Are the Flames bad At drafting in the second round?


(Dillon Dube interviewed by Ryan Leslie, courtesy of

Back in June I had mentioned that the second round
of the draft seemed to be a place where the Flames’ scouts went to die. There
seemed to be something within the Flames organization that led them to make
poor decisions when there are often still a few bargains to be had at the draft
table. This isn’t to say that the organization hasn’t found ways to make up
ground elsewhere – the fourth round is something of a local legend
based on recent history.

However, I wanted to take a look at the Flames’ history of
drafting in round two to see if my memory in this regard was accurate, or the
result of some more recent misses.

To do so I went back to the Flames’ draft history courtesy
of and grabbed screenshots of all the second round picks
going back to 2000. For the purposes of this exercise we’re going to examine
this from two slightly different perspectives. As a general rule I try not to
evaluate too closely the prospects taken before five years has passed on a
draft year. In this article, however, I am including the prospects taken up to
and including this most recent draft only because for those last few years we
can compare the names chosen with consensus draft rankings available at the
time to see if the Flames were going “off the board” or sticking close to the
general line.

I’m also going to look at the assets that were acquired by
trading second round picks during the years ranging from 2004 to 2007,
2009, 2010, and 2013.

So here is the list of players the Flames have selected in
the second round since 2000.

The columns on the right indicate games played, goals,
assists, points and penalty minutes.

2000-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2001-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2002-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2003-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2008-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2011-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2012-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2014-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2015-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

2016-Calgary Flames Draft History at hockeydb

(All trade information courtesy of

Lowetide regularly reviews the Oilers’ drafting by round and
has recently posted an article here on the Oilers in the second round. He includes
mention of the recent work by Scott Cullen in breaking down the chances of
drafting a player in each round who will reach the 100 games played threshold. It
is worth the read.

For my part, I hold to a slightly higher threshold to
declare a draft pick a success, at least within the first two rounds, and prefer
to use 200 games played. There are extenuating circumstances such as injury,
development on the part of either the player or organization, and preferring to
play abroad rather than in the NHL; however, for the most part I feel this is a
reasonably high bar by which to measure draft proficiency.

That being said, based on Cullen’s work, a prospect taken in
the second round has at least a 33.8% chance of reaching 100 games.

The Flames, since 2000, have drafted three players who have
reached that milestone in Jarret Stoll, Kurtis Foster and Markus Granlund. If
we restrict ourselves only to those prospects drafted five years ago or more,
that would make three of 10, or just a shade below Cullen’s mark.

So, altogether, the Flames’ drafting record in this round is
perhaps a hair below average.

For every year when there is a Hunter Smith/Mason McDonald
selection we may see an Oliver Kylington/Rasmus Andersson pick that at least has
a higher chance to offset draft failures.

But what of that big gap of second round picks
during Darryl Sutter’s time as GM (from 2004 to 2007 and again in 2009 and 2010)? Surely they might have found one or two more
players there that could have bumped that average up, right?

I looked at every trade the Flames made involving a second
round pick, either coming or going, during the same time period (2000 to
present) and came up with the following.

1-Flames trades - Excel

2-Flames trades - Excel

3-Flames trades - Excel

(Trade information courtesy of

The Flames acquired by way of second round draft
picks, either in whole or in part: Miikka Kiprusoff, Craig Conroy, Alex
Tanguay, Brandon Prust, Michael Cammalleri, Rene Bourque, Jordan Leopold and
Anton Stralman, to name a few.

Granted, there are a few notable names that were eventually
taken with those relinquished draft selections such as Matt Carle, Marc-Edouard
Vlasic, David Booth, Jake Gardiner, Brian Dumoulin and Brandon Saad. However
there is no way to argue that the Flames would necessarily have those same
players today had they retained those picks.

So while the Flames often do have something of a history of
using the second round as either an excuse to go walkabout at the draft
or to trade the picks for already established NHL players, the oft-cited statement that the
Flames are inherently poor at drafting in this round does not appear to be

In fact, based on history, the most effective use the Flames
have shown with those picks is in trading them for immediate roster assets.

Although I suspect that is neither a popular nor
a particularly wise opinion to have.

