Who will be available at sixth overall?

Happy June!

June marks both the end of the hockey season, and the start of a new one. Not quite in those exact terms, but the Stanley Cup Final is played this month – and then, not too long after, the NHL draft happens as teams look to the future in hopes of also one day reaching the Final.

The Flames will be one of those teams. They look to have a bright future ahead of them, but there are still a number of holes that need filling: one that, hopefully, the sixth overall pick well help out with.

But who might the pick be? They’re at the mercy of five other teams above them.

Two key things have happened recently that may have implications for the draft: the Memorial Cup concluded, and the Vancouver Canucks traded for Erik Gudbranson.

The NHL readiness of prospects isn’t always a sure thing. Those taken at the top of the draft are expected to be ready to step in, but there’s no guarantee that happens with picks four, five, and six. This is a reason why it makes more sense to draft the best player available, and not focus on need: chances are the player you’re taking won’t be ready to help you out in that area of need right away, if at all.

Barring a trade, the Oilers, with the fourth overall pick, won’t be receiving immediate help. However, Matthew Tkachuk has long been rated as one of the top North American skaters of this draft class, and his performance at the Memorial Cup – eight points through four games, including the overtime winner – certainly couldn’t have hurt things.

As much as the Oilers need help on defence, it’s difficult to see a defenceman going fourth overall, just as it’s difficult to see any of the current options immediately stepping into the NHL. Tkachuk, meanwhile, has size, grit, offensive talent, and now a championship pedigree.

The Canucks, meanwhile, took steps to solve their defence problem by acquiring the 24-year-old Gudbranson. Whatever your thoughts on the trade, the important thing here is they believe they’ve added a young top four guy – and dealt away a 20-year-old centre to get him, with expectation he can be replaced with the fifth overall pick.

Specifically, Benning says he expects to get either an eventual first line player or top four defenceman – but I would be surprised if it wasn’t a forward, probably Pierre-Luc Dubois. He’s someone who can play all three forward positions, including centre, which the Canucks just lost.

Unless there’s a major surprise, it seems more and more likely both Tkachuk and Dubois will be unavailable to the Flames. In all likelihood, that leaves Calgary with Alexander Nylander or a defenceman: Jakob Chychrun, Olli Juolevi, or Mikhail Sergachev.

Of course, a few surprises could still happen yet. If the Oilers take Dubois, do the Canucks stick with a forward – even if he won’t be a centre – or do they go for that top four defenceman, leaving Tkachuk to fall to the Flames? Or the Oilers could trade their pick for immediate help, and then who knows what would happen?

As things currently are, the way I see it, it’s difficult to envision Dubois falling to sixth overall – especially with the Canucks wanting to fill a hole they created in their centre prospects. There’s still a chance Tkachuk could fall to sixth, though – but in all likelihood, it’ll be Nylander, a defenceman, or maybe someone else the Flames have higher rated that appears off the board to outsiders.

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  • KH44

    It has to be Nylander, unless the Flames trade up. If Edmonton wants a defenceman, they will trade down a few spots to get one, especially if they aren’t entirely picky about which of the three it is. If they dropped to seventh or eighth, they can still get the player they want, plus pick up a second or third, or a player or prospect in the deal. If Vancouver wants a d-man, they can do the same thing. Tkachuk and Dubois are too highly rated for one of the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th teams to not want to jump up if they can. The Flames could even be the team that jumps up, dealing one of their extra seconds or thirds to make the pick they want.

  • Longshot1977

    I like Nylander.

    – He has the highest NHLE of all of the “tier 2” first-rounders besides Tkachuk.
    – It’s been commented on before that Tkachuk’s value may be somewhat inflated by his outstanding linemates. Nylander has had no such benefit.
    – He plays RW!
    – Very high skill, hockey IQ, and playmaking ability, while still keeping a good competitive spirit.

    I could absolutely see the potential of a future Gaudreau-Monahan-Nylander top line for the Flames, in which all three could flourish. Watch Mony’s goal totals when he has those two guys getting the puck to him!

        • Matty Franchise Jr

          As a guy that used to work in radio (not on the air), if you’re hearing something from the host/DJ and not directly from the mouth of an ‘expert’, take it with a huge grain of salt.

