The NHL Draft lottery is just two weeks away. The Calgary Flames finished the season 26th overall this year, ahead only of the Toronto Maple Leafs (30th), Edmonton Oilers (29th), Vancouver Canucks (28th) and Columbus Blue Jackets (27th).
That gives Calgary an 8.5% chance at the first overall pick under the new draft lottery rules. The team with the best chance is the Leafs, at 20%. Those aren’t good odds for either team, frankly, which means there is a very wide spread of potential outcomes, probabilistically speaking.
Enter the Draft Lottery Simulator! In advance of the real thing, the FN team decide to each take a spin with the simulator and run a mini mock draft to see how things may turn out. Here’s how things turned out for each of us:
Kent Wilson – Oilers win another one 🙁
So this pretty much sucks. The Edmonton Oilers get yet another first overall pick and the Leafs fall marginally to 3rd overall. The Bruins leapfrog over all of the basement dwellers to score the 2nd pick.
In my simulation, the Flames fall down to 6th overall.
Here’s how I assume this draft would go:
- Edmonton – Auston Matthews (C)
- Boston – Jesse Pulujarvi (RW)
- Toronto – Patrik Laine (RW)
- Vancouver – Matthew Tkachuk (RW)
- Columbus – Alexander Nylander (LW)
- Calgary – PL Dubois (LW/C)
The Flames skip over Chychrun to take big, scoring LW/C Pierre-Luc Dobois. I think the club would prefer a RW for their first pick (all things being equal and if they can’t have Matthews), but if all of Puljujarvi, Laine and Tkachuk are gone by the time Calgary picks, I imagine they’ll choose the best forward who is still available which is Dubois if things go this way.
Ari Yanover – The lottery is stupid and I hate it
I just want to point out that the second time I ran this simulator, the Flames won the second draft pick. Boom. A Finn. Good. Easy. Done.
Alas, that’s not what happened on this go-through. Instead, the Flames got bumped down as the Winnipeg Jets – who finished above them – ended up with the second overall pick, and the Flames get relegated to sixth place. There aren’t any Auston Matthews or giant Finnish child to be found here.
Anyway, here’s my guess at this particular draft lottery order:
- Columbus – Auston Matthews (C)
- Winnipeg – Patrik Laine (RW)
- Toronto – Jesse Puljujarvi (RW)
- Edmonton – Jacob Chychrun (D)
- Vancouver – Matthew Tkachuk (RW)
- Calgary – Alexander Nylander (LW)
Based on the idea that if Edmonton falls out of the top three, they’re taking a defenceman (though I could also see this swapped, with Edmonton going for Tkachuk and Vancouver taking the defenceman), that sees Alexander Nylander falls to sixth overall. He’s a high-scoring, offensively gifted winger: pretty much exactly what the Flames need, even if he plays the left side. Someone gets bumped to the right at some point.
Nylander is brother to William Nylander and son of former Flame Michael Nylander. He led the Mississauga Steelheads in scoring both in the regular season and the playoffs by a fair margin.
Ryan Pike – This Makes Me Sad
Well, just like Kent and Ari’s simulations, mine saw the Flames get bumped down to sixth overall.
Here’s how I see it shaking out:
- Buffalo takes Auston Matthews (C), gets even deeper with decent young forwards (to go with their good defensive group).
- Vancouver takes Patrik Laine (RW) second overall.
- Edmonton goes off the board a bit, seeking to fix an organizational weakness by selecting Jacob Chychrun (D) from the OHL.
- Toronto, amazed at their good fortune, “settle” for Jesse Puljujarvi (RW) rather than going for Alex Nylander to complete their Amazing Swedish Brother contingent.
- Columbus grabs Matthew Tkachuk (RW).
- Calgary gets Alex Nylander (LW).
Yes, I foresee Edmonton upsetting the draft consensus apple cart if they draft anywhere between 3rd and 6th because they really, really need defensive help.
