Flames Draft Targets: Potential steals in later rounds

We are (unfortunately) moving towards the end of our draft coverage. We’ve focused extensively on the first three rounds, now it’s time for the rest.

Instead of throwing darts at a list, we’re going to look for the steals of this draft. The Johnny Gaudreaus and the T.J. Brodies of this draft who have slipped for whatever reason. Players who have faced crappy circumstances (bad teams, limited ice time etc.) or scouting biases (too small for the most part) but have good enough production to warrant their names being written down on a Flames draft card.

Instead of a whole profile, we’re just going to give you little tidbits on guys the Flames should be focused on during the final rounds of the draft.

But how do we identify a steal? I laid out some criteria that helps narrow down our search:

  • For forwards: a 20+ NHLe, 30+ if they’re in their draft +1. Past the second round, there are very few “sure things” available. Even a 20+ NHLe doesn’t give you much of a chance at success. According to theprojectionproject.com, low 20s is anywhere around 30%, high 20s could be approaching 50 without actually getting there. However, these guys are the closest you can get to sure things in the later rounds. You take them.
  • For defenders, NHLe is slightly less predictive of success, but if someone has an NHLe in the teens, it’s a good indicator.
  • Goalie selections tend to thin out as the draft goes on. I just listed a few that I felt would be good and available later in the draft.

Jesper Bratt

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
5’10” 174 lbs LW/RW L 07/30/1998 Depends

Bratt is a bit of an interesting character. Some are very high on him, some are not. The young Swede lit it up in international tournaments (five points in five Ivan Hlinka games, 16 in 21 other games), but not so much in league play. He did play in a men’s league, the Swedish Allsvenskan, but rarely if ever do players who come from that league ever make it to the NHL.

Not to mention that he also only scored 17 points in 48 games there, good for a 10.46 NHLe. Some, like the folks over at TPP, would say that he actually hit 20, due to the translation factor they use (the original is based off of our own Kent Wilson’s work. The number TPP is using has most likely been skewed by Filip Forsberg jumping from SWE-1 to the NHL). People have Bratt being drafted all over the place. I honestly wouldn’t consider him until the sixth round.

Brayden Burke

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
5’10” 163 lbs C/LW L 01/01/1997 34.75

Burke is essentially this year’s Andrew Mangiapane with a bit less weight. He was a late draft pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, and didn’t get to play a full season until this year despite holding his own in 2014-15. He exploded this season and scored 109 points, leading the Lethbridge Hurricanes and was third overall in the WHL. Burke scored 75 primary points and 53 of those were at even strength, putting him fourth in the league in terms of ESPP. Across the whole CHL, he was 13th overall in ESPP.

Like Mangiapane, Burke certainly looks like another late bloomer passed over because of size. His numbers are too promising to pass up. I think Burke will be available for the Flames in the fifth round, but that’s the exact same thing I said about Mangiapane last year and the team still scooped him up in the sixth. He feels like a player the Flames wouldn’t pass on.

Matthew Boucher

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
5’8″ 172 lbs LW L 12/17/1997 23.34

Boucher’s stats don’t impress on first glance: in the QMJHL, you pretty much get 60 points for writing your name down. Digging deeper, we can see that Boucher was tied for the lead in scoring on an offensively challenged Remparts team in nine fewer games than Bronson Beaton, the other 60 point scorer (though they were all far behind Dmytro Timashov, who was traded 29 games in with 53 points to his name).

His numbers are quiet, but relative to the team, he is a dynamo. I still see some promise in him, and so do other scouts. He is capable of driving play on his own (44 primary points, 26 ESPP), and could be a few good teammates away from an offensive explosion. A risky pick, but in the fifth round, it’s justified. In all honesty, his stock is low enough you could probably pick him up in the seventh, but he really belongs in the fifth.

Dawson Davidson

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
5’10 176 lbs D L 04/07/1998 15.18

An offensive producer on Kamloops’ blueline, Davidson is tied for first (with four fewer GP) in defenceman scoring with Ryan Rehill, a player two years older than him who also gets two extra minutes at EV. Davidson put up 42 points this year, with only 16 coming on the powerplay.

The Flames are almost certainly set for left handed defenders. In fact, they have 10 of them. However, if you give that list a hard look, there’s very few promising names besides Kylington, Wotherspoon, Kulak, and Hickey (who didn’t have a great season). Davidson could probably reinvigorate that squad should he be drafted by the Flames.

Benjamin Gleason

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
6’0″ 165 lbs D  L 03/25/1998 13.12

Gleason was stuck with the sorry Hamilton Bulldogs all year after being traded from the eventual Memorial Cup winning London Knights. In his time, he did work. Leading all Bulldog defenders with 32 points (12 ahead of second place), he scored 20 primary points and 16 of those were at even strength.

Thanks to the alphabet, Gleason is conveniently sandwiched in here between two other defenders: one a purely offensive defender and the other a defending defender. Gleason meets them in the middle, providing offence and defence. He needs to be more than a twig to make the NHL (tied for tallest listed, but the second skinniest), but not a bad investment with a fifth round pick.

