Early thoughts on the 2016 top 5 forwards

Sixteen games left in the season and we can say with 99% confidence that the Flames will not be making the post-season dance. A horrendous season has nearly come and gone. Many would have guessed the Flames would have fallen back this year after the miracle season of 2014-15 but would we have guessed they would be fighting it out with Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Buffalo for last overall… probably not. It’s not all bad… it’s mostly bad… but at least it appears we’re going to get a top five pick out of the deal. 

I have some thoughts on the 2016 top five forwards. Join me on a look at the numbers.

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Your consensus top five, as of the mid-term rankings a few months ago, are:

  • Auston Matthews – 6’2” 195 pound two-way skilled center from Scottsdale, Arizona who’s been the consensus #1 for the 2016 draft for about two years now
  • Patrik Laine – 6’3” 200 pound Finnish RW that dazzled at the most recent WJC tournament, winning gold for his country
  • Jesse Puljujarvi – 6’3” 200 pound Finnish RW that also put on a great performance at the most recent WJC tournament
  • Matthew Tkachuk – 6’1” 190 pound American-born son of NHL Legend, Keith Tkachuk, currently destroying the OHL, playing on a ridiculous line with Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak
  • Alexander Nylander – 6’0” 172 pound Swedish/Canadian son of former NHLer Michael Nylander and brother of Toronto Maple Leafs stud prospect, William Nylander



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Matthews: Instead of going the typical NCAA route of American players, Matthews decided to blaze his own trail and head to the Swiss-A league to play out his draft year, presumably to earn a little cheddar. No top five eligible pick has ever done this and few NHLers have played in the Swiss-A league at a young age and jumped right to the NHL so getting a gauge on his NHLE is damn near impossible, but an equivalency of a cohort of 20 players who played more than 20 games in the Swiss-A league at the age of 27 or younger and played in the NHL right after gives us a translation of 0.61 which gives us an estimated NHLE of 65! Not to mention, as a 17-year-old, he beat Patrick Kane’s USHL single-season scoring record and registered an NHLE of 44. It appears Matthews is going to be an absolute monster immediately. Like McDavid, Kane, Crosby elite monster. If the Flames get first… pick him first… definitely.

Tkachuk: Matthew Tkachuk has a very stellar NHLE of 48 playing in the OHL (conversion of 0.3 – cohort based on OHL players of the past 10 years that entered the NHL at age 20 or younger). His NHLE is incredible but there is concern that his linemates, Marner and Dvorak, are propping him up slightly or even quite drastically, like Kane did for Gagner in 2007 with the very same Knights. However, Tkachuk had a NHLE of 30 in the USHL as a 17-year-old last year, which is very, very good for the USHL and for a 17-year-old. For perspective, Gaudreau’s was 24 in the same league and he was about four months older than Tkachuk by the time the season ended. I think Tkachuk will be more than fine. Gagner and Yakupov are the only relative busts (still each played over 200 games to date nonetheless) in the past 11 years that I can find of players that registered an NHLE of 45 or more in their draft year. He’d be going second overall in my world.

Laine: Laine’s NHLE drops off slightly to 30 (conversion of 0.5 – cohort based on SM-Liiga players from the past 15 years that entered the NHLE at age 25 or younger). Still a fine NHLE but slightly lower than the average top five forward pick but a huge RW with raving endorsements… I would pick him third.

Nylander: Nylander has a NHLE of 34. A perfectly fine equivalency and one that very much points to a player having a long successful, point producing career in the NHL. He’s probably not ready yet but I’d go fourth overall.

Puljujarvi: Puljujarvi is where things get interesting. He will likely go #2 or #3, based on everything out there. He will likely jump right into the NHL after being drafted and here’s the problem. His NHLE is 23 which is the second lowest of a top five drafted forward in at least the past 26 years (Blake Wheeler was a high school player and technically had the lowest NHLE, although NHLEs for high school players are tough to come by as nobody makes that jump; J. Staal, Malkin and Yashin were also close). Who cares? Let’s look at more recent data to find out why this matters.

