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Photo Credit: Alaney2k/Wikimedia commons

Who will be available at 16th overall?

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 process

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.

The rankings used were from the International Scouting Service (May), Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek (May), TSN’s Bob McKenzie (April), Future Considerations (May) and the Hockey News (May, print-only).

Probably gone

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.

Potentially available

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.

Probably available

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.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      He is in my top 2 a swell . I see Winnipeg taking one of Suzuiki or Tolvanen… Which should leave the other for us. Tolvanen might be another Ehlers so they might pass.

  • DKramer

    Don’t know how popular this opinion is. But what about trading down in the first round to try and recoup at least a 3rd. Unless the player still on the board at 16 is too good to pass up on.

  • Parallex

    I just really want Timothy Liljegren to be there at 16.

    Given that there’s a slim chance of that I’d want Tolvanen/Suzuki/Foote… probably in that order.

  • Puckhead

    Not to sound like Burke but if a bigger player with some edge and skill is available at 16 that’s what I would like to see. I think we have enough smaller skilled players in the pipeline.

    • SmellOfVictory

      The only guy who’s small enough to cause concern for me is Yamamoto. Not that I’d be sad if the Flames took him, but he’s in that range where his size does present a real risk (and if the team already has JG, and quite possibly Mangiapagne, etc. on it, it really could be too small at some point).

      • Baalzamon

        Mangiapane is 5’10” and over 180 pounds. He’s hardly “small”. Below average (for a hockey player) certainly, but not small. He’s already bigger than both Cammalleri and Marchand, for example.

  • Newbietwo

    Suzuki,Hague,Foote,Branstrom, Popaguenav,

    I might even take Haque before Suzuki and as much as I really like Footes game I’m just not sure of his ceiling

  • freethe flames

    I would not be surprised if we end up not even having a first rounder. If BT can acquire a guy who can be our starting goalie or a higher end RW before the expansion draft I could see the pick being in play as part of some package. I could also see swapping down for a lower pick to get one of the goalies we could use and then using the pick to flip to fill another hole. An example prior to expansion might look like this; swap firsts with the Rangers and we get Raanta and they get a higher pick and possibly a prospect. Then we use that pick to get someone like Nino or a Josh Anderson and that teams 2nd or third rounder. Something like that might need to include another prospect; but I’m probably just wishful thinking. The expansion draft does lead to some interesting thinking outside of the box.

      • freethe flames

        I’m not sure I was trying to say that Anderson and Niederreiter are equal but I’m drawing a comparison as to what we might be able to get. Anderson is a RH RW who is younger, bigger and seems to be trending the right way and may be a very good fit in our top at a low price and we might get a few later picks with it. Niedo is by far the more polished player at the moment but I’m not sure you would get some of the extra picks if you get him.

        • everton fc

          I like Josh Anderson, and think he’d be a good fit here. However, he’s not going to be a first line forward. He’s not an upgrade to Ferland. If Anderson cane here, I’d like a third line of Versteeg/Bennett/Anderson. However, I have this feeling Bennett may end up on LW if Jankowski is indeed “ready”. And I have this feeling Jankowski is “ready”. So – no need for Anderson, if we re-sign Versteeg.

          The ideal scenario is getting Niederreiter. However, the Rangers have a lot of quality forwards they won’t be able to protect. I’ll assume they protect Zuccarello, Miller, Stepan, Kreider (or will they move his salary?) and one of Hayes or Zibanejad. That leaves Graber, one of Hayes or Zibanejad, and Fast unprotected (unless there are guys like Nash who can’t be exposed – then it’s worse for NYR). Can you imagine a line of Bennett/Zibanejad/Vesteeg, or Versteeg/Bennett/Zibanejad?? Zibanejad is a big guy.

          But we still have to unload Brouwer. We’d have to use the first for that move, I think. Just spit-balling here… I’d move Gillies for Raanta and go w/Rittich or Johnson as the backup. Can you imagine if we could get Raanta and either Hayes or Zibanejad from NYR, and flip Brouwer somewhere??

