season means you trade a cheap year of 21 year old Bennett in 2017-18 (when the Flames might actually be competitive) for a cheap year of 18 year old Bennett in 2014-15 (when the Flames probably won’t be). It’s a no-brainer.

– It should go without saying for those who know me that I am currently ambivalent at best about the rest of the Flames draft. The first potential misstep, I think, was picking a goalie (Mason MacDonald) high in the second round.

I have nothing against the player in particular. He sounds like a decent prospect. But then, most goalies do when you pick them. The problem with puckstoppers is no one in the league has proven they can predict them with any sort of accuracy. Future starters and stars are liberally sprinkled throughout the draft every year. Goaltenders also have a much longer soaking period as prospects – to the degree that they often don’t become starters for the team that drafted them even if they work out.

Let’s put it this way: outside of MacDonald, the Flames have picked 15 goalies over the last 20 years in the entry draft. The most successful of them (not counting guys like Joni Ortio, Jon Gillies and Laurent Brossoit, who are still working to establish themselves), were Craig Anderson and Curtis McElhinney. Anderson was picked by the Flames in the 3rd round in 1999 and then re-entered the draft in 2001, where he was selected by Chicago. He didn’t become an established starter in the NHL until 2010, nearly a decade later. McElhinney has managed to hang around the league, but primarily as a back-up.

Three of those Flames goalie picks came in the first two rounds: Evan Lindsay, 32nd overall (1997), Brent Krahn, 9th overall (2000) and Leland Irving, 26th overall (2005). They played a grand total of 14 games for Calgary between all of them (13 for Irving, 1 for Krahn). Brent Krahn was the second goalie picked in the 2000 draft behind Rick Dipietro. The best goaltender of that draft class? Henrik Lundqvist, selected 205th.

Goalies are a crapshoot. A better than average goalie can be incredibly valuable, but reliably finding and developing one is exceptionally difficult.

– Here’s the other problem with goalies – they are the only NHL position that is “pass/fail”. In order to work his way up an org chart, a goalie has to be clearly better than the org’s other options in front of him.

That’s not true of skaters – if a Sean Monahan doesn’t become a 40-goal scorer, he can still be of value to the team as a two-way checking center, or high end penalty killer. If Sam Bennett can’t seem to handle the strength of NHL centers when he makes it to the show, the coach can try shifting him to wing, etc. 

There are a myriad number of roles and niches skaters can fill and still be valuable. For goalie, it’s either quality starter or just good enough to be a back-up. That’s it. And back-ups can be had every off-season for next to nothing.

– Which brings me to my final point about goalies – all but the best of them are lousy assets from a trade/market perspective. There are usually more capable goaltenders than they are starting jobs in the NHL. There is a huge middle class of puck stoppers who can be acquired and signed relatively easily. Replacement level guys can be had on waivers or as free agents all the time. So unless that guy you pick ends up being a better than average starter in 3-5 years, there’s a good chance he a.) won’t make the team anyways or b.) won’t be worth much as a trade chip.

– We discussed Hunter Smith at length yesterday in the comments, so I’ll only say he looks like a very big gamble (literally and figuratively). He’s old for this draft class, doesn’t have a history of putting up points (his 40 last year were by far a career high in junior) and his NHLe of 15 means his chances of being a 0.5 point-per-game in the show (ie; about 40 points per year) are about 29% if he makes the NHL at all.

Ever since the Bruins picked Milan Lucic in the second round back in 2006, other NHL teams have been trying to pull off the same trick. At some point I guess someone will manage to find that power forward/enforcer hybrid they so covet, but for now Lucic is a unicorn.

My guess is the Flames are hoping for a Lucic-like homerun here. It’s possible because, well, Lucic exists, but it’s far more likely they picked a replacement level tough guy or, at best, Brian Boyle instead. Again, assuming Smith makes it to the show at all.

That said, if Hunter Smith is indeed the next Lucic, high fives all around.

– Related: Brian Boyle is available as a UFA this summer.

– Which brings us to Brandon Bollig. I think he’s probably an upgrade on the club’s current tough guys, though it’s hard to say to what degree he was floated by playing on an elite team like Chicago. I’d prefer it if the Flames didn’t use assets (beyond 7th rounders and career fringe players) to acquire tough guys, but this does seem like an effort to up the functional toughness quotient of the club, which I previously identified as a need moving forward. 