NHLE 1st Round

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Above is a look at the draft-year NHLE of first round draftees from 2004 to 2014. As well, I’ve included the number of players in each group to jump right into the NHL after being drafted.

In the past 11 years only six players have jumped directly into the NHL after being drafted with an NHLE less than 30. Four first rounders (Jordan Staal, Alexander Burmistrov, David Perron and Mikkel Boedker) and two second rounders (Patrice Bergeron and Ryan O’Reilly).  

Of those six that have jumped right into the league without a 30+ NHLE, only Bergeron and O’Reilly have turned into what I would deem a true impact scorer (registering 0.6 PPG or more over the course of his career). The other four have essentially been middle of the road scorers (30 to 45 points per year). A third overall pick that scores like Mikael Backlund or Jordan Staal. Even if he’s a fantastic two-way talent (like Staal and Backlund), would we, as Flames fans, be pleased with that or would we always feel a little shorted for a top three pick?

The other thought is he amounts to a very, very good, productive player but he’s not ready for the NHL for the 2016-17 season.

NHLE 30+

Puljujarvi’s numbers immediately suggest he’s not ready. He could go back and dominate the SM-Liiga league (with a 30+, 40+ NHLE or 50+ NHLE) in his draft +1 or draft +2 year (and given the data above you’re hoping to high heavens he does that) and all of a sudden we’re talking about a player that ticks all the boxes. But this means he’s a few years away and assumes that he takes that next step. Fellow top five picks Ovechkin and Malkin certainly dominated when they went back and broke into the NHL a few years later as no-brainer studs but they weren’t ready for the NHL right out of the gate (both had draft year NHLEs in the 20s when they were drafted first and second in 2004). They needed to go back. I think this is where Puljujarvi falls.

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What about his WJC performance? What can history tell us there? I don’t put much stock in a six to seven game tournament but let’s entertain the notion. Puljujarvi had an incredible 17 points in seven games in 2016 which led the tournament, so let’s talk about it. Calculating a rough NHLE of WJC to NHL over the past 10 years gives us a translation of 0.33. That boosts Puljujarvi’s NHLE up dramatically to 65. But, again, one seven game tournament. As well most players that play in the tournament don’t play the NHL right after being drafted at 18 or 19 and often don’t play in the NHL right after playing in the tournament. The ones that do are the McDavids, Tavares, Matthews types.


A player like Jordan Staal is a good player. Defensively responsible and can chip in some goals. But if I’m the Flames and could be set to take the highest drafted player in club history… do I want to draft a player that resembles Staal from an NHLE standpoint? Do I want to bring him right into the NHL at which point he’s likely not ready and never really hits his potential and is a 40-50 point player in his prime? I would hope for a little more with the highest pick the Flames have ever had.

If the Flames end up with that third pick, Tkachuk would probably be the player I would pick (as Laine will likely be gone). He’s big, extremely skilled, can probably play right now, and there’s little chance he’s a “bust”: especially because he already has two 30+ NHLEs under his belt, one without Dvorak and Marner. If Puljujarvi is the unanimous player to pick at three I’d be prepared for him to be sent back to blossom in the Finnish League for at least one or two more years. Tough to swallow for a team desperate for a top flight RW right now but, to me, it’s the right choice.

    • RedMan

      I think they take the pick, get Mathews, and trade RNH, Yakapov, and probably Eberle, with the goal of getting 2 top D… this new management isn’t drinking their own kool-aid like the last one was.

  • Primo

    Flames lack skill as demonstrated by current standings. It is absolutely critical that this team draft in the top 5 this year. The lineup needs to be designed the rest of the way to ensure player development and bottom 5 finish…..over to you BT!

