Just after 5pm MT tonight, the Edmonton Oilers will select Connor McDavid at 1st overall and the Buffalo Sabres will take Jack Eichel at 2nd overall.
And then all hell will break loose.
Welcome to today’s ongoing coverage of the first of two days of the 2015 National Hockey League Draft. Over the next two days, 211 young players will have their dreams come true as they are selected by 30 NHL teams…and dozens more will likely begrudgingly change addresses as the aforementioned teams jockey for position in an extremely deep draft.
So let’s give you a brief look at where the Flames stand before all the trades happen and this information becomes out-dated, shall we?
Right now, the Flames stand to draft nine times over the next two days.
- 15th overall
- 45th overall
- 52nd overall (from Washington)
- 53rd overall (from Vancouver)
- 76th overall
- 83rd overall (from Washington)
- 136th overall
- 166th overall
- 196th overall
They have all of their own picks (except for their fourth rounder, traded to San Jose for T.J. Galiardi) as well as Washington’s second and third rounders and Vancouver’s second rounders. The extra picks were gained at the trade deadline in exchange for Curtis Glencross and Sven Baertschi, respectively.
If you put a gun to my head, I strongly doubt the Flames are making nine picks.
In addition to picks, the other thing the Flames have right now that makes me think they’ll be busy is money. Even ignoring the downturn of the energy sector lately and various economic factors, the Flames have well-heeled ownership and the willingness to spent to the salary cap.
With the cap for 2015-16 now set at $71.4 million, the Flames have the following players on one-way deals for next season (or the players are waiver eligible). They’re listed in decreasing cap hit order.
- D Dennis Wideman – $5.250 million
- D T.J. Brodie – $4.650 million
- G Jonas Hiller – $4.500 million
- D Mark Giordano – $4.020 million
- F Jiri Hudler – $4.000 million
- F David Jones – $4.000 million
- F Mikael Backlund – $3.575 million
- D Ladislav Smid – $3.500 million
- F Sam Bennett – $3.194 million (includes bonuses; two-way, but waiver eligible and can’t go to AHL due to age)
- F Mason Raymond – $3.150 million
- F Matt Stajan – $3.125 million
- D Deryk Engelland – $2.917 million
- D Kris Russell – $ 2.600 million
- F Johnny Gaudreau – $1.850 million (two-way, but waiver eligible)
- F Sean Monahan – $1.775 million (two-way, but waiver eligible)
- F Joe Colborne – $1.275 million
- F Brandon Bollig – $1.250 million
- G Joni Ortio – $0.600 million
In addition, restricted free agents Lance Bouma, Drew Shore, Josh Jooris, and Paul Byron will all need to be signed to one-way deals if (and when) they get re-upped. In other words, 22 of Calgary’s 23 NHL roster spots appear to be filled.
Well, right now, anyway.
Calgary’s committed cap hit for 2015-16, pending RFA deals, is $55.321 million, leaving them with just a tad over $16 million to work with.
In terms of their 50-contract reserve list, they have 31 players signed for 2015-16 along with 15 restricted free agents (though not all of them will be qualified).
HANDICAPPING 15TH OVERALL
Presuming Calgary sticks with their 15th overall pick, I see things shaking down like this in terms of their team’s willingness to pick a player and/or the player’s availability at 15. Availability chances courtesy our pals at Don’t Tell Me About Heart:
Nick Merkley – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Smart, fast, good WHL kid. Not big, though. And right-handed, which is rare in the organization.
Chance he’s available? 57.45%
Travis Konecny – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Smart 200-foot player with tenacity and leadership. From the program that developed Sean Monahan.
Chance he’s available? 69.29%
Timo Meier – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Smart, dynamic player with great numbers…which may have been slightly inflated by playing with Nik Ehlers. If he’s available, I expect him to go to Calgary. But I doubt he’s available.
Chance he’s available? 45.08%
Jeremy Roy – Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Responsible defender with underrated offensive upside. Oh, and he’s a rightie, which Calgary doesn’t have a lot of.
Chance he’s available? 97.10%
Jakub Zboril – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Smart, dynamic defenseman. Arguably more offensive upside than teammate Chabot and a bit more dynamic than Chabot.
Chance he’s available? 87.22%
Thomas Chabot – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Another really good Saint John blueliner. Good offensive numbers, projects to be something like T.J. Brodie at NHL level (e.g., great puck-mover who can hustle in both directions).
Chance he’s available? 81.29%
Colin White – U.S. National Development Team (USHL)
He’s a center, which Calgary has a ton of, but White’s a longer-term project who’s heading to college. Good size, good hands, smart player with few holes in his game. Headed to Boston College, and it’s not like the Flames don’t trust the coaching staff there.
Chance he’s available? 65.58%
SUM IT UP
I expect a busy day (and weekend) for the Calgary Flames, given their financial and contractual situation. I also expect the Flames to stay put and draft a player at 15th overall.