In part due to their success in the years prior, the Calgary Flames had begun rehabilitating their drafting and development reputation when they began their rebuild in the spring of 2013. Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester were shipped off for prospects and (more importantly) first round selections.
As we sit in advance of the 2015 NHL Draft, three of Calgary’s previous four first round selections have already played NHL games. One of them, Sean Monahan, has quietly established himself as one of the NHL’s best young centers.
Here are Calgary’s four most recent first round selections, beginning with one magical June where they held 10% of all of the first-round picks in the draft.
2013: Sean Monahan (6th Overall)
- Calgary’s original pick in the 2013 Draft.
- Monahan was thought to be the consensus pick for the Flames. The thought process was that either him or Elias Lindholm would go 5th overall to Carolina, and Calgary would get somebody good either way. Luckily for the Flames – in retrospect – Monahan fell into their laps, and managed to jump straight into the NHL as a 19-year-old. The “boring” pick, the guy everyone thought the Flames would take, turned out to be the perfect fit.
- The Stat Line: 53 goals, 43 assists, 96 points
- Flames Games By Pick: 156
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 156
2013: Emile Poirier (22nd Overall)
- Originally St. Louis’ pick, the Flames acquired this selection in the deal that sent Jay Bouwmeester to the Blues.
- The Flames traditionally have chosen a ton of WHL kids, so many believed that they would pick Calgarian Hunter Shinkaruk at 22nd overall. As a result, there was some confusion and anger when they grabbed Poirier instead. “A Quebec kid? I’ve never heard of him!”, they cried. And then the scouting reports from the Q trickled in, and Flames fans seemed to chill a bit. Shinarkuk and Poirier will probably always been connected to each other, though, by virtue of the Flames choosing one over the other. Poirier had a fine pro debut season, though not Monahan good.
- The Stat Line: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point
- Flames Games By Pick: 6
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 6
2013: Morgan Klimchuk (28th Overall)
- Originally Pittsburgh’s pick, this was the selection Calgary received for trading away franchising scoring leader Jarome Iginla. This was also Jay Feaster’s final first round selection as Flames general manager.
- In retrospect, the Flames staggered their 2013 firsts really well. They got a center from the OHL who turned pro right away. They got a right wing from the QMJHL that turned pro a year later. And they got a left wing from the WHL who’ll likely turn pro this season. Monahan’s a balanced attacker, Poirier’s more offensively-minded, while Klimchuk is a strong defensive player with offensive flashes. It may be awhile before Klimchuk sniffs the NHL, though, just because of adapting his style to the pro game.
- The Stat Line: 0 points
- Flames Games By Pick: 0
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 0
2014: Sam Bennett (4th Overall)
- Calgary’s original pick, and highest selection since the team moved from Atlanta. This was also Brad Treliving’s first selection as Flames general manager.
- It’ll take awhile to judge Sam Bennett, but the kid was impressive in training camp with a bum shoulder, spent the year around an NHL team recovering from surgery, showed dominant flashes in the OHL while getting his game back in shape, and managed to play a regular shift in the NHL playoffs. What’s he do for an encore? (Disclosure: I’d be happy if he spent a full season in the NHL, which seems very likely at this point.)
- The Stat Line: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point
- Flames Games By Pick: 1
- Flames Games Related To Pick: 1
2015: TBA (15th Overall)
- This will be Calgary’s 35th first round selection since the franchise has moved to this fair city.
- Of the team’s previous 34 first round selections, 13 players suited up for 100 (or more) games for the Calgary Flames.
- The “lucky” 13: Al MacInnis, Dan Quinn, Gary Roberts, Trevor Kidd, Cory Stillman, Denis Gauthier, Derek Morris, Oleg Saprykin, Chuck Kobasew, Dion Phaneuf, Eric Nystrom, Mikael Backlund and Sean Monahan.
- It’s too soon to tell if Mark Jankowski, Emile Poirier, Morgan Klimchuk or Sam Bennett will join the 100+ group, though Bennett seems the likely bet on the next player to join that club.