    • Franko J

      I think most fans on FN are set on Puljujarvi. I like Dubois as well. With Bennett moving to centre I think he would be a good fit with Flames. But if the team is drafting in the top 4 I don’t think that will happen. However if the team keeps playing like they did last night and somehow fall out of the top 5 or 6 I think he is one player not to overlook.

      Just like Monahan ‘s draft year I had him and Horvat at the top my list.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I like Dubois a lot, as well. I’m not sure if he’d be a better choice than Laine, but I’d support him being taken top 3. He’s huge, on the younger side, and putting up excellent numbers in addition to being described as a good two-way player.

  • Burnward

    Having Mony and Bennett sure takes a lot of stress out of this draft.

    If they don’t pick first, they’re getting a heck of a wing prospect regardless.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I ran the NHL lottery simulator 100 times last night just for fun.

    Flames picked 1st overall only 6 times! Above them were Buffalo (8), Montreal (8), Columbus (11), Winnipeg (15), Oilers (15) and Toronto (16).

    However the Flames picked 2nd 18 times, only the Oiler were ahead at 19. We picked 3rd 19 times tops in the league with the next closest being 16. Overall we had 43 top 3 selections with only Toronto and Edmonton higher with 50 each.

    If we run in place in the standings I’d say we have a pretty good shot at one of the top three… wouldn’t get our hopes up on 1st overall (Oilers have that in the bag)

  • KH44

    With Bennett predicting to be a good, but not elite, center, the idea of Monahan, Bennett and Backlund as 1,2,3 is not as amazing as I was hoping with the 6th and 4th overall pick. Their HERO charts suggest two really good centers that can score 30 and 70, maybe even 80, but 25 and 60 seems to be the standard. I was excited all season for the idea of Bennett becoming an elite center and drafting a big, scoring RW, but the idea of getting Matthews has now become the dream. he would change everything for this team.

    He would be such a waste on the Oilers! Matthews, McDavid, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, not acceptable. The NHL has to be getting tired of this.

    • RedMan

      what makes you conclude at this point in time, literally beginning of his career and while still a kid, that Bennett is not projecting to be an elite enter? i would say this is more than a little premature/

      • KH44

        Because of the key word, projecting. He is not projecting to be an elite center, he is instead projecting to be a really good center. A great number two, a really good number one. My point isn’t that he won’t be any good, my point is he won’t be ELITE. There are few elite centers in the game. If Bennett scores 30 goals and 70 points for the next 10 years, with a peak of an 85 point season in the middle, will he be a great addition to this team? Absolutely.Could he score higher than that? Yes. But that does not project as an elite player. Elite refers to maybe 25 players in the league, and maybe 10 of those are centers. Crosby, Toews, Bergeron, Kopitar, Giroux, Malkin, Getzlaf, Seguin, Tavares. McDavid will be there.
        Does Bennett currently project to be one of those guys? If the answer is no, and I think it is, then we can say drafting Matthews with the first pick would be ideal. If you believe that Bennett is going to be one of those guys, then pick a winger.

        The things that make me conclude he won’t be an elite center are his scoring rates. He isn’t scoring at the pace he should be to become one of these players, as with the exception of powerplay time, he has been getting chances. But who knows? Maybe he has a 45 point jump next season like Seguin did.
        Do you think that if the opportunity comes to draft Matthews, we should instead take one of the scoring wingers, because we are so set down the middle? I don’t.

        • brodiegio4life

          how can you honestly say that he’s already “projecting” to not be an elite centre? he hasn’t even played one full NHL season yet. I don’t think anyone is saying we should pass on matthews anyways…

