Our old friend Bob McKenzie is something of a hockey guru. He was recently chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers Association as the next recipient of the Elmer Ferguson Award, which enshrines him in the Hockey Hall of Fame. One big reason for that is McKenzie is an absolute goldmine of information at draft time.
Case-in-point: today TSN released his Top 75 list for the 2015 Draft. Unlike others, who scout and rank based on their own criteria, McKenzie consults with scouts and general managers when he compiles his list. This means that McKenzie produces as close to a true consensus list as is ever produced.
So what does McKenzie’s Top 75 mean for the Flames this year?
(Note: All the links enclosed are to Craig Button’s scouting reports for each individual player.)
McKenzie’s 15th-ranked player is Ottawa 67’s forward Travis Konecny, who is a smaller forward (5’9″, 175) who plays an agitating game and is good all over the ice. He was quite good at the Top Prospects Game. Other forwards available at that pick include Colin White (16th) of the U.S. National Development Team, Kelowna Rockets star and Calgary native Nick Merkley (17th) and Cape Breton’s resident Russian Evgeny Svechnikov (18th).
Russian junior goaltender Ilya Samsonov is ranked 19th, though I doubt the Flames go for a goalie that early.
In terms of defenders, Saint John’s Jakub Zboril is ranked 14th and could fall a spot to Calgary’s pick, or the Flames could reach a bit and take one of Tri-City’s Brandon Carlo (22nd), Farjestads’ Oliver Kylington (24th) or Saint John’s Thomas Chabot (25th).
Defender Nicolas Meloche from Baie-Comeau is ranked 44th, while Guillaume Brisebois of Acadie-Bathurst is 48th and Peterborough’s Matt Spencer is 50th. All of them have some size, but their individual games vary depending on the qualities one desires from their pick. If you are thinking about forwards, big-bodied winger Christian Fischer of the U.S. National Development Team is ranked 45th, Saginaw captain Mitchell Stephens is ranked 46th and Niagara winger Graham Knott is at 49th.
Czech junior goaltender Daniel Vladar is ranked 47th, though (again) I doubt the Flames go for a goalie that early.
52ND & 53RD OVERALL
USHL import Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson is ranked 52nd. He’s Swedish but came over to North American and was a point-per-game in the USHL this season. Also in the mix: U.S. National Development Team winger Jeremy Bracco (who at 5’9″ ain’t big) at 53rd, Russian junior forward Alexander Dergachyov at 54th, and Seattle’s Ryan Gropp at 56th.
In terms of defenders, there’s Brandon’s Ryan Pilon at 55th and Barrie’s Rasmus Andersson (who has been on some rankings as high as the late first round) at 59th. Canadian junior goaltender Callum Booth is ranked 51st, though (again) I doubt the Flames go for a goalie that early.
McKenzie’s list ends at 75, but he includes a few honourable mentions who could be snapped up by the Flames at 76th.
Swedish forward Filip Ahl is big (6’3″, 211) and the Flames probably like that. Parker Wotherspoon is a defender with a brother who plays with the Flames, though his game is much different than his big brother’s. Czech junior Michael Spacek has been seen on some rankings lists as high as the first round, and would likely be seen as a steal in the middle of the third round. And Keegan Kolesar of Seattle is another big body (6’1″, 217) named Keegan that the Flames could accumulate, though he plays on the wing.