32Curtis Lazar Profile
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames in a different position this year: Short on picks

The Flames have fewer assets this year than they’re used to.

To be a little more specific: they have fewer draft picks. So, for example, when the Carolina Hurricanes traded a third round pick for Scott Darling in an effort to solve their goaltending woes? That’s a price the Flames couldn’t match: because they don’t have a third round pick this year. And so goes perhaps the best free agent goalie option this offseason.

In 2015, the Flames had nine picks with which to work. They only selected five players, but used their excess picks in order to acquire Dougie Hamilton and trade up for Oliver Kylington; in other words, use them for worthy means. In 2016, the Flames had 10 picks to work with, and used all but one of them on prospects, trading their own second round selection for Brian Elliott.

As things stand right now, they have… five picks. This is the first year in a while they didn’t sell at the trade deadline, instead choosing to buy two players: one for the season (Michael Stone), and one for the future (Curtis Lazar) (with the caveat that Stone could be for the future, as well). This, however, leaves them with just one pick in the top 100, which is probably not ideal.

What’s to be done?

Trade down

Remember how the Flames got Mark Jankowski? Of course you do, Jay Feaster’s words have ensured it lives with us always.

For the uninitiated: in 2012, before the Flames had solidly committed to a rebuild, they had the 14th overall pick. They traded it to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st overall pick (Jankowski) and 42nd overall (Patrick Sieloff), recouping a second round pick they otherwise wouldn’t have had that draft. Sieloff turned into Alex Chiasson, while Jankowski is Jankowski, so it probably worked out okay.

This year, the Flames are looking at the 16th or 17th overall pick, depending on whether the Nashville Predators beat the St. Louis Blues or not. (Conference finalists get the last four picks of the draft.) They’re in that mid-pack where the draft gets much more crapshoot-y than it is at the top picks, so it’s possible they’re able to trade down and get an extra pick or two, and still get the guy they want in the first round.

Trade up

When the Flames drafted Kylington in 2015, it was by virtue of trading up. Going into the draft, Calgary had two third round picks – their own, plus Washington’s from the Curtis Glencross trade – and gave them both to the Arizona Coyotes for the 60th overall pick, which they used to take Kylington.

As things stand right now, the Flames could, say, combine their fourth and fifth round picks for a third rounder, should they feel a need to. Or how about a fourth and a gently used, I don’t know, Keegan Kanzig? The Flames don’t really have quite the assets right now to trade up, but a little creativity can go a long way. (Something else that can go a long way: re-signing the general manager who has set your franchise up well for the future through a number of shrewd moves, probably.)

Status quo

The Flames could always just stick with their first round pick and wait patiently for the fourth round, too.

That would be disastrous if this was a rebuilding team – but at this stage, they shouldn’t be anymore. They’re a team getting ready to start contending. Having picks is better than not having picks, but this is a team that has already worked to build through the draft and is looking to reap the fruits of its labour instead of planting more seeds.

Trading their second round pick is defensible on the merits that Lazar is 22 years old and fits into this team’s age group. Trading their third rounder is less defensible in that Stone wasn’t the solution for the team’s fourth defenceman, but at least he isn’t super old or anything. One pick in the top 100 isn’t ideal – but those two picks could have been used in much worse ways.

Next year

The Flames aren’t necessarily looking at a forfeiture of assets from just this season. If they re-sign Elliott, they give up their 2018 third round pick. (Hey, a third is what Darling’s rights went for!) If they re-sign Stone, they give up their 2018 fifth round pick. (Hey, a fifth is what Dennis Wideman’s rights cost! And Kris Russell! … Is this like, a warning, then?) They do have an extra fourth next season courtesy of trading Jiri Hudler, but that’s about it: the Flames could be looking at having anywhere from six to eight picks in 2018 based on what we know right now.

But there’s still plenty of time to build up more picks and assets for 2017 – let alone what next season will look like.

  • loudogYYC

    Can anyone confirm the specifics of the conditional picks in both the Elliott and Stone trades? I was under the impression that the condition was an additional pick is given up if the player is re-signed before July 1, meaning it’s null and void if the Flames wait until after. Is this correct?