          • KH44

            Do you understand the word projected? I can honestly say projected because it is a projection. That is how they work. Based on his scoring rates from his rookie season, he has not met the scoring rates necessary to maintain the projection of an elite center. After 66 NHL games, with 33 points scored, he is averaging 0.5 ppg. Crosby in his rookie year scored 102 in 81, a 1.26 ppg. Bennett has a similar point per game to Joe Pavelski, that would be a really good but not elite center. He had a 0.61 ppg in his rookie year, and a 0.49 ppg in his second year. Nicklas Backstrom scored 0.84 ppg in his rookie year, as another really good but not elite center. Evgeni Kuznetzov, whose underlying numbers are terrible, much worse than Bennett’s, scored a 0.46 ppg in his first full season. Bennett projects to be a stronger player than Kuznetsov.
            See, a projection works by taking what a player has done, such as there playing in junior and in the NHL, and comparing it to other players who have done similar things, and measuring their careers, to create a projection of what he may do. Currently, Bennett’s projections line up more with first line centers, strong players who are great attributes to their teams, but not elite. Does this make sense?

    • piscera.infada

      With Bennett predicting to be a good, but not elite, center, the idea of Monahan, Bennett and Backlund as 1,2,3 is not as amazing as I was hoping with the 6th and 4th overall pick. Their HERO charts suggest two really good centers that can score 30 and 70, maybe even 80, but 25 and 60 seems to be the standard. I was excited all season for the idea of Bennett becoming an elite center and drafting a big, scoring RW, but the idea of getting Matthews has now become the dream. he would change everything for this team.

      Drafting Matthews is the dream, but let’s not kid ourselves, even if they stay on their current trajectory, centre depth of Bennett-Monahan-Backlund will be luxurious moving forward (and I’m not even the optimist about these players that some are).

    • KACaribou

      Who on earth is saying Bennett is “predicting to be a good, not elite, centre”?

      He’s 19 for chrissake!

      Nobody knows for sure that Matthews will be better than Bennett even. Don’t forget the sure things in Edmonton: Hall, Nuge, Yak, … all game changers right?!

      Bennett is fantastic. I wouldn’t trade him for an unproven Matthews.

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    Does Matthews shoot right? (thought I saw that somewhere)

    What I have seen in the highlights etc, is that Matthews might be a better power winger than a center. He drives the net using speed, cycling, making room for others very well.

    Anyone else see this?

  • Christian Roatis

    I have a very strong opinion about this, but I think if you draft Matthew Tkachuk over Jesse Puljujarvi, you should be fired on the spot.

    Evaluating Puljujarvi solely on NHLE is a mistake, there’s far more to his game than his scoring rates in a men’s league as an 18 year old.

    Aleksander Barkov was, if I’m not mistaken, the highest scoring U18 player in SM-Liiga history and had an NHLE of 21.3 in his draft year (48 points in 53 games) and he’s pretty dynamic. Granted that’s not age adjusted but it’s using Vollman’s latest numbers none the less.

    Furthermore, you hit the nail on the head with Tkachuk when you mentioned his linemates. Two of the three highest scorers in the OHL. Tkachuk was never seen as a prolific point getter in scouting circles, although his goal scoring has always been top notch, so his numbers are almost certainly inflated, a bit. Another reason why you simply cannot scout solely with NHLE. It should be a supplement, not a ruling factor.

      • supra steve

        I said it 2 drafts ago WRT William Nylander…would the Flames take a Nylander? I personally would be reluctant, having seen his father play with the Flames. Lots of skill in the family, but I’ve yet to see any heart. I assume BB may have similar reservations.

        I would take a Tkachuk, no problem.

    • Byron Bader

      If he jumps right in like he’s expected to … here’s what the numbers say. I think he’ll be good but should definitely go back.

      The other issue I have is the Finnish league is a men’s league but is the worst calibre men’s league of the big euro leagues.

      Also his nhle hasn’t budged. He had an incredible 17 year old year and he’s stuck in mud a little. Makes me little hesitant. Gamers make massive jumps year over year … almost always.

      • Christian Roatis

        Looking at linemates can also be a valuable tool in deciding how much to read into numbers, and league context too.

        Laine has a far superior supporting cast of scorers to Puljujarvi, and we all saw what JP could do with quality linemates at the WJC, too.