          As for our #16… If we keep it, I like Hague, Ratcliffe (you could probably trade down for him, though), Suzuki, Lind (you could probably trade down for him, too), and believe it or not, Comtois, who I think will fall deeper into the first. He’s good at both ends of the ice. Can skate…

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      @ freethe flames There is another interesting scenario involving the Flames and Rangers. The Rangers are looking to add Shattenkirk… but have to dump salary to make it work, the name most mentioned is either a trade or buy out of D-man Dan Girardi (33- RD-RHS – $5,500,000/for another 3 years(2019-20) M-NTCNMC = 15 teams NT List). What would NYR Be willing to give up(Raanta? J.T. Miller? Hayes?) in order to fit Shattenkirk in NYR and get rid of Dan Girardi and his Huge cap hit? Could Calgary Get him(and one of the above) and then Flip him back out east? What is Mika Zibanejad going to cost NYR to re-sign this year? Zibanejad(24 6’2 -C/RW-RHS ) the past 2 years has put up similar #s comparable Niederreiter(24-6’2- RW-LHS ) & Silfverberg(26 -6’2 – LW/RW-RHS) to Would you be willing to put a package together looking something like this… *Dan Girardi – Antti Raanta – Mika Zibanejad* to Calgary for *(Cap Relief/Space to sign Shattenkirk) Bouma – Rittich (or Gillies) – B prospect – 2nd round 2018? (or 1rd 2017?)* Totally Armchair GMing? But could there be legs to a situation like this developing? How Desperate is NYR To make room and keep Shattenkirk and Dump Girardi? Could fill Flames #1 RW & Goal situation in one move.

      • freethe flames

        I’m not sure the Flames want to get stuck with Girardi’s contract for the new 3 years, we just got out from under Wides, Smids and Engs. Would our first and a prospect get us Raanta and Zibanejad(Hayes)? Again I would be prepared to not have a 1st if we can somehow improve the team with young guys. Not having a pick in the first 3 rounds is scary but if we added 2 guys who made a difference and could be signed longer term I would be okay with that. Part of the reason is that I believe that we have a number of guys who will be good down the road; Mangiapne, Dube, Phillips, and Ettuu all excite me upfront as does the defensive core of young kids.

        • ThisBigMouthIsRight

          Totally Agree, Unfortunately, I think the NYR’s greater need right now is to move out Girardi before any other moves can be made, I’m Doubtful that the flames first (and prospect)would get it done as the Rangers are not hard pressed to lose these guys immediately. The ONLY way I think it would be a win with taking Girardi would be if they had a flip to somewhere else right away, it might even cost a prospect or pick to ditch him. The Flames don’t need another older cap anchor to have to deal with. I originally didn’t even think about Zibanejad until I saw he is a RFA, so I added him in the mix (as he will be looking for good cap and term more so than Hayes & Miller have right now) which could also benefit the NYR’s plans for Shattenkirk and thus making Zibanejad actually plausible? I’m not 100% sold on Hayes as a real #1 RW and the Flames don’t need to make any sideways moves with the number of good potential guys on the farm to come up, the Flames real need is for a Legitimate #1 RW guy, not just a hope and pray it works out. Whomever they get Has to be heads & shoulders Above Ferland or it doesn’t make any sense. Thanks for the conversation. can’t wait to see how this off-season goes across the whole league.

          • freethe flames

            Two points an which we disagree; one I think the Rangers and a few other teams want to mitigate their losses. It seems to me likely that they will lose one of either Raanta or Hayes/Zibanejad depending on whom they protect. If they could add an asset that is not exposed at the draft I think they do it. The second point is the one that the fwd has to be head a shoulders above Ferland; for me he has to be heads and shoulders above Lazar(whose only a little younger than the two mentioned here) or a better option than Versteeg. It’s frequently said that a team should draft best player available and sign/trade for need. The Flames need a goalie and need an upgrade in the top 9 especially a RW.

  • Baalzamon

    Can anyone explain to me why Elias Pettersson is so universally underrated? This is an 18 year old who just posted a 0.95 PPG scoring rate in the Allsvenskan (better than the 0.87 Filip Forsberg managed at the same age in his draft +1 season), he’s a center with a solid frame, great tools etc.

