It’s finally here!
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to many hockey peoples’ favourite time of the year: NHL Draft week!
Last season, the Calgary Flames didn’t have a lot of mystery surrounding their first round pick. They selected Sam Bennett at fourth overall, while the hockey world figured they would draft Bennett or Sam Reinhart. This season? The Flames draft in the middle of the first round, and they could draft any number of possible players at that pick.
Last season, the Flames were trying to jump-start their rebuild. Mission accomplished. The big question now is whether or not the Flames can add to their prospect pool and keep the rebuild moving along the tracks towards where they want to be – consistent playoff appearances, and eventually becoming contenders.
A strong 2015 Draft and useful players selected with their nine picks would be a big step in that direction.
THE RESERVE LIST
As of right now, here are the players that the Calgary Flames have the rights to that don’t currently have active NHL contracts. (In other words, these are the guys the Flames presently have in the cupboard for later.)
G: Mason McDonald [Charlottetown – QMJHL]
D: John Gilmour [Providence College – NCAA]; Brandon Hickey [Boston University – NCAA]; Adam Ollas Mattsson [Djurgardens IF – SHL]; Rushan Rafikov [HK Ryazan – VHL]
F: Matthew Deblouw [Michigan State – NCAA]; Hunter Smith [Oshawa – OHL]; Tim Harrison [Colgate – NCAA]; Mark Jankowski [Providence College – NCAA]
In addition, D Keegan Kanzig and F Morgan Klimchuk have NHL deals on the books but aren’t required to go pro next season – though the consensus is that both will be going pro next season regardless.
In terms of graduating players from their reserve list, the Flames will functionally see Jon Gillies, Kanzig, Klimchuk, Austin Carroll, and Sam Bennett jump from being on the outside of the entry-level system and not counting as part of the team’s 50 NHL contracts to being part of that list. Which means, they need to be replaced on the outside of the contracted list.
CALGARY’S 2015 PICKS
Officially, per the NHL, here’s where the Flames pick.
- 15th overall
- 45th overall
- 52nd overall (from Washington)
- 53rd overall (from Vancouver)
- 76th overall
- 83rd overall (from Washington)
- 136th overall
- 166th overall
- 196th overall
Does a team without a second rounder throw an asset at the Flames in an effort to recoup something? (The Islanders have no picks in the first two rounds, by the way…) Do the Flames try to trade up? Heck, do the Flames try to trade down and get another pick in the first three rounds? Seven picks in the first 90 selections of the draft is the only thing that sounds better than six, after all.
A year ago, Brad Treliving came into Philadelphia with seven picks and just shy of two months in the general manager’s position. He left with six shiny new prospects and Brandon Bollig.
This season, Treliving likely has a much better idea of who his team’s players are, their strengths, their weaknesses, and where the team’s holes are. Last season, notice that he added a player with a Stanley Cup ring from a team in cap trouble and unloaded exactly zero players from the team he inherited. But now that he knows the team, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t just as willing to send guys out of town as he is to bring new players in.
Calgary’s extended roster is quite short on natural right-wings and good defensemen. If you look past the NHL roster, they could probably use some left wingers, too. I’d be shocked if they didn’t draft a goaltender at some point in this draft, as well.
Our draft coverage is just getting started here at FlamesNation. We’ll be polishing off our look at past Flames drafting, are profiling several of the players the Flames are likely to draft at 15th overall, and have a series of chats with scouts from different parts of the hockey world for a deeper dive into this year’s draft class.
And then, of course, there’s the big event on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, where we’ll welcome the newest members of the Flames organization and provide handy profiles. (That’s also presuming that the Flames don’t re-sign any more players in the interim, or make some trades, both of which I’d wager will happen between now and June 27.)
It truly is the most wonderful time of the (hockey) year!