Why the Flames probably won’t move more picks or prospects at the deadline

The trade deadline is almost upon us and with that comes the usual speculation about what assets the Calgary Flames may move before the clock strikes 1 p.m. MT on March 1.

They already made some moves involving futures when they acquired Michael Stone. But for a few key reasons, I really doubt that the Flames will be shipping out any top prospects or more of their draft picks in an effort to get into the playoffs this year.

The cupboards aren’t full (yet)

Let’s give credit where it’s due: the Flames improved drafting a lot under Jay Feaster, actually producing some NHL players. When Brad Treliving arrived in Calgary in the spring of 2014, he made some tweaks to scouting. Since his arrival, he’s drastically overhauled the team’s reserve list.

Two main things about the team’s reserve list, when it comes to promising young players, give me pause about the Flames trading away picks or prospects. The first is the fact that Sean Monahan (2013), Sam Bennett (2014) and Matthew Tkachuk (2016) went directly to the NHL after being drafted, which is great but also impacts the organization’s talent levels outside of the NHL roster. While the top prospects from other organizations have spent some time simmering before joining their NHL clubs, the Flames have had their top guns go straight to the show.

The second thing is connected and this question is probably the easiest way to explain it: Where do the Flames have enough prospect depth that they can afford to trade away picks or prospects? So which players do the Flames have positionally that people are excited about?

  • In goal: Tyler Parsons, David Rittich and Jon Gillies
  • On defense: Brandon Hickey, Adam Fox, Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson
  • Up front: Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips, Mark Jankowski, Morgan Klimchuk and Andrew Mangiapane

Aside from perhaps in goal, where the Flames have two guys who have been fairly decent (if inconsistent) pros, it really doesn’t seem like the Flames have a critical mass of talent at any position that would allow them to ship bodies out or give up a chance at accumulating more talent.

The 2017 draft isn’t great

While this year’s draft undoubtedly will produce some players that will do some cool things at the NHL level, the overall consensus heading into this year’s cattle call isn’t great.

Let’s look at the three Treliving drafts: The 2014 draft produced Bennett, who’s an NHLer, and Hickey, who’ll probably be pro next season. The 2015 draft got the Flames the likes of Andersson, Kylington and Mangiapane, who are all pros but haven’t really gotten into the NHL yet. The 2016 draft looks decent so far thanks to Tkachuk, Parsons, Dube, Fox, Phillips and maybe Eetu Tuulola, but it’s still one NHLer and a bunch of question marks at this point.

My point is this: the organizational depth has definitely improved, but the last three Flames drafts under Treliving have produced two NHLers and the six drafts since 2011 have produced four NHLers. Even in a weak draft year, the Flames don’t yet have an abundance of prospect riches that allows them to throw chances to get more depth away. If nothing else, they might want more picks to compensate for the lack of high-end talent in this year’s pool.

In other words…

Teams get to the postseason for a single season by selling off assets to load up for a stretch drive. Teams become perennial playoff teams by drafting and developing assets and building a team that doesn’t really need loading up – or that has enough depth that they can afford to move youngsters to shore up weak spots. Either way you wish to see it, the Flames haven’t amassed the prospect depth yet to justify sending prospects or more of their picks at the door this spring.

  • everton fc

    I’d move the first and a prospect or two for Landeskog. Decent cap hit, would be a good LW for Bennett…

    I’d be kicking tires on Landeskog big time.

  • everton fc

    I’d move the first and a prospect or two for Landeskog. Decent cap hit, would be a good LW for Bennett…

    I’d be kicking tires on Landeskog big time. And if Grigorenko could be “had” cheap, I’d take a look at him, as well. Anotehr guy I like – different team, but young – is Anthony Duclair. Build w/young guys. Heck, I’d grab Yakupov for a 5th/6th round pick.

  • everton fc

    I’d move the first and a prospect or two for Landeskog. Decent cap hit, would be a good LW for Bennett…

    I’d be kicking tires on Landeskog big time. And if Grigorenko could be “had” cheap, I’d take a look at him, as well. Anotehr guy I like – different team, but young – is Anthony Duclair. Build w/young guys. Heck, I’d grab Yakupov for a 5th/6th round pick.

  • everton fc

    I’d move the first and a prospect or two for Landeskog. Decent cap hit, would be a good LW for Bennett…

    I’d be kicking tires on Landeskog big time. And if Grigorenko could be “had” cheap, I’d take a look at him, as well. Anotehr guy I like – different team, but young – is Anthony Duclair. Build w/young guys. Heck, I’d grab Yakupov for a 5th/6th round pick.

