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Looking back on late round draft finds from the past decade

A favourite pastime of mine is looking through old NHL draft lists. Specifically, seeing who became a bonafide NHLer after being selected in the later rounds. It’s an exercise without much point, but it can get pretty fun and/or depressing, depending on how you’re feeling.

I mean, it’s addictive. And it’s about that time of year. And it’s a Sunday in June still about two and a half weeks away from things actually happening. So…

This isn’t an article of condemnation or anything like that. There’s no getting upset that the Flames weren’t able to find an NHLer with each and every single one of their picks, especially in the later rounds. So much of the draft is total luck to begin with; late round finds are exciting, but certainly not the norm.

There is a fun air of, “What if?” to go with it, though.

2007 NHL draft

The Flames had two picks in the final three rounds of the draft: Mickey Renaud in the fifth round (RIP), and C.J. Severyn in the seventh. Notable players selected after them include:

  • Scott Darling (not that he worked out right away; Darling went through years of personal turmoil and growth before reaching the level he’s at now)
  • Patrick Maroon
  • Carl Hagelin
  • Nick Bonino
  • Paul Byron
  • Carl Gunnarsson
  • Paul Postma

The sixth round offered a small crop of decent NHLers, including a couple worth angsting over a little – mostly Byron, but for totally different reasons for Flames fans at this point.

2008 NHL draft

The Flames had two picks in the final three rounds of the draft: Ryley Grantham in the sixth round, and Alexander Deilert in the seventh. Notable players selected after them include:

  • Ben Smith
  • Tommy Wingels
  • I am debating whether or not to put Zac Rinaldo on this list but he has played 275 NHL games so I guess
  • Zach Redmond
  • Jason Demers
  • Matt Bartkowski!!!
  • Anders Lindback

The only “aw, dang” here is Demers, really. Cam Atkinson was selected in the sixth round, before the Flames’ pick – but they didn’t have a fifth that year, and their pick prior to that round was spent on T.J. Brodie, so that one worked out pretty okay.

2009 NHL draft

The Flames had three picks in the final three rounds of the draft: Spencer Bennett in the fifth round, Joni Ortio in the sixth round, and Gaelan Patterson in the seventh. Notable players selected after them include:

  • Marcus Kruger
  • Anders Lee
  • Darcy Kuemper
  • Erik Haula
  • Nic Dowd

Kruger is basically an inferior Mikael Backlund, though Lee would probably be nice to have.

2010 NHL draft

The Flames had two picks in the final three rounds of the draft: Micheal Ferland in the fifth round, and Patrick Holland in the seventh. Notable players selected after them include:

  • Louis Domingue
  • Kenny Agostino!
  • Petr Mrazek
  • Brendan Gallagher
  • Dalton Prout
  • Jesper Fast
  • Mark Stone
  • Frederik Andersen

All of those players were selected in between Ferland and Holland, so if you’re coveting any of them, it means giving up Ferland. For some, that would probably be worth it – Gallagher, Stone, or a starting goalie in particular – but the Flames were definitely a winner in these late rounds by finding Ferland, regardless.

2011 NHL draft

The Flames had one pick in the final three rounds of the draft: Laurent Brossoit in the sixth round. Notable players selected after him include:

  • Daniel Pribyl!
  • Jyrki Jokipakka!!
  • Ryan Dzingel
  • Ondrej Palat
  • Scott Wilson

… Okay, having Palat would be nice. Especially considering Brossoit was part of a trade for Ladislav Smid, which really did not work out.

2012 NHL draft

The Flames had three picks in the final three rounds of the draft: Ryan Culkin in the fifth round, Coda Gordon in the sixth round, and Matt DeBlouw in the seventh. Notable players selected after them include:

  • Connor Hellebuyck
  • Connor Carrick
  • Ben Hutton
  • Connor Brown

Hutton would’ve been a great find, and Brown is looking pretty decent too. Alas.

(Also, there was an Erik Nystrom selected in the sixth round. Not that he’s made it or anything, but that would’ve been a funny pickup.)

Fin.

This brings us to about the point where there either were no real gems to be found in the later rounds, or they’re only just now starting to emerge. For example, the 2014 draft saw both Kevin Labanc and Ondrej Kase chosen in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively, and they’ve only played a little over 50 games each.

There are a couple of really great players that have been found in the later rounds in recent years; missing out on Demers or Gallagher or Stone or Andersen or Palat is a bummer, for example. Then again, only a very small handful of teams have actually found success that late – so while it’s fun to imagine a super team composed of a bunch of these successful really late round picks, fact is, no team has gotten that lucky.

The Flames are in that mix of lucky teams, though, having found Ferland. Hopefully there will be another good find or two still to reveal himself, like Adam Ollas Mattsson, or Andrew Mangiapane, or Eetu Tuulola, or Matt Phillips, or someone else – while the book is still very much out on players like that, at the very least, it’s not yet shut.

  • Eggs Bennett

    The Flames have been pretty successful at late round drafting in the past decade. Consider Gaudreau and Brodie. Then think about anyone of value that the Oilers have picked up beyond the first round in the last decade. Yup… can’t think of any.

  • Gfountyyc

    I think hitting late in the draft is more a function of player development. If we had more consistant coaching staff in the minors we would be much further ahead.