        The SM-Liiga has two – TWO – players scoring over a PPG that have played 20 games this season, which suggests it’s a very low scoring league (considering it’s packed with Finnish goalies are even surprised?)

      • BurningSensation

        I take issue with how you’ve ranked the players ahead of this draft.

        1. Mathews (agreed)

        2. Puljujarvi

        Big, strong, fast, wide range of skills, and he destroyed all comers at WJC – including Laine. As much as I’d LOVE Mathews, I’d almost be happier if we hot Puljujarvi.

        3. Laine

        A fast skating refrigerator with a cannon of a shot.

        4. Chychrun

        Big, strong, fast, multi-tool defender.

        5. Tkachuck

        Sam Gagner 2.0

          • T&A4Flames

            Difference is, Laine is a pure goal scorer where Puju is more of a playmaker. We already have the playmaker with JH. We need the fin(n)isher more than anything, I would say. However, a big RW playmaker (who also has ability to score) beside a scorer like Bennett would be nice as well.

        • Byron Bader

          Everyone is free to their opinion.

          As for Chychrun … I’m just talking about the top forwards. Defenders are a whole different kettle of fish to analyze and didn’t fit into the framework of I wanted to talk about here. Chychrun will be the first defender off the board. Whether he goes to the Flames or a team close to us in the standings.

          I get the love for the two Finns. I just wanted to provide a different perspective. I’d be surprised if either jumped into the NHL right now unless they look like Bergeron at training camp. But we’ll see.

          • piscera.infada

            Are you doing a piece on the defenders?

            I’m interested in Chychrun simply because I don’t get what anyone sees in him really. Granted, I’ve only seen him on TV a couple of times, but I don’t ever see what his scouting reports seem to. He doesn’t seem overly quick or explosive–in fact, it always looks like he’s labouring around the ice to me. His decisions are suspicious at times. I don’t know, my brain must just be predisposed against him, or something.

          • Byron Bader

            We’ll roll out larger in-depth pieces on each of the top prospects as we get closer to the draft. Dmen included.

            Doing a piece like this (NHLE-focused) on defenders is a little different. You can be a very good defenseman and do little offensively … not quite the case for forwards. But maybe I’ll have a look at defensemen in a similar light to see if anything comes out.

          • Baalzamon

            That actually sounds a lot like what I said about Olli Maatta leading up to the 2012 draft. He always looked ghastly whenever I saw him.

            Two years later, he was in the NHL full time. Weird how things work out, sometimes.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Any thoughts on trading Monahan and our first to Toronto for their first overall?

    EDIT: or whoever is picking 1st overall? Treliving/Burke can make it happen

      • First Name Unidentified

        I didn’t say Monahan straight up for their first overall. I said Monahan plus our first round pick (which coyld potentially be top 3) for the First overall pick this draft. I am pretty sure Matthews will be a better centreman than Monahan.

        If you want to see this play out, just put Gaudreau on separate line and see how well Monahan fares against the opposite team’s best.

        • MattyFranchise

          How well would Monahan fare away from Gaudreau if there was more than one reliable scoring winger on the team?

          If you haven’t noticed, we don’t have anyone other than Gaudreau that can score from the wing now that Bennett has been put at center and Hudler got traded.

          Essentially what you’re suggesting is trading a top 3 pick and a number 6 pick (Monahan) to move up potentially 2 spots to get a center that’s been playing wing all season in Switzerland.

        • flames2015

          That’s the worst trade proposal I have ever heard.

          Why would anyone on the Flames Org entertain the idea of our current #1 center (6th pick overall) plus a potential top 3 pick for the 1st overall? Should we also throw in Johnny Gaudreau for good measure?

        • piscera.infada

          I am pretty sure Matthews will be a better centreman than Monahan.

          That’s not an argument, but there’s a serious issue here with people taking criticism of Monahan and creating this over-broad narrative that he’s a horrible player.