          But I hope they are right!

    • EhPierre

      Idk where you got that from but I do know that the Ducks met with Carlyle (twice) and Travis Green (once but expected to meet again). They were also considering Dale Hunter, especially now since his team won the Memorial Cup

      Flames are considering Travis Green (met once) as well and Glen Glutzan, the Canucks Assistant coach. All from TSN (Dregger and Seravalli)

  • Christian Roatis

    Nylander will be available, but the odds that he won’t be alone there and one of PLD and Tkachuk is increasingly likely, which must be exciting for the Flames because those are two high-end prospects.

    I also just can’t shake the feeling the Treliving will move up to 3. Columbus loving Logan Brown, being in cap hell and Flames’ nice accumulation of assets recently seems like the perfect storm (though idk how Calgary helps Columbus out of cap hell).

    Maybe I’m just grasping at straws as I refuse to let my dream of Puljujarvi dissolve completely.

        • Backburner

          Elliot Friedman also said it on 630 CHED:

          “I just think the one thing Columbus really wants as much as anything else is a center. They traded Johansen, which I thought they made a really fair deal. But their depth at center, especially as you move forward over the years, it’s not as strong.

          “I know some guys who are in the western part of Ontario, and they think that Columbus has some interest in Logan Brown. I can say this though – I don’t that think they’ve moving out of there if they think that Puljujarvi is long-term a center. But as I wrote, if they don’t project him as a center, I wonder if there’s the possibility they could move down.”

    • Kevin R

      Well, you could really make this interesting:

      Columbus sends Bobrovsky $7.425mill, 3rd overall

      Calgary sends Backlund, Klimchuk, #6,

      Columbus gains about 4.0 mill.

      Columbus farm team is in the Calder final & has a nice looking young goalie & they have Korposalo & Mclehinney already signed for dirt cheap. Bob has been pretty injury prone last 2 years & before that a Vezina winner, way over paid but…..

        • Kevin R

          hahaha, I guess you can’t always get what you want. They absolutely have to resign Seth jones & the kid is going to come in at Dougie Hamilton type of money, so I would say centre is their target. But
          Gio, Colborne & #35 for Bob & the #3?

          There would be pillaging & looting (raping would be optional) the Saddledome if that deal went down. Although Flames Management would be maybe OK with that because it may speed up the need for a new arena. :-}

          *** Please note this post was not intended to tick anyone off, I’m just joking around.

          • everton fc

            Just thinking out loud when I posted “Gio”. However, he’s not getting any younger, and his salary moving somewhere else, at peak value…

            I think we’re nuts to move Backlund. But for the #3… Probably have to consider it.

        • Kevin R

          Sure we can. Sign Ortio to a 2 year deal at $600K & between Bob(3 years left) & Ortio, it’s still cheaper than the Goalie cap hit we had last year by over 1.0mill.

          So cap would look like: Goalie: Bob $7.425 & Ortio $600K= $8.0mill

          Def: Wideman $5.25, Brodie $4.6, Gio $6.75, Hammy $5.75, Engs $2.9, Smid $3.5, Kevin $900K = $29.65mill

          Forward:Gaudreau $7.5, Mony $6.5, Raymond $3.0,Stajan $3.1,Bouma $2.2,Bolland $1.25, Bennett $925K, Ferland $825K, Frolik $4.3= $29.6 mill

          Total: 8.0+29.65+29.6=$67.25

          Thats 18 players signed. Jooris $900K would make 19

          Tre would then have to try & move/buyout Raymond/Wideman/Smid & then there would be lots of $$$ to resign Nakladal & Colborne if he’s reasonable & we have Pulji to slot in as well.

          Not impossible.

  • Lombardi

    Just cannot see the flames taking Nylander, trading up for 3 makes a lot of sense but the cost will be astronomical, D-man doesn’t make a lot of sense, lets just pray Edmonton stays at 4 and takes a d-man or Benning drafts Ryan Howse (actually plausible!)… No idea what would happen if Tkachuk or Dubois go but I have nothing but faith in Mr Tre

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Anybody hearing that Vancouver is looking at Brown or Jost for their centring needs…this could change things up for us. I think Benning is on a size mission at least on D.