Max Lajoie

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
6’0″ 181 lbs D L 11/05/1997 13.70

Lajoie is, more or less, a bigger version of Davidson. He led Swift Current’s defence in points and ate up nearly 20 minutes of even strength ice time per night. However, that is also the main drag against Lajoie. Compared to Davidson, he doesn’t nearly put up enough offence with the extra minutes. Lajoie’s ES P/60 is under half (0.72) of Davidson’s (1.62).

However, Lajoie is considered the better defender of the two (it also helps that he’s four inches taller), a number that doesn’t really come off in NHLe. He is projected to go in the very late third round, but perhaps could drop right into the Flames’ lap with the 96th overall pick.

Kyle Maksimovich

Height
Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
5’9″ 170 lbs LW L 03/10/1998 27.40

Maksimovich is a very interesting prospect that I was very surprised to see ranked so low. On a top-heavy Erie Otters team featuring a first line of Raddysh-Strome-DeBrincat, Maksimovich (71 points) was pushed to second line duty with Jake Marchment (45 points) and Vanya Lodnia (39 points). He was certainly a grade above his linemates, and performed as such. He scored 51 primary points, 41 of them coming at ES which is outstanding considering he only received an estimated 15.61 TOI (for ES P/60, he only trails Strome by 0.5).

He should almost certainly be drafted in the late second/early third. He is ranked in the 100s. There is a very good chance that Maksimovich will be the steal of the draft. Probably the best candidate for the fourth round pick.

Dante Salituro

Height Weight
Position
Shoots
Birthday
NHLe
5’9″ 174 lbs C R 11/15/1996 33.51

Salituro’s a guy who I thought could’ve gone in the third round last year. For whatever reason, he slipped past the whole draft, and it’s very puzzling as to why. Despite putting up a 22 NHLe in his Draft -1 year and a 30 in his draft year, he has been pushed to the side by Travis Konecny (and size, because of course). However, with Konecny absent for half of this year due to a trade, Salituro has shown that he is every bit as capable without him.

There’s a whole lot to like about Salituro. He’s a primary points machine, being the main man on 62 of 83 points this year. Only 35 of those were at even strength, but he was only given an estimated 16.35 TOI at ES (2.766 ES P/60). He’s constantly improving, and could explode to the top of OHL scoring next year. If scouts continue to look down upon him, he could be easy pickings in the fifth round.

Zach Sawchenko

Height
Weight
Position
Catches
Birthday SV%
6’1″ 179 lbs G L 12/30/1997 .916

Sawchenko’s already been discussed here not even a few days ago. As Pike said, Sawchenko was just as good as Carter Hart last year. The draft order for goalies is anything goes, but I feel that Sawchenko will probably be available in the fourth round, but he won’t escape it. If the Flames want him, they’ll have to get him then.

Joseph Woll

Height
Weight
Position
Catches
Birthdate
SV%
6’3″ 196 lbs G L 07/12/1998 .918

Ditto for Woll, who Pike recommended as a safe bet due to performance with USNDP and age. He’s one of the younger goalies in the draft, turning 18 next month. He’ll be headed to Boston College in the fall to (presumably) battle for the net with fellow freshman Ryan Edquist. Considering the low demand for goalies right now in the NHL, Woll could fall into the fifth or sixth round.

Final thoughts

There are 10 guys listed here, but only five Flames picks in the final four rounds. They can’t have ’em all.

I ranked them initially by where I thought they would be drafted, and then by preference when the Flames step up:

Fourth round:

  • Maksimovich
  • Lajoie
  • Sawchenko

Fifth round:

  • Salituro
  • Burke
  • Gleason

Sixth round:

  • Davidson
  • Woll
  • Bratt

Seventh round:

  • Boucher

The big key is the sixth round, where the Flames have two picks. If the dice roll their way, say Burke or Salituro (most realistic slips) fall into the sixth round, Treliving could be laughing for a few years. Nabbing two potential NHLers in the sixth is irrefutably a huge success.

Making smart selections in all rounds, as the current makeup of the Flames’ roster shows, can be crucial. In these late rounds, you’re building for depth at all positions. Some teams just pick. Others pick smart. Let’s hope the Flames fall into the latter.

Previous draft targets: Alexander Nylander | Pierre-Luc Dubois | Matthew Tkachuk | Jakob Chychrun | Olli Juolevi | Clayton Keller | Alex DeBrincat | Sam Steel | Vitalii Abramov | Jake Bean | Tyson Jost | Mikhail Sergachev | Tyler Benson | Griffin Luce | Logan Brown | Samuel Girard | Will Bitten | Cliff Pu | Taylor Raddysh | Adam Mascherin | Carter Hart | Jordan Kyrou | Cam Morrison | Cam Dineen | Matthew Phillips | Carsen Twarynski | Sean Day | Tage Thompson | Frederic Allard | Rem Pitlick