          For me, it doesn’t matter how well Monahan fairs without Gaudreau (although, he did score 20 goals without Gaudreau as a rookie). Sure, he’s not going to be the Toews (and he never should have been billed as such), but he’s a pretty damn lethal player, and will be a hell of a 2c in time.

          In short, this organization has a lot of holes. It’s not in a position to be trading a good young centre, and a top-5 draft pick, for a good young centre (that although, appears that he could be better than Monahan, is not a sure bet to be better than Monahan). Now, factor in that the first overall pick is probably the most difficult thing to acquire, and you have the makings of a horrible, horrible trade.

          • First Name Unidentified

            Ok, lets not get emotional here. I can appreciate you feeling very strongly about Monahan but objectively, as a business owner, that trade proposal attracts me if I’m a Flames org member.

            As an asset manager a part of my job is to assign probabilities to events and position yourself objectively to benefit from those probabilities. Because we all presumably know what the random walk theory says.

            Unemotionally, trading for this year’s first overall makes a lot of sense and to entice the trading partner an asset needs to be included who is perceived to be of adding value to the opposite party. You can disagree but those probabilities are currently favoring Mathews and I will unemotionally make that trade because it makes my pool of assets better in a couple years time.

            Emotions result in missed opportunities. If Monahan is not going to be a Toews, and we recognize that, then why not try to use him to get a Toews? Makes sense to me.

          • EhPierre

            There’s a flaw with your reasoning good sir. We give up Monahan for Matthews. I think everyone agrees that Matthews is the better player, there’s no question about that.

            The problem is, to get the first overall pick, we’d have to trade Monahan AND our pick (possibly more). Sure in the end we may get the better player in Matthews but we’re still back in square one; we’d only have JG, Bennet and Matthews. No good wingers.

            Keeping Monahan, and drafting in the third seed or fourth seed would be better in terms of asset management than giving up more for just one player. By keeping Monahan, we fill our need for a winger by drafting Tkachuck or Nylander or whomever. Obviously as of now, none of the players we select will be better than Matthews but in terms of asset management we’re able to improve by finding a solution for our scoring winger need.

          • First Name Unidentified

            I absolutely understand your reasoning and it’s very tempting to go for ” current needs” but, again, i disagree.

            As Ari pointed out recently, we are still is search of an elite center (it could be bogus but we’ve been looking for that center sice Joe Nuwy). Monahan is currently valued very highly around the league. Why not “make hay while its still available”? We have been selling at the bottom forever, why not sell at the top for a change. I believe Treliving is very prudent, he could pull someing like this off.

          • piscera.infada

            I’m not getting emotional at all (and I kind of resent that label).

            Unemotionally I know a few things:

            – Monahan has scored 74 goals, and 142 points in 221 NHL games.

            – Monahan is 21 years old.

            – Monahan is not very good in his own zone.

            – Many individuals unfairly labelled Monahan as the next coming of Toews or Bergeron without any evidence showing that at all.

            – Now that people are starting to realize he is not Toews or Bergeron, they feel as though he has failed, and are thusly willing to overlook a player who has put up very substantial offensive numbers in his first three years in the league.

            – Matthews is a good prospect.

            – Matthews has scored 0 goals, and 0 points, in 0 NHL games.

            – People always want the shiny, new toy, and often look towards that toy without thinking rationally about the cost to acquire it.

            – Essentially trading a very, very good young centre to move up two draft spots to draft a player that you hope will become a very, very good young centre seems unwise.

          • First Name Unidentified

            I still disagree when you say Matthews is pretty much what Monahan is. I would give up a not Toews and a pretty good winger to get an elite center (potentially Tavares or Toews) to play with an elite Gaudreau and an amazing Bennett, potentially? Add Gio and Brodie and Hamilton. Thats certainly a winning combination in my eyes?

            Would you not give up Monahan today to get a Tavares, only 5 years or so younger? I would and i believe Treliving would too. He objectively understands Monahan’s value.

            And when you actually say that you “resent” something, it in itself is emotional. Think about it.