  • EhPierre

    I’ve been saying this for a while, I really like Nylander on our team. He needs to be a bit stronger (the Flames have one of the best fitness and training staff so that’s not even an issue) and his two way play needs a lil help, which majority of high scoring players have a problem with the first couple of years. Those are his only flaws really, and that he’s not tenacious. His pros tho vastly outweigh the cons and just thinking of him on a line with JG makes me drool

    Now that being said, do you think it’d be smart trading our #6 pick for someone like Nichuskin or another hyped prospect? Something like our #6 for Nichuskin and Dallas’ first? That way we get a big power forward we all want that plays RW and has got potential and we can pick up another winger like Debrincat in the first round. Wouldn’t that be a win-win?

    • Stan

      Ummmm, no. That would be a huge – and i mean HUGE – overpayment for Nichushkin. The guy has literally accomplished next to nothing. 34 points in 79 GP in his rookie season, and then regressed to 29 points in 79 GP in his sophomore year and was invisible in the playoffs. I wouldn’t mind targeting him in a trade, but offering up the #6 pick in return is idiotic.

    • Stan

      Ummmmm how about no? Trading the #6 pick for Nichuskin would be a MASSIVE overpayment. I like the player, and would be in favor of targeting him in a trade but to offer the #6 pick in return is a massive overpayment.

      • EhPierre

        I honestly don’t think it’d be a MASSIVE overpayment. It’d be an overpayment but not a MASSIVE one. I think it’s a realistic offer that if Tre offered to Dallas, they’d take it and we’d be have the chance to get two dynamic RW (Nich and Debrincat or another good player available with the Dallas’ pick)

        I’m sure we can find another good player if Tre was open to trading the 6th but all that pops into my head right now is Nichuskin.

  • FireScorpion

    2 weeks in camp done . Pilsner is great after 2 weeks of nightshifts in dry camp. Johnny Monny and Alex. Yes..yes..I am seeing it now…and it is pretty goal after pretty goal. So much skill and Money sniping with deadly accuracy. Johnny being mind blowing and Alex a bit of both

  • T&A4Flames

    Darren Haynes from Flamesfrom80feet also wrote about this and offered up a few suggestions as to what it might take to get the #3.

    He suggested Backlund and #6 could do it. Backs is a great Filler; makes everyone around him better and could be the guy until Wennberg or Brown (if they take him) are ready for #1 duty.

    Another suggestion was for Monahan or Bennett straight up (we retain the #6 pick).

    The more I think about it, the Backlund idea, if it’s of interest to CLB, could work out quite well. You gotta take some risks.

  • Backburner

    I agree the potential is there for a deal with the Blue Jackets, but you have to think Jarmo Kekalainen would be all over a Finnish prospect like Puljujarvi.

  • Parallex

    Random thought here… what’s the value of the #6 overall in NHL’er terms. I ask because we heard a while back that the NYR are open to trading Kreider and Hayes… would #6 for Kreider & Hayes be a feasible deal (assume that we can add Raymond to make the cap work if need be). Too much? Not enough?

    • everton fc

      Not sure why this got all thumbs down. The Rangers don’t pick until the 3rd round, if I’m not mistaken. Can you imagine Kreider on the left side of Bennett, or even with Backlund and Frolik, for that matter, or a 2nd line of Kreider/Bennett/Frolik? And w/Prybil in play, Hayes on the right side certainly helps our depth. Would Hayes be better than Nylander? Who knows. Don’t know either Hayes or Kreider’s cap hits.

      Dylan McIlrath is also a right-handed shot on “d”, and they have goalies…

      Only posting for the reason the Rangers have no #1, or #2 picks. Would #53 and #55 get us one of Kreider or Hayes??

      • T&A4Flames

        Problem is they are both RFA. What’s it going to take to sign them? I would consider it we were willing to trade down with, say, CAR and snag #13 and #21. Then I would offer #21, #55 and Colborne.

        I think we would have to move $ in order to sign both.