  • cberg

    Considering the Flames were ~NHL average in the 2nd round picks they took, but significantly above average when they traded the picks(of course, often with other players added in), I guess that means that overall they are way above ~NHL average in utilizing 2nds and getting NHL players out of them (quick estimate of an additional 18 players with ~100+ games for the Flames, or so, making it 21 players in 12 years(only calculated till 2012)). Kind of goes along with the narrative that they are pretty good at other rounds too(actually, kinda like genuises)…..

    Or, let’s put it another way. You’ve got $5000 to go buy a car from a used car lot. You either have the choice to buy direct from the lot, or trade it with a buddy. Unfortunately, your success rate at the car lot is only 30% because the slick salesmen are way better at selling than you are at discerning quality. The other years you have the opportunity to do the same but one of your buddies has a car that he’s been bragging about, so you make a trade for your $5000 plus add some throw-ins that you’d otherwise have to take to the dump yourself, or stuff you had and still works, but you’ve grown tired of it since its starting to break down and don’t really use any more. He also has an old truck he never uses since he moved into town which he throws in. This scenario is way better than the dealer because, well, you buddy is kind of a dufous and just likes new things and doesn’t really know quality when he has it. Overall you are way, way ahead of the curve in terms of success, and your friend is still a friend, because, well, like I said he’s a dufous.

  • Kevin R

    It’s interesting to read & go back through history. I think one thing is to temper any conclusions because the historical data is no longer relevant. Reason I say that is because with most teams the resources that are being used to scout & screen the young talent has increased astronomically since the Sutter days. It will probably shift even more when analytics is used more as a tool it should be instead of just being a mode of translating the results. When teams finally utilize analytic metrics for their scouts in evaluation & using the metrics for development of drafted prospects, drafting in the 2nd round will be less of a dart shoot & more of a science.

    • supra steve

      I think you are underestimating NHL scouting departments, if you think they are not already aware of and using tons of analytics in evaluating draft prospects. These are smart people, and as much as fans like to think we know more than they do sometimes, they are way ahead of FN in blending analytics into practical assessments of players. Psychology/behavioral sciences, genetics, player interviews, analytics, etc. They are evaluating it all. And if at the end of the day, they pick Janko or Gaudreau, or Parsons…then I’m confident that they have done their homework.

      The last 6-7 years of drafting have been so much better than the previous 20 years. Exciting time to be a Flame fan.

      • Kevin R

        Tough to say how much analytics the scouts use & whatever they do use, they are sure not making that info public. But I agree, there is more of it being used than I even think there is. You think they are at the stage where they have their analytics profile established by the scouts & that is provided to Huska to carry out how they want the kid coached & developed? Don’t know if these teams are at that level yet.

  • It was mind blowing last year when the Flames pulled off that 2nd round heist using our remaining picks on Fat Ras and Kylington. I wasn’t nearly as excited this year with our 2nd rounders, at least at first.

    That said, every move referenced in your table starting at 2015-03-01 and on looks like we turned peanuts into gasoline each time. It’s hard not to have faith in Flames mgmt when they just keep following one smart decision with another.

    Definitely a good time to be a Flames fan.

  • RKD

    I don’t know if you can just quantify it as bad, I look at it more of who the regimes were in that time span. The drafting has improved in the 2nd round, Sieloff would be a Flame had he not been traded for Chiasson. The Sens must be really on Sieloff. Granlund is still maturing and even though we traded him, we got Shinkaruk back. If it’s a string of bad picks all the second round going back 16 years that’s more coincidence, they didn’t have the same scouting staff, vision or as good as development back then.

  • Sobueno

    Rex! I was thinking just yesterday I hadn’t see you around for a while. I’m typically just a site creeper myself, but enjoy your posts. Anyways, thanks for the analysis. Nice to know we’re at worst average in the second round rather than terrible like I’d always thought.

    • cberg

      He didn’t say we are average. He said of the few picks we took at the draft we were average, but on converting 2nd round picks into players through both the draft and trades, we were way above average.

  • PrairieStew

    The fact is the 18 year old draft is a crapshoot. I’d certainly like to see them move back to a system where the 18 year old draft is limited to the first round only. You’d see some much better second round drafting if you did that.

      • PrairieStew

        In general yes, but there would be even fewer misses in round 2 if you had another year of develoment for most of the draft. There are specific cases that come to mind. Shea Weber was a second round pick – TJ Brodie a fourth. If you are drafting 19 year olds only after the first round, you would have seen that both of those guys took major steps in their 19 year old year and been drafted higher.