Welcome to Draft Week 2015

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.

THE OUTLOOK

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.

LOOKING AHEAD

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!

  • JMK

    When it comes to draft picks, quantity needs to be balanced with quality. Trading down can be a fool’s game – see Mark Janakowski and Patrick Sielof as Exhibit A.

    • Curtis

      That’s because our management had their minds sent on Jankowski. If we chose Olli Maatta with 21, and Patrick Sielof didn’t have that staph infection, then you’d probably wouldn’t be saying that. I’m okay with trading down because second rounders are very valuable in this draft and many teams don’t have one.

  • Parallex

    I would be shocked if they DO pick a goaltender… I mean I thought someone (Burke?) said last year that they were gonna pick a goalie last year or this year and they didn’t like any of the prospective 2015 ‘tenders.

    No goalies this year please… or at least no goalies in the top half of the draft. If they spend a pick on a Euro guy in rounds 5-7 I won’t object much.

  • JMK

    I wonder what would it cost to trade up to Colorado’s #10 and potentially pick Werenski?

    Otherwise Konency, Kylington, Merkely and Roy would be my top picks for #15.

    • JMK

      I was quite big on this idea as well, but there are plenty of good defenceman available at 15: (Roy, Chabot, Zboril, Carlo)… Kylington and Larsson could also be available in the second round.

      The only teams I see willing to move their picks for the Flames to move up at this point is maybe Florida, Dallas and LA..

        • piscera.infada

          Trading up is likely a fools errand–I mean, there has to be multiple teams in the market for a top-10 pick, so that itself would increase the asking price considerably (even still, I doubt it happens, especially if there’s a defenseman available at Colorado’s pick).

          I too am a big Rasmus Andersson supporter. I think the guy could be a steal in the second round, and hope he’s there for the Flames. I’d strongly consider moving up if Kylington falls to the start of the second, but I have a feeling Detroit will pick him in the first–they tend to have some success with Swedish players, and defensemen with “holes” in their games. If he makes it to the second round, where would you have to move? 31st? 32nd? I mean, theres a pretty strong chance Buffalo would take him at 31, ditto Arizona at 32, and Edmonton at 33.

          Anyone have any additional information on Matthew Spencer? I’ve seen him going to the Flames in the second on a few mock drafts. His scouting reports seem to read well: 6’2″, 194, right-handed defenseman, good first pass, good skater.

      • Koolmoedee

        It’s worth noting that Florida is lacking a second round pick, making it more likely they might consider trading down from 11th to get one.

        They question is whether the Panthers have someone on their list they think will still be available at 15th.

        Unfortunately for whomever is picking 15th, there seems to be a bit of a drop off in quality after the 12th or 13th pick. Above that line, players like Kyle Connor, Timo Meier, Mikko Rantanen, and maybe even Matthew Barzal are still likely to be available.

        Below that line, you’re picking from names like Roy, Kylington, Konecny, and Colin White that are just as likely to be picked at 15th as they are to be taken at 23rd.

        If the Flames can trade their 52nd or 53rd overall pick to get the 11th, it should be worth considering.

    • JMK

      Florida is prepared to move #11 & they are looking for a young backup for Luongo. How about Ortio & our #45 for the #11, resign Ramo for a 2-3 year deal at 3.0 mill per & fly next year with the same tandem that gave us success last year & make decisions long term then. Lots of young Ortios available like Jones out of LA, maybe try to pry Gibson away, who knows. Just spitballing.

  • JMK

    My draft strategy
    – Try to move up with 15th + a 2nd round pick if one of Hannafin/Provorov/werenski falls to like 10th-11th spot. If not, draft BPA (Meier/Connor/Svenchikov/Chabot)
    – Try to move up with 45th + 52nd picks if Oliver Kylington falls out of the first round. I know the article with the Swedish scout here was pretty harsh on him, but his raw talent is pretty undeniable. He’s worth the risk at 31-35 imo
    -Rest of the draft pick bpa but lean towards puck moving D prospects if its a close call.
    – NO GOALIES

  • JMK

    This is how I would group up the draft rankings so far:

    Players most likely off the board before the Flames pick:

    1.McDavid
    2.Eichel
    3.Strome

    4.Hanifin
    5.Marner
    6.Provorov

    7.Rantanen
    8.Werenski
    9.Zacha

    Players most likely available for the Flames pick:

    Crouse
    Konency
    Merkley
    Meir
    Barzal
    Connor
    White
    Chabot
    Roy
    Carlo
    Zboril

    Some decent defenceman and power forwards in this group, but not a huge consensus on where they will be picked.