        • everton fc

          I meant one or the other. Would Hayes sign at discount to play w/Gaudreau? Perhaps the Rangers would take Wideman, to get a pick in the top 55?! 😉

          And Nylander does indeed possess a wicked shot – watch the highlight reel I posted up a-ways. I’d say his shot is potentially “elite”. We could do far worse, on RW. But some scouts don’t see him as “Top-10”. Does he drop? Could we swap w/the Habs, #6 for #9 and a prospect or secondary pick, and still get Nylander at #9??

          Just throwin’ it out there…

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            Actually, I think most scouts see him as a top 10. Most publications have kept him around 6 consistently in 2016 …..but he could drop if he does not go at 6. Arizona needs a D and they pick 7th, Buffalo may select Juolevi at 8thto play with Ristolainen, that leaves Montreal who is high on a Center like Jost, Keller or Brown.

            So, I could see Nylander dropping to 10th so teams could trade down and maybe get him. He may be too good for AZ to pass up, they could take Alex and use him as a bargaining chip to one day get Mathews…if Mathews forces a trade.

  • T&A4Flames

    You guys are fools for wanting to trade Gio right now. Everyone is so worried about the future value of his contract. He’s only 33 this season and is coming off his best year yet. He’s a health and gym freak. Even if he drops to 2nd line for the last 2-3 years of his deal, he’ll be a quality player.

    Moving Backs would be the best solution in my estimation. Neither idea looks great; both come with risks. But Gio is still a legit #1 and has shown no reason to believe it won’t continue for the foreseeable future. Backs future with this team is as a #3 C. He has 2 years remaining on a value contract but who knows what he wants after that. We could reasonably believe that he could be replaced in the next couple of years when we are ready to push for a cup.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Nylander seems to be the most polarizing player since Vernon. I am afraid that if Calgary drafts him there will be a big groan at the Draft….not by me. It seems like drafting Nylander would be viewed by many as the consolation prize when he is far from it. There is a great chance that he becomes the best player from the second ledge and maybe even the first ledge. The top 3 rated players have been dominating with skill and size.

    It can be argued that both Dubois and Tkachuk can attribute a lot of their junior hockey success to size and skill while Nylander has done what he has without the big hockey frame. How much more of an upside do these big bodied players have over those that are not close to filling out?

    I have read and seen enough to believe that if Calgary lands Nylander, Keller, Brown or Jost it will be a successful first round. I am not convinced on the Defenders since there is no consensus among the draft publications. The Juolevi talk is strong since his season just ended. Next up are the interviews and combine which can bump or drop a candidate.

    • Parallex

      I wouldn’t I’d be stoked. Here’s the thing about Nylander… when I hear people talk about him a word that crops up a lot in describing his skills is “elite”. Now they also tend to talk about how his game isn’t complete yet but the parts that are there are elite. Tkachuk and Dubois are described as having more complete games but I’ve never seen “elite” used to describe what they do.

      I guess what I’m saying is that Nylander probably has higher upside then either of those guys but we’d have to be a bit more patient and wait for it to come around.

        • The GREAT Walter White

          Wow those were the lamest highlights ever; 12 minutes of my life I will never get back (ok, I only watched the first 5 minutes…)

          The same clips of him fighting the puck over and over again, seriously; was this a parody?!

          Now I REALLY hope we don’t draft him!


      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I think the entire Second ledge will require patience. Dubois and Tkachuk could crack the NHL next year but that does not mean that is the best thing to do for their development. Tkachuk could put up decent numbers next year if he plays with McDavid or in on the PP. Personally, I think Nylander would light up rookie camp and be one of the last cuts in the Flames camp.

        Our top line needs a RW that can keep up both physically and mentally. I don’t think people realize what kind of a shot Nylander has but having the option to play him on the point with his cannon typically does not happen with forwards.
        Now I have heard that he may need to work on quickening his release but his 1 timer would be a great weapon that we don’t currently have.

        The team has tried all sorts of wingers but none with blend of Speed and Vision that Alex shows. Hurdler had great vision but could no keep up while Ferland could skate with Johnny and Mony but struggled to think the game at the same level.

  • Deef

    If the Flames take another D at 6, I would be shocked (and appauled). There are 3 forwards available at 4-6 that should make for a nice Bennett winger in a couple years.