As such, I will reserve judgement until Bollig plays some games in a Flames jersey.

– Related: Brad Treliving was on the radio yesterday and he said the team kind of expects Bollig to be more than a 4th line fighter. And while he may be better than 4-minutes per night Kevin Westgarth, that strikes me as a pretty tall order for a guy who will soon be 28 and has never scored more than 14 points in ANY pro league (last year’s total was his career best in both the NHL and AHL).

Bollig indeed averaged about 10 mins per game last season, but that was the least of any regular skater on the Blackhawks – the only other guys within spitting distance were Bickell (11:21) and Ben Smith (12:44). The year before, Bollig was a team lowest 8 minutes per night in 25 games.

– If you’re wondering how Bollig could play so much (relative to most tough guys), my guess is it is an artifact of playing on the Hawks, who would have a lot less “panic time” minutes in any given season than most clubs. Chicago won 47 games last year and finished with a +47 goal differential. That means there’s a cushion there to play the bottom-end because you’re leading a lot more games by 2+ goals. The Flames, in contrast, played the most one-goal games in the league in 2013-14, many of them while trying to come from behind. That’s one of the big reasons McGrattan and Westgarth saw so much of the bench.

– I guess the best thing you can say about Bollig is he wasn’t sheltered at all by Quenneville last year. In fact, he had one of the lowest zone start ratios (offensive zone draws/defensive zone draws) in the league. If you have to skate a tough guy, it’s sensible not to waste offensive zone draws on them because they aren’t a threat to score, but a lot of coaches are reluctant to start the big guys in the d-zone because they are usually defensive liabilities (McGrattan and WestGarth were both given the high ground by Hartley, for example). If this means more o-zone starts for guys like Backlund, Monahan and Gaudreau (fingers crossed), then that’s a positive.

– There isn’t much to say about the rest of the Flames draft. Hickey sounds a bit like a TJ Brodie type defender, but he was selected out of the AJHL and is heading to college next year. We’re probably 5 years away from knowing if he’ll be a pro or not. The guys selected in the 100s are by definition near hopeless long-shots, so we can only assume we’ll never see them skate a game for the Flames and then pray it turns out otherwise.

– Here’s what can be said about the Flames draft: the only guy they picked who has real offensive upside is Sam Bennett. Everyone else projects to be some form of middle-rotation role player (or a goalie) at best. Unless Smith becomes Lucic, of course. Offense is very expensive and difficult to acquire via trade or free agency, which is why it’s preferable to draft it.

– Next up…free agent frenzy!

  • BurningSensation

    First off, I am ecstatic that we picked up the “consolation prize” at 4, being Sam Bennett. I think there is a fair chance that he could be the best player in the draft.

    As far as the rest of the draft I would say I am generally disappointed especially the second round.

    I thought there was a chance to address the Flames defensive depth. I was really hoping for McKeown at 34 since he was still there then Dougherty even though we would have had to move up.

    Kent mentions that the Flames are looking for another Lucic (by picking Hunter Smith) but why not look for another Shea Weber by picking some quality defenders.

    I don’t mind Hunter Smith and I know he fills the RW depth issue but isn’t it easier to convert other proven NHL forwards (IE: Colborne from center to right wing)than use high end picks? I am really not too sure it if or not but I suspect it might be.

    As far as the Bollig trade I am “okay” with it. I would have liked Chicago’s 5th rounder also in compensation for our 3rd to even out value but it must have been Calgary targeting Bollig rather than Bollig being shopped.

    I really, really disliked the Goalie pick up in the second round and I have no educated opinion on the rest of the picks.

    All that being said I understand that the Flames’ scouts and management know more about these prospects than I ever will so I am disappointed but I am sure it is not as bad as I think it is.

  • Parallex

    @ Kent

    “but this does seem like an effort to up the functional toughness quotient of the club”

    See here’s the thing upping the functional toughness quotient of the club in this manner is only really helpful if you simultaniously use it to rid yourself of the unfunctional toughness.

    Basically if they acquired Bollig in order to rid themselves of on-ice McGrattan (either via trade, waivers, or relegation to a part-time status) then sure this is a good thing. If on the other hand it’s something that they did because they intend on deploying Bouma as a third-liner (which is a bad idea) or playing him along with McGrattan on a regular basis (I guess with Bouma being the Center) then it basically accomplishes very little.