          • Greg

            If I can add my two cents, I don’t think it’s a preposterous trade proposal. To get an elite, all-world type Center like Matthews could be, you do have to over pay a bit. Giving up two really good pieces (ie monahan and a top 5) is likely what it would take to land such a big fish. Just think back to the package the Flyers had to give up to land Lindros.

            But also, don’t forget to think back on what Forsberg accomplished in his career versus what Lindros did. Even if you think it’s a good trade, that should give you pause.

            Hopefully though we just win the lottery and it’s all moot! 🙂

          • Dan the Drunk

            Why would anyone trade Matthews’ NHL years on an ELC (900k + bonus for ~$3M) to grab Monahan’s RFA years at ~$5M? Is the change of picks an incentive?

            Anyone giving up on Matthews is looking to fill another position ie: Oilers would swap for a right handed defenceman.

    • MattyFranchise

      NO NO NO a thousand times NO.

      Trading Monahan is bat%$ insane.

      Anyone in the Flames organization that entertains trading Monahan needs to seriously think about what they’re doing with their lives.

    • Jake the Snail

      I don’t want the Flames to get Tkachuked again! One of the 10 draft busts ever! Spelling is different but it is a bad omen!

      Daniel Tkaczuk, 1997 No. 6 Overall Pick, Calgary Flames

      Just because a player has success at the junior level does not mean that it will translate to success in the NHL.
      This was the case with Daniel Tkaczuk, the sixth overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Tkaczuk was a star with the Barrie Colts as he racked up 334 points in four years in the Ontario Hockey League.

    • Christian Roatis

      Agreed. Until recently, Gauthier was shooting 25%. Literally 1/4 of his shots were goals, which is a huge red flag. He’s at 20% now, and still only has 14 assists in 49 games. On a team that has 37, 32 and 28 goal scorers with games still left to play.

      I also love Juolevi, he’s the next Olli Maatta in my mind. I just really, really like Finland’s contingent of prospects for this draft. It’s going to really re-arm that National team.

  • fretsey

    TO will win the lottery.Even if it’s never been rigged before,this one will be.At the very least it will be rigged so the Oilers don’t even have a whiff at 1st over-all.

    Didn’t Austin suffer a pretty major concussion in the last year?

    Anyways…I think that BT will be super aggressive at the draft.I honestly think JH will be involved in a major east coast trade.(not that I want that,but I just don’t see JH signing an 8 year deal with us)

    • Cfan in Vic

      There’s no way they’re trading Johnny. There’s no way this team wants to rid of the sure thing that is Gaudreau, and he’s already said he could play out his whole career here.

  • freethe flames

    For those discussing trading the 3 number 2’s for a first, let’s remember the Dallas pick could be a 1st. Don’t get ahead of ourselves on this.

  • RedMan

    how can we even consider this evaluation based on NHLe, without even A SNIFF OF THEIR CORSI????

    Lets see their corsi – this will determine who gets picked…

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Hell, if you listened to Lubo, Wills and Patty today, you’d think Garnet Hathaway was a top 5 forward for 2016.

    Sorry, but I can’t get excited about a bottom 6 forward. Kind of reminds me how Flame followers used to worship the likes of Clarke Wilm and Rocky Thompson. I guess that is what fans of stinko teams do either by choice or necessity.

  • freethe flames

    Someone discussed the idea that Monahan can’t play w/o Johnny. He scored 20+ as a rookie plying with Colborne and Hudler. He will be fine and he needs to get on the weights.

    Speaking of Colborne he is often trashed here but is having his best season as a pro, Should the Flames resign him?

    • piscera.infada

      Speaking of Colborne he is often trashed here but is having his best season as a pro, Should the Flames resign him?

      I’m pretty much ambivalent towards Colborne. He doesn’t bug me that he’s here (when he’s playing the right role), yet I think the organization could do a lot better.

