With the Dallas Stars’ loss, every single division winner from the 2015-16 regular NHL season has been eliminated before the third round. Also, in a more pressing (and sad) matter, the Flames will not get Dallas’ first round pick for Kris Russell.
The final haul for the Russell trade: Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, and a second. It’s a really respectable deal – honestly, it’s probably still better than the Flames should have gotten – but that tease of an extra first rounder really was something while it lasted.
Alas. The Stars, and especially their goaltending, decided not to show up, and the Flames are stuck with their own non-lottery first round pick, plus three second rounders: sixth, 35th, 53rd, and 55th overall*. Devastating.
On the bright side: we thought the Flames’ goaltending was bad? Well, it was, but at least Calgary gets a clean slate; Dallas still has Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi signed for a combined $10.4 million cap hit for the next two seasons. Yikes.
Assuming Brad Treliving doesn’t make any trades – and especially considering the way the 2015 draft went, that’s a very big assumption – the Flames will have four picks in the top 60. Counting their own third and fourth rounders, they’ll have six picks in the top 100, which is hardly a bad spot to be in (even if a little more quality would have been nice).
* Pending Conner Bleackley signing with the Arizona Coyotes, the Flames will have the sixth, 35th, 53rd, 55th, 65th, 95th, 125th, 155th, 165th, and 185th picks of the draft. All those spots starting from 53rd overall will bump back a spot if Bleackley does not sign, as the Coyotes will receive a compensatory pick at 53rd overall.
Let’s just take a glance at the first two rounds for now, though. It gets extra crap-shooty the further into the draft we go. So just for fun, here’s who Craig Button had going in those top four positions for the Flames, via his March rankings:
6. LW/RW Alexander Nylander
35. LW Max Jones (Okay, this one probably isn’t happening.)
53. D James Greenway
55. G Filip Gustavsson
For your perusal, here’s the final NHL Central Scouting draft rankings for the 2016 draft. Feel free to mix and match the lists and see who you can come up with in those spots in the comments, or who you might like the Flames to (realistically) target! We’ll have draft profiles coming your way soon.