    With regards to the rest of the draft Bennett is obviously a great (albeit the obvious) pick-up as for the other rounds…I think it represents a missed opportunity for the club. There were many solid defensemen available when the Flames were picking and it’s a glaring hole in the organizational depth chart. Picking a goalie that high is a mistake… especially picking a junior goalie (draft a NCAA or European guy later and get extra years of development time on someone elses dime and greater utility on their ELC/RFA contracts). Drafting a 20 y.o. major junior player likewise seems wasteful (even in the 7th round) given he attended prospect camp with the Flames odds are he could have easily been had as a free agent, unless the Royals keep him around as an overager you basically have to sign him now. Hope he likes Alaska.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      One can say it was the obvious choice but it appears (who knows?) he was THE guy on many teams lists.

      People will argue that it was pretty predictable that CGY would land him. However people are forgetting every team could have leap frogged ahead to nab him. So the fact Calgary got him without using any other assets is very good.

      Imagine being on the floor. Rumours flying. Do you make the move to ensure your guy? It would be very hard not to.

      This may mean nothing but recall Tallon’s dramatic opening:

      “From the Ontario Hockey League …. {pause}

      Could only infer Ekblad or Bennett maybe Dal Colle but who did TSN have in their little windows. Not MDC. Draisaitl and the other same automatically excluded.

      Bennett was #1 on many of the 30 team’s list. Any one of them could’ve made a play.

      CGY showed a great “reading of the tea leaves” to not give up assets to ensure his selection.

      IMO neither an obvious or no brainer given the totality of all scenarios.

      • Parallex

        No, it was an obvious no brainer. The only other three players in his talent tier were taken ahead of him… and at that point they picked the BPA. I’m not going to give them any extra credit for not shooting themselves in the foot.

        • Jeff Lebowski

          Yeah, after the first 3 picks went off. Only then was it obvious. What about in the moments prior?

          They could’ve made a trade then to seal it. They may have been enticed to throw in Sven.

          Sure given that point in time it was clear but there was a build up leading to the draft… lots of things happening.

          To me, the showed great discipline.

          • Parallex

            Not to me. To me it just showed common sense, no extra credit given for having common sense… that’s why it’s called common.

            If they’d made a trade and threw in extra meaningful assets in order to select a forward of pretty comparable talent level that’s shooting yourself in the foot. And like I said you don’t get credit for avoiding self-harm.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        I think your argument is completely flawed; If Calgary traded up to #1 pick; Burke would have drafted Ekblad………

        The Flames management team was actually the only team that was not faced with a decision in the first round, every other team had tough choices to make, we just picked who was left over at #4……… Probably a good thing judging by our 2nd and 3rd round selections……….

        WW

        • Jeff Lebowski

          You’re assuming that no movement would’ve occurred in the order. What about trading to #2?

          Yes, after the fact no movement was the case but while in the midst – with all the action going on – I think teams were really trying to posture.

          Every team had decisions to make. Should we trade up, was Calgary’s?

          Also, I don’t believe Burke ran this draft. I really don’t. I’m no fan of Burke but I truly believe he let BT do his thing.

          It’s certainly guess work – and a great chance that I’m wrong – but something makes me feel Bennett was above Ekblad for BT.

          Absurd? CSS had it that way.

          • Derzie

            “Also, I don’t believe Burke ran this draft. I really don’t. I’m no fan of Burke but I truly believe he let BT do his thing.”

            Agreed…….this draft had “rookie GM” written all over it: the guy we had targeted is gone so now we panic and make a weak selection……

            I still don’t think Bennett was our first choice (even though Burke will tell you he was now…..) I’m not even sure he was our second choice, maybe not even our third choice.

            Don’t get me wrong: we are very happy to have him, but there is a reason he went 4th……..

            WW

  • Greg

    I just realized that I can’t actually remember any flame pick from last year after the first 3 (without looking it up), so I’m not sure why I expected better given we didn’t have 3 first rounders this year. 2nd and 3rd rounders only occupy my attention span for a few years unless they become something by then, and anyone past the third round isn’t even someone I’ll ever remember unless they were particularly noteworthy for some reason (Gaudreau for his size, B Sutter for his last name), or emerge in a couple years as a legit prospect (Brodie).