  • everton fc

    UI can’t see the Isles moving Okposo, but you never know, as they have a lot of guys coming up for renewal. How about moving a 2nd rounder to the Isles along with the rights to Ramo (check the lack of depth in net for the Isles, and they are chock-full of defenders) for right-handed d-man Scott Mayfield, and maybe someone like Thomas Hickey. Again, the Isles are deep on defence, and could use Ramo to backup Halak. It would certainly help us defencively, without spending much…

    Of course, if you could pry Okposo and Mayfield for our 2nd, the rights to Ramo and a prospect… Ramo would sign there, I think. And they like Ramo. Throw in Reinhart, so he can be with his brother.

    Just thinking out loud here….

      • everton fc

        Exactly. What good are his right to us? Do a throw-in and sweeten the deal. Mayfield alone may be worth the 2nd, but if you can get a little more throwing in Ramo’s rights, another d-man perhaps…

        Grabner would be interesting too, if he wasn’t paid so much and injured so often.

        Mayfield and Pulock would be amazing additions to our team. But they won’t be moving Pulock.

    • Parallex

      Yeah, if he’s there.

      I don’t think he falls that far. A team with multiple 1st rounders will take a stab at him (and maybe Tampa, since they’ve shown that they’re willing to take a guy with maturity issues before). I’d bet on Arizona taking him with pick 30 or pick 32.

    • Parallex

      I would consider Hudler for their 11th & a very good prospect. I would even add a bunch if they are contemplating on parting with Huberdeau.
      Again, in the spirit of having fun with scenarios for the Draft coming up,

      Campbell/Huberdeau & the #11 for Hudler/Wideman/Ortio & the #45

      Trash away :-}

      • Franko J

        Not bad a trade. Where would you have Huberdeau play in the top 6?
        Hopefully the prospect is a RHD.

        In the spirit of having fun and being trashed here is my fantasy trade:

        To NJ: Hudler, Wideman, Seiloff, Kanzig, Hanowski, pick # 83.

        To CAL: Seversen, Henrique, picks # 36 ( Zachary Senyshyn) # 41 (Vince Dunn or Austin Wagner).

        To OTT: Pick # 15.

        To CAL: Pick # 18 (Jeremy Roy) Pick # 48 ( Rasmus Andrsson or Eric Foley) pick # 139 ( Radovan Bondra or Troy Murray).

  • Graham

    In general…

    1/ Unless you are trading the 15th for say a 16th pick, I’d avoid trading down in the first round. I’d listen, but the price would have to be something special.

    2/ I’d be willing to trade the first or any of the second rounder’s for immediate quality NHL help (thinking D or RW). Might also use the one of the picks for quality prospects that fit an organizational need.

    3/ Using the first round pick – I’m with BT on this one, pick the best player available. I’d add ‘who is not a goalie’. See 4

    4/Don’t waste a first rounder on a goalie. Most teams in general, and the Flames in particular have a poor track record when doing this. It might be worth one of our three second round picks, but I prefer trading / signing an UFA goalie. You have a much better read on what you are getting.

    5/ Continue to thin the herd, we have enough prospects in the pool, so we don’t need to resign all of the RFA’s. Free up some contract spots if possible. Make the players realize that they have to perform / earn a contact. Getting pushed from below is a great motivator.

    6/ UFA’s, always interesting to look, but I would avoid the big names (you over pay)More interested in the second tier guys, but don’t over pay.

    7/ trading, don’t be afraid of making a big move. I would trade pretty much anyone in the organization for the right price. Unlike the old days, players are now commodities. Think big picture and don’t get hung up on specific players.

  • everton fc

    I still don’t know why people are giving thumbs down to trying to somehow scoop Mayfield or Pulock and another defencive prospect (or Hickey) from the Isles for one of our 2nds. 2 for 1 deal there. Both with professional experience…