      In the most neutral way possible, I’ll answer that statement by saying: just because he’s having his best season, doesn’t mean he’s having a good season.

      • KACaribou

        I’d resign Colborne. No team is full to the brim with stars. You need your role players. Big Joe is edging a little better each year, and he’s a great young man who is liked and a great example for his teammates in the dressing room from all reports.

        • piscera.infada

          Given that he’s not very good at puck possession, and his ability to use the skills we all know he has at his disposal appears fleeting, I’m not sure I would. Again, I’m not absolutely dead-set against it, but I 100% believe a player like Agostino could give you much more when given the same kind of chances Colborne has.

          • KACaribou

            Respectfully and indirectly quoting the logic of piscera.infada and placing it in reference to Agostino.

            – “Agostino (Matthews) has scored 0 goals, and 0 points, in 0 NHL games.”

            – “People always want the shiny, new toy, and often look towards that toy without thinking rationally…”

            I think Agostino has earned a chance this season, but I think it can be done without guaranteeing he will be better than Colborne.

          • piscera.infada

            Haha fair enough. Although, I also never “guaranteed”, I “100% believe“.

            I feel it is necessary to mention (as I have on threads previously) that I have always been high on Agostino. When he was part of Iginla return many people were treating him as the “throw-in” piece to that trade (like, worse than Hanowski…). I had friends attending Yale at the time that had watched him play many, many times over. The kid has what it take to be a very good middle-sixer. He has a good shot, uses that shot a lot, is responsible in his own end, is a powerful skater, he’s not afraid to be physical, his cycle game is strong, and he’s well-known as a leader. So I don’t really see Agostino as the “shiny, new toy”, because I’ve been pulling for him to get a real shot as early as training camp last year.

            None of that is to say he’ll turn into a better NHLer than Colborne. It think it’s pretty safe to say we know what Colborne is–a mid-twenty point scorer, who’s not particularly proficient in his own zone. He (Colborne) is frustrating because he’ll have stretches like he’s having right now, where he plays (I’ll admit) pretty good hockey–he uses his size, his reach, he makes the right reads–but honestly, it’s too few and far between for my liking.

            As an aside, I’ll also point out that people keep throwing out “this is Colborne’s best year”. I guess? Kinda? He has 27 points in 57 games, last season he had 28 points in 64 games (he also had a much better plus/minus, if you’re into that kind of thing).

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Colbourn would be a interesting signing. He has soft hands for a big guy. He clearly can’t play top 6 minutes but he is better than a 4th liner. He is playing well but it is easier to play well when there is nothing on the line. The flip side is, I would hate to give up on him a year too early. I would sign him because he fits well.

      • Mullen7

        I don’t mind keeping Colborne to fill out the bottom six. My only fear is that as long as Hartley is coach then Colborne will get minutes and powerplay time that he doesn’t deserve at the expense of other players getting legitimate chances.

  • calgaryfan

    I think all these projections of Bennett are premature, you have to remember who the coach is and how he does not use his players properly. I will give Sam another year to see how he does before proclaiming him not a # 1 centre, maybe even wait until the Flames hire a real NHL coach.

    If the Flames want to move up to 1st pick in the draft it should not take their pick and Monahan

  • Hubcap1

    Has anyone considered a scenario where Calgary get the first pick and Arizona jumps in with ‘an offer you can’t refuse’

    What would that trade look like to you?

    • RedMan

      as i mentioned in another post, my ideal scenario would be to trade the first overall and whatever combinations of 2nd round picks and prospects to get the 2nd & 3rd overall picks.

      • Hubcap1

        Jeff I think you missed the concept that you can’t trade one pick, the first overall, to two different teams. Unless you think someone is going to trade the 2 or 3 pick for seconds.

      • Hubcap1

        Very much what I was thinking. I would add that they give us their first as well.

        It will be fun to speculate for which ever team gets first as long as it isn’t Arizona because they would never trade that pick with their home town guy there for the taking.