Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving loves draft picks. In fact, he’s declared as much in front of the media on multiple occasions since taking the reins of the Flames in the spring of 2014.
Draft picks are valuable in a few different ways. They can be used to select players, which gives teams a chance to load up on assets. They can be used to trade straight-up for current assets, like how the Flames added Dougie Hamilton at last year’s draft. And most of all, they provide flexibility. Don’t have a lot of picks? Don’t expect teams to call you asking about them, which makes it difficult to do much of anything.
Barring trades between now and then, the Flames are primed to head into the 2016 NHL draft with the most picks they’ve had in the Lockout Era: 10, including five picks in the first three rounds.
What relationship has the number of picks had with what they’ve been able to do at the draft?
The Flames went into the draft with eight picks. They sent Mike Commodore to Carolina for an additional third round pick, and used their own third and fourth round picks to trade up in the third round to take Dan Ryder. The Commodore trade was essentially cashing out on an asset before it had a chance to depreciate following the 2014 playoff run, and their pick depth allowed them to move up to take Ryder (a player they valued).
The Flames went into the weekend with nine picks. The pick depth allowed them to package their second round selection with other assets in a trade with Colorado to bring Alex Tanguay to town.
In stark contrast to previous years, the Flames went into the 2007 draft with just five picks and had to scramble to get more kicks at the can. This resulted in a lot of jockeying around of assets as they moved to accumulate picks early in the draft and then shuffled around to move up in particular rounds later.
- They traded down in the first round to gain a third round selection.
- They traded Andrei Zyuzin and minor leaguer Steve Marr to Chicago for Adrian Aucoin and a seventh round pick.
- They traded up into the fourth round (with two fifth rounders) to take Keith Aulie and into the fifth round (with two sixth rounders) to take Mickey Renaud.
The 2008 cattle-call saw the Flames begin the weekend with seven selections. They were able to wheel and deal a bit, trading Alex Tanguay to Montreal and acquiring Mike Cammalleri from Los Angeles. The whole affair amounted to them trading down eight spots in the first round, adding second and fifth round picks in that year’s draft, and replacing Tanguay with Cammalleri.
The Flames went into the 2009 draft with six picks, having traded their third round selection to Florida just a few days prior to grab Jay Bouwmeester’s free agent rights early. (While the Flames weren’t as successful as some had hoped after that move, it was definitely a bold, smart move by Sutter.) The Flames recouped their spent third rounder by trading down in the first round (from 20th to 23rd), and later on they sent a fourth rounder to Los Angeles to trade up in the third round to take Ryan Howse.
The 2010 draft saw the Flames ship out their picks in the first two rounds before the weekend even began, but they amassed a few in later rounds and ended up going into the weekend with seven picks. They ended up using their later picks and solved an organizational issue (in the short-term) by trading a sixth round pick to San Jose for Henrik Karlsson.
As with 2007, the Flames went into the 2011 draft with just five picks. They didn’t wheel or deal much that weekend, using their picks and not trading up, down or sideways. They got Johnny Gaudreau out of the weekend, so it probably wasn’t a terrible strategy.
The Flames had six picks on 2012 draft weekend. They traded down in the first round from 14th to 21st, recouping a second round pick in the process. (They had sent their original 2012 second rounder to Buffalo during the 2011 draft weekend.)
The Flames went into the 2013 draft with eight picks, including three first round picks for the first time in franchise history. They had a lot of flexibility, but they didn’t move any of their picks and instead simply used them all.
Calgary had seven picks and used their flexibility a bit, trading a third rounder to Brandon Bollig after making three selections through the first two rounds.
The Flames went into the draft weekend with nine picks, including a first, three seconds and two thirds. They swapped a first and two seconds to Boston for Dougie Hamilton, then traded the two thirds to move up into the end of the second round to grab Oliver Kylington.
Calgary is going into the draft weekend with 10 selections, which is the most they’ve had since the draft went to seven rounds after the 2004-05 lockout.
SUM IT UP
|2005||8||Traded away roster player for picks
|2006||9||Traded picks for roster player|
Traded away roster player for a pick
Traded up (twice)
|2008||7||Traded away roster player for picks
Traded picks for roster player
|2010||7||Traded pick for roster player|
|2014||7||Traded pick for roster player|
|2015||9||Traded picks for roster player
When the Flames have lots of picks (especially early in the draft), they have lots of flexibility. In years where they had fewer picks, they either did nothing or got busy and made some ill-advised moves in order to recoup lost draft picks.
Last year is a perfect preview for this year’s draft, though since the Flames were a bit worse on the ice they have significantly better picks to work with.