    I don’t know, it just seems like, if this draft is as bad as everyone seems to think it is, a player that good should probably go top 5 no? At the latest?

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am sure my preference will change but right now I am leaning towards Suzuiki. It would be a mistake to pass over this guy in favor of a bigger, skilled, and truculent player. I can see the flames getting sucked in on a guy like Rasmussen. The players the size Crosby 5’11” with thickness are just as difficult to play against than 6’4″ Getzlaf types provided they have grit.

    I am excited about the draft since I am sure one of Suzuiki, Tolvanen, Andersson, Kostin, Llindgren, Foote, or Necas will be available.

  • Denscafon

    I might get down voted for this but I would like the flames to trade down picks with NYR (16 to 21) and give them a 2018 2nd rounder and maybe a goalie prospect (not gillies/parsons) for Raanta

    • freethe flames

      Remember that Bishop only cost a 4th rounder and Darling only a 3rd rounder. In my mind just dropping 5 spots might be able to get the job done. Maybe a prospect like McDonald/Schnieder. Some sort of package deal could land us a goalie and possibly a top 9 forward.

        • freethe flames

          I know that but I suspect they had already talked with the agents and new they had a deal nearly in place. (how quickly they signed suggests this) I would not be willing to move or first rounder strictly for a unproven starter like Raanta (who I like and suggested we should have pursued last off season) but I would include it as a part of a deal that addressed our need in net and in the Top 9 forward ranks. Both of which we could protect. Right now it looks like we will protect Lazar but I think there are guys who are available out there b/c of the expansion draft that are significant upgrades.

  • freethe flames

    I really wonder how Vegas will deal with the expansion draft. After playing with the capfriendly draft they could definitely have a sound team. But they also have to build for the future as well. I think he might want to turn the 30 picks into 40 assets. 25 players, 3-5 guys who are nearly NHL ready but waiver eligible, 3-5 guys who are NHL prospects in two years, the add some extra draft picks for each of the next 2 years. In order to do so he could draft some extra goalies and some extra depth at D. It’s going to get interesting.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    #16 could be the price to erase the Brouwer mistake, though I maintain that Tre has a much higher opinion of Troy than the fans do, so Troy ain’t goin’ nowhere in 2017-18.

    • supra steve

      Flames can easily eat that contract for 2017-18, no need to take that loss of their first rounder kick in the nuts at this time. If he’s crap again this season, then they might want to consider shaking his contract next summer.

      • freethe flames

        Indeed I agree as I would not use the 16 to unload Brouwer. While a team does not want a $4m+ player sitting the pressbox for the entire season they did sit a $5m+ player in the box for a fair bit after the trade deadline. If Brouwer has not turned his game around he can always be sent down to be a mentor for the Heat and maybe someone claims him off waivers. (Saves 1m if nothing else). As I said earlier I’m prepared to live w/o a first rounder if the deal is right and improves the team with younger players.

  • Garry T

    NYR. Rangers need to get rid of Giardi … We give them a 6 in 2019.
    For taking on the contract which we could live with, we want Zibanejad. To enhance the deal a little more we swap 16 for 21 and take Hayes as an offset for doing so or, we do our homework and ask for a solid RW prospect and or a solid future D to do that deal. It’s a good hockey deal that helps both teams. There are all kinds of goaltenders out there. There is no way I am including our number one unless I am doing a deal with Minny
    Whereby we swap picks with Minny, get Nino and give them Ferland along with the number 1. I am really reluctant to give up that pick almost under any circumstances. I might even say we will send you Bennett instead of Ferland but I prefer keeping Bennett. Put some more muscle on him and we will regret sending him away. In closing Giardi does give us a top 4 and we have kids to make 5 and 6. With Z and Nino and maybe Hayes we could have one hell of a forward group. We can then call Vegas and tell them we have some guys and all we want are picks to help them round out their actual squad. Is all of this hoping for toooooo much?