Christian Tiberi – Down to 6th Again
A history of acquiring and whiffing on first overall picks isn’t exclusive to the Oilers. It may surprise you to learn that the Montreal Canadiens, since the draft began in 1963, have picked first more than any other team. They’ve also (arguably) missed more than any other team. Let’s take a quick pick at their #1 selections, then who was picked next or in the immediate vicinity:
1963: Garry Monahan (Pete Mahovlich)
1968: Michel Plasse (owned top three picks, missed all)
1969: Rejean Houle (owned top two picks, hit 50% thanks to Marc Tardif)
1971: Guy Lafleur (batting .200!)
1980: Doug Wickenheiser (Dave Babych, Denis Savard, Larry Murphy, Paul Coffey. Batting .200)
Based on history and this simulated universe, Auston Matthews should probably be feeling a little bit uneasy. As should the Flames, because that means the Oilers might get a hall-of-famer. Let’s hope history doesn’t hold, and take a look at this mock draft:
- Auston Matthews, Montreal
- Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton
- Patrik Laine, Toronto
- Jacob Chychrun, Vancouver
- Matthew Tkachuk, Columbus
- Alexander Nylander, Calgary
Because he is the gift that keeps on giving, Jim Benning has pretty much confirmed that a defenceman is his first priority at the draft (even if there are a few better options available). I think Columbus will be tossed up between the two players with NHL bloodlines, but take Tkachuk because of the slight size advantage. That leaves the Flames with the versatile (and technically local) Nylander.
Ben Smith – Lou’s a happy man
Well, considering I’m a Flames blogger living in Toronto, there could be worse things than the Leafs getting the first overall pick. However, with the Flames getting the 7th pick in my simulation, I’m sure my colleagues at FN are looking at their liquor cabinets for refuge at the moment if my simulation comes to reality.
Here’s the way I see things shaking-out at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft:
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews (RW)
- Boston Bruins – Patrik Laine (RW)
- Arizona Coyotes – Jesse Puljujarvi (RW)
- Edmonton Oilers – Matthew Tkachuk (RW)
- Vancouver Canucks – Alexander Nylander (LW)
- Columbus Blue Jackets – Jacon Chychrun (D)
- Calgary Flames – Pierre-Luc Dubois (F)
I swear I’m not copying off of Kent, but I agree that the Flames need some scoring, and I see PL Dubois as the best option for the Flames at that part of the draft. However, if the Flames are looking for someone who could be a solid blueliner for the club in the coming years, I also think Jake Bean could be a great option.
Just also wanted to take a moment to say that Arii is the absolute best manager in the entire world!! [ed. – :D]
Christian Roatis – More of the same
I’ve run these simulators multiple times a
week for the last few, and seeing the Flames top 3 is really quite rare. I
guess the Hockey Gods are just saving it for when it counts?
Flames fall from 5th to 7th
in this simulation and miss out on the truly elite prospects, dropping them just below the upper tier of prospects in this draft being
left. As it stands today, here’s how
I see this particular order shaking
out (these are not copy and paste from my personal rankings):
- Winnipeg – Auston Matthews (C)
- Toronto – Patrik Laine (RW)
- Phoenix – Jesse Puljujarvi (RW)
- Edmonton – Jakob Chychrun (D)
- Vancouver – Mikael Sergachyov
- Columbus – Matthew Tkachuk (RW)
- Calgary – Pierre-Luc Dubois (F)
Kind of like in 2013 with Sean Monahan, the
Flames ending up with Pierre-Luc Dubois seems to be the trend when they’re not
drafting Top 3.
He’s definitely not my favorite prospect in this draft, but he
fits the bill of big, fast, scoring winger (he actually plays both wings well, and recently has had success at center too). Dubois would
be the definition of a consolation prize for the Flames, because putting up
with last season deserves one of the Elite 3, but c’est la vie.
The FN consensus from this experiment is the Flames pick 6th/7th overall and land on either Alexander Nylander or PL Dubois. For what it’s worth, Nylander’s NHLe is 32 and Dubois’ is 34.
Not the most exciting outcome given how much the org could use Puljujarvi, Laine or Tkachuk but clearly there are few very good prospects still available after 5 (as Monahan has proven the last three seasons. BTW, his NHLe was 33 in his draft year).
What about it Flames Nation? Who would you pick at 6th overall?