    My take on the draft is pretty much in alignment with Kent’s:

    1) Bennett is a rockstar. I coveted him above the other top-4 guys

    2) Smith – 29% chance he becomes a 40 point player? I’ll take that actually. If you could do that with your 2nd every year, and end up with a 6’6″ 40 point winger every 3-4 years… I agree with the previous commenter that we’ll probably know which way he really projects by next year.

    3) Macdonald and Hickey… Boo to picking a goalie in the 2nd, but otherwise sound like decent prospects… It’ll be 4-5 years before we know if they are keepers or busts. I’ll have forgotten them by then if they don’t do anything noteworthy.

    4) Bollig trade and 4th+ rounds – meh

    Also, Bickell was second last on the Hawks TOI??? What’s the over-under on guaranteed contracts being the next “hill the league dies on” after this CBA?

  • playastation

    The comments on our drafts are pretty much negative every year. Remember last years being extremely negative during the first round.

    @WW saying taking the goalie is worse than the Jankowski pick. On what grounds? This guy will probably end up on our farm team at some point. Jankowski is just gonna walk after his 4 years in college are up.

    For all the picks so far, have you guys a) seen these guys play, and b) for whoever you would have picked instead, have you seen them play?

    It seems to me you guys look at lists, compare the stats, and then lose your shit. You can be upset if you want, but holy smokes. The planet isn’t on fire.

    Our prospect list is pretty extensive at this point. We need to get bigger. And you can draft to get it, or you can trade to get it.

    Look at the kings draft for example: http://www.nhl.com/ice/draftsearch.htm?year=2014&team=LAK&position=&round=

    It’s pretty much a bunch of huge dudes who play defense first. I don’t see any of these guys projecting to be first liners or top playing either.

    Ah. Why draft role players.

    Moronic.

    What?

    Holy smokes guys.

  • loudogYYC

    Mike Futa of the LA Kings says if 15% of your draft picks become NHLers, you’re successful.

    Based on that figure, I’m ok with this draft because of Sam Bennett. He’s a serious talent and will likely make the Flames within 2 years.

    I would have liked to see a Dman selected instead of a goalie, but I know nothing about goalies so maybe this McDonald kid is worth the pick.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    There was a comment somewhere about Button giving GMs exactly what they want – that’s why he’s lasted so long.

    If true, this then ends Feaster getting no credit for the skill brought in under his tenure – that it all belongs to Button.

    The GM sets the mandate. The subordinates do what is asked.

    Feaster deserves his criticism but he deserves his credit. Can’t deny it.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Can someone explain how waiving/buying out impacts the Flame’s salary cap? If he is not picked, aren’t Flames still on the hook for his salary this year?

    If it is a buy out, what is the actual cost in dollars and what is the impact on the salary cap?
    So this is one of the Flames’ two compliance buyouts? So no salary cap implications?

  • With the Flames needing to hit the cap floor, they should look at Gorges. A good dependable play in all situations defenceman with an excellent attitude and leadership. Will do anything to win and brings it every night. A guy like him will solidify the defence group for three years.

  • I still think the only reason Hunter Smith was rated so highly despite being a less than 1 ppg player in the OHL was because of his most improved player status. He jumped from a 140 midterm ranking to a 39 final ranking on NHL’s central scouting. I agree that the Lucic effect came into play when scouts were looking at him. Their junior careers are somewhat similar (meddling 18 year olds, decent 19 year olds). I’m not going to be overly optimistic and say that he is the next Lucic, but even if he is, he’ll require a few more years of OHL and AHL development. He won’t be able to make the jump like Lucic did

    The most exciting prospect not named Sam Bennett is definitely Adam Mattsson. He’s regarded as a big, shutdown defenceman in Sweden. The only downside is the fact that we might have to wait anywhere between three to six years to see him at the NHL level.

  • etianap

    Very good piece of work, Kent.

    As you pointed out, only in 3-5 years will be possible a verdict about this draft.

    I’m still a little bit disappointed – like the consensus – about the later rounds. I was hoping for some ‘slipper’ like Bleackley, McCann, Kempe, Goldobin (impressive in draftees all star game) or like Barbashev was on the one hand, and for a big D (McKeown, Glover, Sanheim, Dougherty) on the other hand. Especially drafting a goalie was something I hadn’t expected.

    Yet, I’m very humble. I have to give credit to the management and scouting staff. They are smart people paid with a lot of money to do that and they see this kids over and over. Just remember, the fans bashing Feaster for taking Poirier ‘over board’. Know it look like one of the best prospect and a saver of Bouwmeester deal.