  • everton fc

    I’d move the first and a prospect or two for Landeskog. Decent cap hit, would be a good LW for Bennett…

    I’d be kicking tires on Landeskog big time. And if Grigorenko could be “had” cheap, I’d take a look at him, as well. Anotehr guy I like – different team, but young – is Anthony Duclair. Build w/young guys. Heck, I’d grab Yakupov for a 5th/6th round pick.

  • smith

    Is the drafting better? The only year in the Feaster times that looks good is the first year of the three.

    Would love to see comparisons year by year and see if there actually has been drafting improvements.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      “Calgary Flames GM Feaster drafted well, but often lost at the trade table, Ex-Flames GM Jay Feaster did a good job rebuilding a derelict development system in Calgary. But he was slow in acknowledging the team needed a rebuild and he was often fleeced when it came to trades”.
      By: Brian Costello, Dec 12, 2013 (The Hockey News)….
      Here Are Feasters Picks from 2011-2013. Pretty Decent Actually.
      2011~ Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Tyler Wotherspoon, Johnny Gaudreau, Laurent Brossoit…..
      2012~ Mark Jankowski, Patrick Sieloff, Jon Gillies, Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, Coda Gordon, Matt DeBlouw…..
      2013~ Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, Morgan Klimchuk, Keegan Kanzig, Eric Roy, Tim Harrison, Rushan Rafikov, John Gilmour…..

        • ThisBigMouthIsRight

          Hey Derzie, I found a couple articles on the subject as I am no expert on Draft pick % to NHL player. I hope these are helpful? I guess to further examine good or bad drafting you could compare to this article about percentages.
          “By Jamie Fitzpatrick (NHL Expert @ AboutSports)”…..
          To properly evaluate a draft, you need a few year’s distance from it. So let’s look at the 1990s.
          To define whether a player “makes it,” let’s set the threshold at 200 NHL games. We’ll call them “career players.”….
          Between 1990 and 1999, there were 2,600 names called at the NHL Entry Draft.
          As of 2007, 494 of those players have appeared in at least 200 NHL games. That’s a success rate of 19 percent…..
          But of course, not all draft picks are created equal. The guys picked in the first round are a cut above the rest: Success rate of first-round draft picks Of the 494 career players drafted in the 1990s, 160 were selected in the first round. Of those 160 career players, over half have played more than 500 NHL games…..
          Or Travis Yost did a Nice Article about this subject : Playing the percentages in the NHL Draft(Feb 12, 2015) ~ http://www.tsn.ca/playing-the-percentages-in-the-nhl-draft-1.206144

        • ThisBigMouthIsRight

          Hey Derzie, I found a couple articles about the subject… I’m no expert but hopefully these will assist anyone whom is interested.
          I guess to further examine good or bad drafting you could compare to this article about percentages. By Jamie Fitzpatrick (NHL Expert @ AboutSports)…..
          To properly evaluate a draft, you need a few year’s distance from it. So let’s look at the 1990s.
          To define whether a player “makes it,” let’s set the threshold at 200 NHL games. We’ll call them “career players.”….
          Between 1990 and 1999, there were 2,600 names called at the NHL Entry Draft.
          As of 2007, 494 of those players have appeared in at least 200 NHL games. That’s a success rate of 19 percent…..
          But of course, not all draft picks are created equal. The guys picked in the first round are a cut above the rest: Success rate of first-round draft picks Of the 494 career players drafted in the 1990s, 160 were selected in the first round. Of those 160 career players, over half have played more than 500 NHL games…..

    • Greg

      We’ve certainly had more prospects that got us excited, but most have flamed out. Poirier, shinkurak, agostino, klimchuk, etc. Gilles looked like the second coming two years ago, now looks like a 50/50 bet. Two years ago Anderson, kylington, and hickey looked like sure bets to be 3/4 of our future top 4… now, they still look good but haven’t progressed to a point where you could bank on anything. Parsons, Fox, and Dube are the prospects I’m currently most excited about, but I’m learning not to hold my breath.

      It’s enough to make you think maybe WW is right about Huska, and any time you think WW might be right, well, god help us all.

  • Parallex

    See… other then the 1st round pick I’m willing to trade another pick to make a push this year.

    Then try to move out the surplus bodies created by the trades and get a (albeit lower) pick back, use those on the guys with home-run potential that landed deep on the draft charts for whatever reason (Gaudreau & Falkovsky being modern examples).

    • Backburner

      I would be ok with that too.

      Our mid 1st round pick in a bad draft.

      Andersson could be moved with Fox playing well.

      And throw in another prospect.