    • BurningSensation

      I have to disagree.

      Young defenders are the ‘coin of the realm’, they can be traded for any other position as there is always a demand for young cost-controlled Dmen well beyond their availability.

      If Cgy takes a Chychrun or Juolevi I’m a happy camper as it may not fix a current need, but it creates flexibility to aquire what we do need.

      So if Flames brass draft a blue, don’t despair, it is just setting us up for another deal.

  • freethe flames

    The question for the Flames is how much do they love the guy they have ranked as #6. If they don’t love him they have other options. If a guy they like more falls then even the better. The key is manage your assets properly. Trading up as long as the cost is not greater the results is fine, trading down if the gains are greater than #6 is fine; you only trade down for tangible assets- something you need.

    My interests is what do they do with the other picks.

  • freethe flames

    Edmonton is likely going to trade the 4th and this will throw the whole draft into turmoil. They need an want a RHD so don’t surprised if they make a deal for one of the following Barrie, Vatanen or Schenn. Depending on what they do there are plenty of alternatives. The problem for the Flames is they have to wait for the teams in front of them. Each of the three forwards bring something different to the table: Dubious versetility and size, Tkachuk a sniper with size, and Nylinder elite skill- all things the Flames need. The three top defenders have the same type of diversity. However the issue is that the Flames need these things now and all of these guys are likely one year away.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Do we want the best prospect for next year or the next 10 years? A player like RNH was rushed into the NHL before his body was ready which likely resulted in him being injury plagued. He was able to play in the NHL due to his skill and I expect Nylander could as well. Personally, I don’t mind waiting a year for a player like Nylander if it means he is more NHL ready. I would rather not wait for 5 years like we have with Janko.

      I find it funny when people talk about drafting a big Center so they can compete with LAs and Anaheim’s big centres when in reality most players may take a couple of years to break into the league. Over these next 2 years the composition of the teams that are being targeted will likely change dramatically.

      • freethe flames

        I think you misunderstood my point; I have no problem letting these players develop whomever we draft, However that does not solve this teams immediate need; to be competitive next year and the year after we need at least 2 top six forwards and a starting goaltender. Hopefully someone from the current group of prospects makes the step in the forward group. If BT can make some cap space he should be able to find a starting goalie and a complementary top 6 forward(he may already have with Pribyl)

        I still think he will find a way to leverage our first and second round picks to meet some of our needs and still draft some good prospects, let’s remember BT also said look for some small subtle moves and I think there are some players out there that need a change of location and may bounce back.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      I don’t think it’s ” likely” that they trade the pick. They can still find a “d” through free agency and trading someone from their core. They still need to draft a good quality player such as Dubios to fill a void in the future when someone has to be dealt when salary cap comes into question in a few years.
      As far as Nylandrgoes, I just watched his highlights and you need more than a ” wicked wrister ” to make it. I’d rather have the size and grit of Dubois or Tkachuk.

      • freethe flames

        You know your team better than I do but if they want to get two top 4 defenders. In order to get two Chi will need to be creative. Trading one of your other big 3 (Hall, RNH, Eberle) might not get it done,

          • freethe flames

            Hall is a cut above the other 2 but I doubt he gets you a true #1(how many of them are there really- maybe 10 in NHL) He probably gets you a top pairing guy. My point is that to get 2 top 4 defenders(RH especially) will be costly and that your 4th pick is an asset that probably come into play. For those who think that the 6th and Wide’s get your 4th they are fooling themselves as I think Chi wants a legit top 4 defender for that pick.

  • brodiegio4life

    if the scouting believes that juloevi can be a better NHL player than nylander than you take the dman, it’s not like nylander is a can’t miss prospect or anything… draft BPA and then work to improve your weakness on the wings through trade. Look at nashville, they continued to stack up their defense and they eventually landed a young top line centre because they could afford to trade a top dman because of the depth on the blueline they had built up.

      • Baalzamon

        I said the exact same thing about Olli Maatta four years ago.

        Regardless, my read on Juolevi is that he’s a high-floor, low-ceiling player. I don’t think there’s a ton of upside there, but not much risk, either.