    Drafting Bennett is what I hoped for. Gritty point scorer with even more upside. The fact that TSN listed him to 6’1” and that he says that is happy to play in Calgary makes me even more pleased with this pick. I had a little unease that drafting Draisaitl has something a little bit hazardous and more than that I feared that the management will think so and will draft down and take Ritchie, Virtanen or Nylander which I found even more risky. Thanks goodness they picked Bennett!

    Besides Bennett and until Carroll that is something hilarious but all look like a tennis game: 6-4, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 or you can read 6’4”, 6’7”, 6’3”, 6’4”. They drafted big which makes me happy but I’m also concerned not to be some fetish of the new management.

    Drafting a goalie with 34th overall pick is something I didn’t like and I think that Kent explains very well in this article why by the book you should not try this. On the other hand, I saw that after Flames’ pick all the herd flocked to the goalie stable. As being in front of a trend I smell something smart from the staff but only time will tell. Maybe we’ll find out that is AGM Pascall’s fingerprint in drafting McDonald since he was at Hockey Canada and the goaltender is in junior under 18 team.

    Hunter Smith is the pick I’m ok with at 54. He has size, and maybe it was the same rationale as picking Poirier (the player trending up with a high pace in the last part of the season).

    Hickey for #64, a big D guy that will gain college pedegree, highly rated at the beginning of the season, is something I could not oppose.

    Contrary to the consensus, I’m OK with trading 83 overall pick for Bollig (we get something for a lottery ticket with diminished odds). I saw a lot of Chicago games and Bollig looked decent enough covering more minutes than a classical 4th line. His contract is what I found to be more interesting. 1.25 million for three years look like a steal for this player. I see this contract very easy to be flipped at the deadline for at least a 3rd in a more deep draft. Bollig is proved to be effective in play/off series and I see teams in line for trading for this depth guy.

    Mattson could be really a steal at 6th. Big guy that the organization sees (prudently and honestly) as a future 3rd paair with high leadership qualities is yet again a good pick.

    Carroll at 7th (a guy we could easily get as an UFA) as well as the Bollig trade shows me that the Flames management and scouting staff were not so high on this year’s draft.

    Anyway I wish all the best and welcome to the new youngsters in the organization.

  • Via Darren Dreger, “The Flames were aggressive pre-draft. Offered to take on Mike Ribeiro for 12th pick (Ribeiro wouldn’t waive). Ultimately, he was bought out.”

    I’m guessing they would’ve gone with Vrana or Honka had this come through.

    EDIT: Dreger again: “Flames made a trade offer for Cam Ward in exchange for Carolina’s 7th pick. Obvious salary dump opportunity. Hurricanes declined.”

    Well they obviously were trying to make a massive splash. Probably very hard to get teams to dump salary and give away huge selections. I wonder what they were offering in return.

    • Interesting to hear something on Flames finally trying to use their cap space to gain an asset. It’s been talked about by the team and speculated since two trade deadlines agon when Feaster first mentioned it.

      Shows 2 things IMO:

      1) Picks are valued more now than ever.

      2) In order to make such a deal, the size of the boat anchor you’d have to take back probably makes it not worth it.

      It’s no wonder we’re not seeing these types of deals (at least for high picks), there’s just not much middle ground to meet on. Closest thing I can think of off-hand is the TB/Arizona deal for Gagner yesterday.

      • If you can recall trade deadline, you’ll remember that Burke was talking about taking on dead weight in return for assets. Treliving agrees with this, but is way bolder than Burke. I would think that if they managed to get Riberio and the 12th overall pick, they would just buy Riberio out afterwards. If they managed to get Cam Ward, they would use him as a backup. The Flames have cap room, so they wouldn’t mind taking these players if they can get two extra top 15 picks in return.

        I think the Flames would have to give up too much to make these trades anyways.

  • supra steve

    I, like a lot of you, was conflicted to hear that early second spent on a goaltender. I hope the kid turns out, but I have concerns.

    Then I heard BT’s comment about intending to select a skater with that choice, but when the guys they wanted were taken, they went with their tender (because they knew that the few they liked would be gone by their next pick). Turns out he was probably correct, as there was a bit of a run on tenders after CGY took their man.

