Calgary Selects Riley Bruce at 196th Overall

After grabbing some speed and some skill in this year’s draft, the Calgary Flames went with a big body with their final selection of the 2015 NHL Draft. They selected defenseman Riley Bruce of the North Bay Battalion at 196th overall.

Bruce has two dominant attribute. He’s big and he’s young. He stands 6’6″ and is listed at 195 lbs, and he’s right-shooting. He’s also a July 16 birthday, so when he comes here for development camp he’ll still be just 17 years old. He’s described by scouts as a defensive defenseman, but given that he’s a young, big defenseman in the OHL it’s unclear if that’s because that’s all he was asked to do. He’s not said to be amazing in terms of mobility, but it’s said that he uses his size and reach fairly well as a stay-at-home guy.

Still, he’s not even 18 and he’s already spent two full seasons in the OHL. He’s definitely not a scoring machine, though, as he’s put up just 7 points in his 109 OHL contests.

Bruce was ranked 210th among North American skaters by Central Scouting and wasn’t ranked in the top 210 by Future Considerations. He’s definitely a project pick, but he’s super young and as the old cliche goes: you can’t teach size.

  • FeyWest

    Have no issue with the 7th round being used like this especially given who we’ve drafted thus far, kind of wished for David Janko but se la vie.

    Flames have won this draft barnone imo, this has been my favorite and most exciting draft ever!

  • Brent G.

    It’s always hard to get excited for 7th round picks but it seems the Flames chose a guy who sounds safe for this round. I like how young he is.

    What a great draft year. To reiterate Kents post in a previous article, today this draft has impressed me to the level of when they selected Johnny.

    Treliving really seems to “get it” with building a team. It might not be popular but I would like to see hudler and wideman traded. I figure Wideman could fetch a solid prospect or high second rounder next year and Hudler is good for even more!

    It’s fun to dream of the possibilities…

    • Brent G.

      I forgot to mention, man Edmonton has made some questionable moves this draft lol.

      Reinhart was a massive over pay, Talbot could work well but is a really high risk trade for them (hes so inexperienced,is he their starter next year?).

      I think I echo the sentiments of everyone when I say, its good to see all of their hype about new management was for nothing and everything remains the same in shelbyville.

      • BurningSensation

        The thing with Edmonton’s draft is that once you take McDavid, everything else is icing on the cake, and you can take risks.

        – I think Edmonton were a lot closer to getting Hamilton than we might find comfortable to think about. Worth considering the investment Cgy made in pursuing Hamilton the moment the off-season ended.

        – The Reinhart trade doesn’t look terrible until you compare it to the bank robbery Calgary performed in getting Hamilton. If Calgary had traded for Reinhart for a similar package of picks I probably would have been pleased. Reinhart is a very toolsy 21 year old prospect just getting his feet wet, and even if you don’t project him to have a very high offensive ceiling, he could still be a strong 2nd pair defender in the Alzner mode.

        – The Talbot deal is defendable on the numbers alone. The concern is just his rapidly approaching free agent status, and a questionable desire to remain in Edmonton or go on the open market.

        – Edmonton exited the draft with McDavid, a #1 goalie entering his prime with fantastic stats in a small sample size, and a 21 defense prospect with a wide range of tools who can grow with the teams cluster. No matter how you slice it, that is not bad at all.

        – All of which points out how absurdly amazing the Hamilton deal was. Griffin Reinhart, a 21 year old with scarce NHL experience was aquired for just less than what we paid for Hamilton, and unlike Reinhart, Hamilton is already one of the best defensemen in the league at playing tough minutes and driving possession. Hamilton is not a ‘he might grow into something’, he’s already something approaching god-like and he’s just 22. Getting Griffin Reinhart is a nice pickup with some risk around his upside. Getting Hamilton is a monstrous, dare I say, franchise changing force, just entering his prime.

        • Brent G.

          I’m definitely trying to keep the “Flames fan blinders” off when assessing their weekend.

          I originally thought Reinhart was a good acquisition with a slight overpay. Then I read an article by Jonathon Willis at ON and it brings this back to earth. He is a guy who was hyped well in his draft year but has since seen his numbers drop. NYI would have traded him unless they don’t foresee his career meeting original expectations.

          Talbot could work great. He put up good numbers in a small sample size with a championship caliber team. The questions are that he put up above average numbers in a few games with a championship caliber team. NYR knows how to play defence, Edmonton doesn’t. Not to mention he apparently is keen to test free agency in a year meaning they will pay a lot to keep him or lose him for nothing.

          • BurningSensation

            “NYI would have traded him unless they don’t foresee his career meeting original expectations”.