  • Kevin R

    Anyone know WTF Treliving hasn’t been resigned yet???? With the amount of record June deals about to be made in the NHL, this is not a time to not have a GM or some interim like Burke. FFS!!!!

  • everton fc

    Never forget picking up prospects can help when picks don’t exist. Duclair in Arizona, A.J. Greer in the Avs system, and Nicklas Jensen in Hartford (NYR property/24 year old UFA) would be examples – does he have more to offer potentially – like Lazar – than a 2nd round pick this summer? To me, this is how the void is filled. Also, moving a guy like Bouma for a third might be worth a punt. I’d rather see us move a higher-end prospect for someone like Landeskog for a prospect the level of Gillies, or one of the d-men (same age as Hathaway – I’d love to see a line of Landeskog-Bennett-Versteeg! – his cap hit is affordable, IF we stick w/a cheaper goalie, a cheaper 5/6 pairing on defence, and build our 4th line around Jankowski, Chiasson, and one of Hathaway, Lomberg, Kilmchuk Freddie H – or a d-man line Brendan Smith, or trade for a d-man like Gudas w/the Flyers)… I think we have a better chance taking a chance on a guy like Landeskog, versus the draft.

    Just thinking out loud here…

    • Cheeky

      What would your proposal for Landeskog be? Only players Avs would remotely consider are Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Bennett, Hamilton or Brodie. Sorry but Gillies and a bunch of throw ins isnt gonna get it done. Flip the proposal around, would you do it? Also Bouma for a 3rd….we’d be lucky to get a 5th.

      • KenBone18

        The problem is Landeskog is a LW – wingers are the least valuable asset (d men / centres are worth more). I don’t think Landeskog would be a bad addition, but he wouldn’t help the team a much. I’d rather add centre depth.

      • Stan

        You’re kidding right? Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Hamilton and Brodie all have WAY more value then Landeskog. And it’s not really close. As far as Bennett goes, they aren’t trading him. But if they did it would be more or less straight across for Landeskog (maybe with a pick thrown in).

        The reported asking price for Landeskog prior to the TDL was a young NHL player and a pick/prospect (depending on quality). I therefore think a potential trade would look something like Landeskog for Jankowski/Kulak + 2017 1st + Hickey/Gillies.

  • Jobu

    Something tells me that some of our AHLers may move in trades this year. Having both Anderssen, Kylington, Hickey, and Fox on the D is overcrowding given our top 3 are here long term. I bet one could be exchanged for a pretty penny or a pick if our guy is still available.

    • Hat

      I wouldn’t mind moving Hickey. I really like him and think he has a lot of raw potential; However, I prefer Andersson, Kyllington and Fox’s high end is way too good to trade. I think Hickey is still a tantalizing enough prospect to be worth a lot to some teams without overly thinning our cupboards.

      Of course, we would need to actually sign him first!

    • deantheraven

      Most probable, IMHO. Sign & trade Wotherspoon & Hickey and maybe another RFA. Plus they could make a deal with Klimchuk, Shinkaruk, and/or others for picks to hoard this and next draft. This year the draft is thin so better to go for prospects than picks, although you can never have too many picks for sure.

    • L13

      Especially given that Hickey is going back to BU for his senior year, I wouldn’t be surprised if his rights were dealt. Can’t see Andersson, Kylington or Fox being moved for picks, though, or in anything other than a too-good-to-believe trade that fell into the Flames’ lap. Fox is probably the most exciting prospect in the organisation right now and the front office seems really invested in Andersson and Kylington’s development.

  • Hat

    Ari; An article on Vegas’ options would be interesting. In McPhee’s shoes (hometown loyalty aside) I do everything in my power to convince Versteeg to sign in Vegas during the 48 hour FA window before the expansion draft and take him as my Flame. Kulak would be my next choice, though Stajan is appealing if meeting minimum salary is a concern.

    Perhaps look at everything in play? I have yet to see an article actually look at Vegas’ option to poach FA’s. This would make for extremely interesting content; Especially as trading FA rights may be more volatile and early this year.

    • jakethesnail

      I agree. McPhee has been talking to NHL GMs as to what player(s) they don’t want to lose in the expansion draft and looking for possible deals that would see McPhee chose another player.