      The only untouchables in my opinion are Parsons, Gillies, and Fox.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    @ Derzie…. You can ask Brian Costello(The Hockey News)He wrote the article. But Five in and I’d guess there is a very good chance for Mark Jankowski, Tyler Wotherspoon, Jon Gillies, Brett Kulak and Morgan Klimchuk to make the jump if given a real chance in the future… Not incredibly bad really. Heck even Emile Poirier, Patrick Sieloff and Keegan Kanzig might have a 20% chance of being late bloomers? You never know? But that is the Draft in a nutshell isn’t it.

  • Zalapski

    This all comes to down to player development.
    I said it in an earlier post today. The Great WW has been harping on Huska since the flames hired him. Has he been wrong? Every player he has had under his tutelage has regressed. Wotherspoon looked good before he hurt his shoulder in back in 2013 and has gone nowhere since then. Poirier was gangbusters and just started to fizzle and now is a doubt to even crack the NHL. Shinkaruk produced in the AHL for Utica. You don’t see anyone taking a step forward. They just kind of stagnate. The less time players spend on the Flames AHL teams the better they pan out.

    Tkachuk 0
    Bennett 0
    Monahan 0
    Gaudreau 0

    vs

    Ferland 55
    Backlund 54
    Brodie 115
    Bouma 95
    Hathaway 146

    Has the org ever birthed a dynamic regular other than maybe TJ Brodie? He’s also from a different regime. I know this is kind of a straw man argument on my end and that most players that are good spend less time developing, but as far as finding regular NHLers within the system the flames are lacking.

  • Zalapski

    Games Played in The AHL:

    Ferland 55
    Backlund 54
    Brodie 115
    Bouma 95
    Hathaway 146

    Johnny 0
    Tkachuck 0
    Monahan 0
    Bennett 0

    1 dynamic player on the roster has played a full season + in the A. I know you can’t develop super stars if the skills aren’t there, but bottom 6 players and one above average defenseman isn’t the best track record.

    • Greg

      I think Backlund has progressed beyond a bottom 6 player on all but the absolute best teams, but I agree with your point. And correct me if I’m wrong, but backlund and Brodie both predate Huska?

      • Zalapski

        Sorry, I feel like understated how good Backlund is. He is honesty great. What I’m saying is even before Huska, there has been an issue with developing top 6 Nhlers. What I mean is how many players on the Flames roster were “grown” in the system. I’m talking 2 seasons of 60+ games. When was the last time a 22/23/24year old stepped in after lighting up the AHL. Anybody remember Drew Shore? As soon as he was with the flames he regressed. He was a rightth handed 6’3 and the exact type of player the flames were hurting for on the wing. Guys like him need to find there way onto the roster. We need more legit Top 9 grads.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If the Flames bungle this roadie, they would be stupid not to sell some or all of their expiring contracts, notably Versteeg. If Stone is good for a 3rd, Versteeg is worth at least a second. (How about trade Versteeg to the Oilers for a second? That would be like your buddy marrying the gal that you knocked up.) Johnson and/or Moose should be worth a draft pick or two. Moving the newly acquired Stone should also be an option if the team decides to sell later this month and he doesn’t appear to be in the LT plan.

    Can’t imagine any of the farmhands would attract any interest before the TDL.

  • KobasewYa

    This is what is so concerning about the Flames in my opinion. There’s still serious holes on the NHL team and it’s going to be so tough to fill them.

    1) There’s really no noticeable assets at the NHL level that are getting traded. Versteeg is the only one that could get you a wortwhile return but you’d have to think with the lack of Flames depth up front that they’d like to A) keep him for a possible playoff run and B) could use him for next season. Besides that, there’s really nothing.

    2) Like the article states, there’s just simply not enough prospects in the system right now to bundle a few of them together for a trade.

    3) That Brouwer contract is really going to hurt this offseason when that 4 million plus could come in so handy.

  • Franko J

    “My point is this: the organizational depth has definitely improved, but the last three Flames drafts under Treliving have produced two NHLers and the six drafts since 2011 have produced four NHLers. Even in a weak draft year, the Flames don’t yet have an abundance of prospect riches that allows them to throw chances to get more depth away. If nothing else, they might want more picks to compensate for the lack of high-end talent in this year’s pool.”

    My thoughts exactly. More picks the better.

    The Flames have several holes still in their lineup and the prospects they have in the system are not even close to contributing for the next year or two.

    However I do think it is time the Flames should try and move Wotherspoon, Porier, Hunter Smith, Kanzig and Macdonald.
    They are at best career AHLers

  • freethe flames

    I will give you 2 reasons why we need to find an upgrade up front: Brouwer and Versteeg. These guys are playing on our top power play unit and are aweful.