            Same could then be said about Boston and Hamilton… why would they give up on him if he has so much supposed value (some here are already saying he’s among the top defencemen in the league). I also don’t buy the cap as being the reason since they ate half of Lucic’ salary in the LA deal. If Boston thought as highly of him as this site does then surely they would have found a way to make it work. Same goes for the other 27 GM’s in the league, why wouldn’t they have offered more than the package offered by Calgary? It’s understandable why Boston refused to deal with Chiarelli, but how about the other teams?

            Not saying that it wasn’t a good move, it certainly was. But I find it hard to believe that it’s the “steal” that it’s being made out to be. Otherwise this means that all of the other team GM’s are incompetent which I doubt is the case.

          • Brent G.

            You’re right, they do. However this is a different scenario. Hamilton was essentially on the open market available to the highest bidder. Boston fielded offers from any and all interested teams (except for the Oilers). Washington targeted Erat for their playoff push at the deadline, Forsberg wasn’t marketed the same way. Also, Forsberg hadn’t played a single game in the NHL yet so even though he was highly touted, noone knew what he would become.

            DH has played 178 games in the NHL, although he’s still far from his prime teams have a much better read on his game and potential. And yet Boston couldn’t garner anything more than essentially what they’d get if a team threw an offer sheet at him (slightly better). Again I’m not saying that this is a bad deal for Calgary, but there has to be more to the story than we’re seeing. One thing I can think of is that Boston was expecting to receive an offer sheet on him and at least this way their draft pick compensation is in the 2015 draft. If Calgary signs him then not an issue, if they don’t, and they decide not to match, their draft compensation is for next year’s draft (which is not as good as 2015).

            We’ll see how this plays out, remember a player’s contract has allot to do with his value. Is he as valuable with a $7.3mln cap hit?

          • beloch

            I don’t imagine his cap hit will be that much and I hope that the deal will be signed before the insanity begins. Would you rather have Hamilton or Franson for the same money? I would chose Hamilton.

          • BurningSensation

            Hamilton for sure however Franson doesn’t cost you anything in terms of compensation as a UFA.

            We’ll know what his contract looks like soon enough but I’m suspicious that Boston would let him go if his expectations were allot less than $7.3mln (1st tier of compensation for RFA offer sheets). I assume they were expecting an offer sheet and if this is the case then the DH camp won’t accept anything less.

      • beloch

        Reinhart’s price was pretty fair actually. It only looks bad when compared to the Hamilton trade, which is unfair.

        Talbot actually has fewer NHL games under his belt than Scrivens did before last season, but his sv% is substantially better. He’s not a proven starter, but has the potential to become one. That means the Oilers still need a proven starter if they don’t want to risk a repeat of last season.

  • beloch

    Given how hard it is to draft talent with size, I’m a fan of drafting shrimp’s late in the draft. Bruce looks like Kanzig 2.0. Eh. Maybe he impressed people in an interview or something.

    • FeyWest

      This is why I really love the Mangiapane pick it could be another late steal, I mean the chances we found another JG is probably not possible… could it?

      • beloch

        Mangiapane isn’t as undersized as Gaudreau. Also, he scored at a pace of 1.53 ppg to Gaudreau’s draft-1 1.2 ppg, and in a tougher league too (OHL vs USHL). Mangiapane actually has a significantly more impressive stat-line than Gaudreau did at the draft.

        That being said, we now know that Gaudreau was seriously impressive in ways that went beyond his stats, and he’s taken massive steps forward in every season of his career ever since. Just because Mangiapane is starting out ahead of Gaudreau doesn’t mean he’ll develop along the same lines.

        Still, we can hope. Freakin’ awesome pick for the sixth round!

        • Brent G.

          You can’t be comparing an 18 year old who was about 7th or so in scoring in his league to 17 uear old Gaudreau, who led the entire USHL in scoring for a championship team and then lit up the Hockey East for the National Champions when he was 18.

  • beloch

    I was hoping for the younger Jankowski as well, fitting storyline. But this pick is fine. It’s the 7th round, pick whoever the heck you want. No one will ever get upset a 7th rounder didn’t become an NHLer. But if that pick does become an NHLer, it’s like finding a winning scratch ticket.

  • Mullen Mania

    This was the first draft I can remember when I wasn’t feeling disappointed in some way on the day of or the day after. Still it takes years to properly judge a draft and the watch now begins.

    This seventh round pick is my only source of disappointment, but as some have already commented, it is hard to get upset about a seventh round pick no matter who they take. I don’t know anything about this Bruce kid and will cheer for his success going forward. Still, I am always amazed with a pick like this when players like Tyler Soy go undrafted.