    So, Button’s team obviously got their #1 choice in goaltenders on Saturday. Would be interesting to know how well Calgary’s #1 or 2 ranked draft eligible goalies have turned out over the years. What I’m getting at is…if their #1 ranked goalie at the 2004 draft was Cory Schneider, and in ’05 they liked Price and Rask, and in ’06 it was Varlamov and Bernier (where they actually took Irving after the other 2 were already gone)…then I think that they could argue that taking their top tender in the 2nd round on Saturday is not as big a gamble as some would suggest. Of course, I don’t have any insider knowledge, but it would be very interesting to get an insider glimpse.

    Just one more area where (here it comes Wolf) they have info that we are not privy to.

    • hahaha…hey, it’s all good!

      I will say though, that’s a lot of speculation in your theory as you’re basically cherry-picking results through hindsight. And BT’s comment about there being a run on goalies was correct, but the point isn’t that the few highest rated goalies would be gone, but rather,is it worth taking a goalie at all? Or is a higher rated goalie more likely to turn out than just taking a flyer on one every year in the later rounds and hoping to land a starter through sheer quantity?

      It comes back to what BurningSensation suggested: An analysis of how successful goalies are per round they’re selected and how that compares to other positions.

      • supra steve

        Hey, what I posted doesn’t even qualify as a theory (not at all an “educated” guess). I just think that with the info that Button has from previous years and the benefit of the passage of time, he may be able to pick his top rated tender with a little more confidence of success then we are giving him credit for. At least, that is my hope.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    The last thing the Flames need is Riberio, Richards, Spezza, Vanek, etc. If he had behavioural issues, they could resurface again. It’s obvious Treliving is looking for a NHL ready center but I don’t think Spezza or Riberio are the way to go. Dreger also reported Riberio refused to waive his NTC to come here. Good riddance, we don’t need him or want him here.

  • Just in: Qualifying offers made to Billins, Bouma, Colborne, Cundari, Hanowski, and Ortio. Byron, Galiardi, David Eddy, James Martin, and Olivier Roy did not receive one.

    Big mistake offering a sheet to Billins, who just got a big bucks offer from the KHL, and not offering ones to Byron or Galiardi. Galiardi is an underappreciated asset, so it makes sense that the Flames wouldn’t go after him, but Byron was at least producing and improving. Makes no sense not to keep him around. I guess the decision was between Byron and Colborne, and management decided that Colborne had a higher ceiling.

    • Derzie

      You beat to this post however it does not preclude a different deal with Byron or more qualifying offers tomorrow or later today. What today did was solidify the baby heats defensive core for next year(this will insulate the kids a a bit), solved the baby Flames starting goaltending issue and helped keep two guys who developed on the big club last year, by higher ceiling were you referring to height? Acquiring Bolling may also have something to with Byron being missed. TJG is an interesting case because his year ws not as productive but th eye test for how he fit into Hartley’s system often was good.

    • Derzie

      Actually, it kind of sounds like the Flames are cleaning things out to let some of the young guys play with the big club and, if the news about SOB is true, maybe actually making more cap space to go after some of the bigger fish on the FA market.

  • RedMan

    I, like most here, was a bit grumpy from the draft, and I definitely jumped onto the “Why a goalie in the 2nd” bandwagon.

    Now – everything you say in the article is true – or seems to have a ring of correctness to it to my non-hockey professional ear. BUT – here is the thing – I assume that we all agree that, even though all that you said about goalie prospects IS true, we STILL NEED to have goalies in the system at various ages. IF we can agree that we do need to have goalies in the system, then we might as well agree that, as hard as it is to predict goalie development, we should still pick the one we THINK has the highest chance of becoming a goalie. This means they needed to pick the goalie prospect in the second, even if they would prefer to have taken him in the 4th or 5th.

    Now, your write up might just indicate to some that you have as much chance of getting a goalie by randomly taking whatever goalie is left in the 5th or 6th round – but I don’t think you would want to endorse that idea, right? One still needs to pick the best they can to add to the system…

    does that make any sense?

  • Overall the draft for the Flames was meh for me but I don’t think we made any major flaws in ourdraft. I thought we should have gone for defensive depth in the 2nd round but picking up an excellent goalie prospect early may work in our favor if Fillies and Ortiz don’t work out. By the one we’l know that, MacDonald should be ready to step in. Looked like McKeown dropped off big time in the eyes of many scouting staffs so I wonder if it was best we didn’t pick him up? The 3rd rounder for Bollig was my biggest grief.