The late 2000s (and beginning of the 2010s) was as time of improved drafting and asset management, as the Calgary Flames drafted useful players, made smart development decisions, and generally made smart trades when they became available.
They also drafted Greg Nemisz, who didn’t turn out to be much, and following the ouster of Darryl Sutter, kicked off their next period of drafting by trading down to select a tall kid from a Quebec prep school.
2007: Mikael Backlund (24th Overall)
- This was originally Atlanta’s pick, traded to the Blues for Keith Tkachuk. St. Louis traded up to 18th overall, sending the Flames this pick and the 70th pick in exchange.
- In retrospect, this was a really good pick. Backlund has played six full seasons in the Flames organization and has quietly emerged as the team’s best 200-foot center. At the NHL level, he’s probably a third-line center on a deep team, but right now he’s a pretty good second line center on the Flames roster.
- The Stat Line: 51 goals, 77 assists, 128 points
- Flames Games By Pick: 298
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 298
2008: Greg Nemisz (25th Overall)
- This was originally Montreal’s pick. Calgary acquired it along with a second round pick in 2009 in exchange for Alex Tanguay and a fifth round pick in 2008. Calgary’s original pick was traded to Los Angeles in the deal that saw Mike Cammalleri originally come to town.
- Greg Nemisz was a dumb/smart pick. A smart pick in the sense that he had good size and was a player with good numbers on a pretty damn good Windsor Spitfires team. I mean, you don’t win two Memorial Cups by accident, right? Well, sometimes specific players drive the bus on championship teams and other guys are along for the ride. Nemisz circled around the NHL but never really landed, and the Flames eventually cut bait and traded him to Carolina for Kevin Westgarth in what was Brian Burke’s first deal as interim general manager. Westgarth left as a free agent.
- The Stat Line: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point
- Flames Games By Pick: 15
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 51
2009: Tim Erixon (23rd Overall)
- This was originally New Jersey’s pick. Calgary traded down from 20th overall and gained the 84th overall selection from the deal. This was also Darryl Sutter’s final first round selection as Flames general manager.
- So, Erixon was a promising young defenseman whose father had played for the New York Rangers. Turns out, he really wanted to play for the Rangers, too. In his first major crisis as Flames GM, Jay Feaster made chicken salad out of chicken excrement: rather than lose Erixon back into the draft (and gain the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 Draft), he sent Erixon’s rights and a fifth round pick to the Rangers for Roman Horak, the 45th overall pick (used for Markus Granlund) and the 57th overall pick (used for Tyler Wotherspoon). Horak played for the Flames a bit, and then was flipped to the Edmonton Oilers with Laurent Brossoit in exchange for Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy. Sure, Roy turned out to be no great shakes and left as a free agent, but from a player that didn’t want to sign, the Flames managed to get Granlund, Wotherspoon and Smid. Well-played, Jay Feaster.
- The Stat Line: 0 points
- Flames Games By Pick: 0
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 238
As of this writing, Erixon has only played 93 NHL games.
2011: Sven Baertschi (13th Overall)
- This was Calgary’s original pick. It was also Jay Feaster’s first selection as general manager.
- Baertschi was good. He was a damn good, if a tad inconsistent, AHL player and showed flashes of brilliance at the NHL level. However, Calgary’s prospect depth in recent seasons has made “flashes of brilliance” secondary to “consistent goodness,” and so he was traded to Vancouver when it became clear he wasn’t going to re-sign in Calgary. The Flames got a second round selection in the 2015 Draft in return.
- The Stat Line: 8 goals, 20 assists, 28 points
- Flames Games By Pick: 66
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 66
2012: Mark Jankowski (21st Overall)
- This was originally Nashville’s pick, which they sent to Buffalo in the Paul Gaustad trade. The Flames traded down, sending their 14th overall pick to Buffalo in exchange for this pick and 42nd overall.
- It’s hard to really judge this pick until Jankowski turns pro or until the Flames cut bait with him. Either way, right now he’s a player with a long runway towards going pro, particularly when compared to the players the Flames could’ve taken at 14th overall or 21st overall. That said I strongly doubt they would’ve taken him had they not felt extremely confident about their 2011 Draft class; you don’t take a gamble on a player with a long runway unless you feel confident you already have several likely pros in your back pocket.
- The Stat Line: 0 points
- Flames Games By Pick: 0
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 0
Flames Draft History
- The Atlanta Years (1972-79)
- The Rise of Trader Cliff (1980-85)
- The Dry Spell (1986-91)
- Transitions (1992-96)
- Ups and Downs (1997-2001)
- Rock Bottom (2002-2006)