The 2017 National Hockey League Draft is happening in just under a month. The Calgary Flames draft 16th overall – and then not again until the fourth round – so the club’s first round selection looks to be really important to get right. The big challenge with the 2017 draft class appears to be this: after the top handful of players, draft rankings released by agencies and publications vary considerably: possibly an indication that’s happening with the 31 NHL clubs, too.
But a quick review of some recently released draft rankings might shed some light on who could be available when Brad Treliving steps to the podium to make his selection.
The evaluation process used is rather simple. Looking at five recent major draft rankings, we looked at which players were ranked 1 to 15. Simply put: if a player is ranked 1 to 15, the reasonable expectation is they’ll be gone when the Flames pick at 16th overall. We tallied up how often a player is ranked in the top half of the draft and used that as a basic metric of how likely it is that a player will be on the board when the Flames select.
Nine players were ranked between 1 and 15 on every single draft ranking and should be expected to be unavailable when the Flames select. Those players are: Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, Gabriel Vilardi, Miro Heiskanen, Owen Tippett, Casey Mittelstadt, Cale Makar, Cody Glass and Martin Necas.
Two more players were ranked between 1 and 15 on four of five draft rankings, indicating a small likelihood that they slip to the Flames at 16th. Those two players are Elias Pettersson and Timothy Liljegren. That makes 11 players total that it’s probably not worth spending too much time reading about because it seems unlikely that the Flames will have to mull over selecting them.
From here, it gets muddy.
Five players were ranked 1 to 15 on three of the five rankings surveyed. That means that there’s a pretty good chance that (at least) one of these players will be available when the Flames select at 16th overall. Those players are Michael Rasmussen, Klim Kostin, Eeli Tolvanen, Lias Andersson and Juuso Valimaki.
Nick Suzuki was ranked 1 to 15 on two of the five rankings surveyed, meaning there’s a pretty decent chance that he’s still on the board when the Flames pick.
Five more players were only ranked 1 to 15 on one of the five rankings we looked at, meaning that there’s a really good chance that all of them could be available when the Flames pick. Those players are Kristian Vesalainen, Cal Foote, Ryan Poehling, Kailer Yamamoto and Erik Brannstrom.
Aside from the players we’ve mentioned already, it’s likely that everybody else will be still on the board when the Flames pick. That includes highly-touted OHLers like Nicolas Hague and Isaac Ratcliffe, QMJHL standout Maxime Comtois and Kelowna Rockets star Kole Lind.
We’ll be digging into the handful of players that we think best fit the Flames need at 16th overall as we approach the draft, particularly the ones most likely to be available.