As explained previously, the Flames have just a few picks and the majority of them come in the back end of the draft.
So, today we’re looking at potential defenders the Flames might be interested in come Saturday.
|6’0″||185 lbs||L||Sept. 12, 1999||Everett Silvertips (WHL)||72-6-13-19||5.84|
Buried on the defensively-minded Silvertips, Jake Christiansen is an intriguing prospect for a late round selection.
Despite numbers that are at first unappealing, you’ll be happy to know that Christiansen scored at a first pairing rate for primary points despite being tasked with second pairing minutes, according to prospect-stats. All but one of his points was primary, and all but four were 5v5 primary points. He’s smart with decent skating ability, and could potentially be a diamond in the rough pick this year.
Christiansen isn’t ranked by any of the scouting services this year, so odds are he’ll be available in the seventh round.
|5’11”||185 lbs||R||Oct. 21, 1998||Owen Sound Attack (OHL)||60-2-36-38||16.62|
If the Flames have been scouting Nick Suzuki a lot, they’ve probably seen a lot of Sean Durzi. Although a second pairing guy, Durzi has put up production similar to first pairing players, and stands to become a key member of the Attack next year.
Although small in stature, he is quite the fine skater and has impressive skills from the blueline. He received a lot of attention last year for scoring 10 goals, fourth among OHL rookies. Although a lot of criticism is put his way for not being able to repeat that feat, his offensive game has grown in other ways. Instead of purely shooting, Durzi looks for the pass instead now, often with pinpoint accuracy.
Although he doesn’t get much recognition from scouting services, it’s possible that he goes in the fifth round, where Central Scouting projects him to go. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest that he’ll be available in the sixth round.
|5’11”||170 lbs||R||July 15, 1998||Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)||66-10-54-64||19.88|
The Flames haven’t gone to the QMJHL since 2014, and they rarely draft overagers under Treliving, but Gregoire could potentially be one to change their mind.
After being buried on a deep Phoenix squad during his draft year, Gregoire has taken the helm and led the entire team in scoring and finished fourth among the entire Q. Of course, he is playing in the points-heavy QMJHL, but it is extremely hard to deny what he’s been able to accomplish this year. You don’t lead you entire team in scoring by accident.
Because he’s a bit undersized and because he’s an overager, Gregoire is flying under everyone’s radar. The Flames could easily grab him with a seventh round pick, but the possibility of him remaining undrafted and signing an ELC before the season starts remains highly likely.
|6’1″||201 lbs||R||Nov. 19, 1998||Kootenay Ice (WHL)||70-11-27-38||12.01|
Heading into the season as Kootenay’s de facto number one defenceman, Fleury was tasked with keeping the league’s worst team afloat.
To his credit, he did exceptionally well. He finished fourth in overall scoring, and ahead of the next closest defenceman by 15 points. While he did indeed struggle as the number one, something he has been criticized for, he still made major strides in his game. He excels at passing and thinking the game, albeit with the occasional mistake.
Fleury is still a very promising player that could thrive in the proper environment. If he slips to the fourth round, I can’t see the Flames skipping over him.
|6’1″||194 lbs||R||June 6, 1999||North Bay Battalion (OHL)||58-4-21-25||11.31|
Lyle has been a reliable two-way player for North Bay during his career. Despite being on the second pairing and picking up some injuries this year, he finished second in defensive PPG on his club.
The RHD’s biggest skill is his mobile game. He is fast enough and agile enough to both support and defend the breakout. Lyle is also a smart defender, earning praise from scouts for his defensive awareness (and especially the trust of his coach, Stan Butler, a rigorous defensive-minded guy). He may not be the flashiest of players, but he is perhaps one of the more solid, all-around guys in the OHL.
Lyle could go anywhere from the mid second round to the late fourth, based on scouting rankings. If he should fall to the Flames, he seems like a good contender to be scooped up.
|6’1″||174 lbs||L||May 8, 1999||Bloomington Thunder/Chicago Steel (USHL)||59-2-17-19||7.39|
A sleek skating speedster, Mirageas was one of the deadline rental acquisitions that pushed the Steel to a USHL title.
Well known for his transition game, Mirageas has the passing and speed to be deadly on the breakout. Although he has made unforced errors in the defensive zone, he has been labelled a long-term project so perhaps he can iron out his flaws.
Mirageas is projected to go mid to late third round. If he falls to the Flames, it’s a pretty good steal. Headed to Providence College in the fall, he’ll see about three years of development, where he can work on getting bigger and refining his game.
|6’0″||194 lbs||R||Aug. 23, 1999||Victoria Royals/Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)||65-3-12-15||5.11|
As a second pairing guy for most of the year, Pachal found his offensive game in Prince Albert, jumping from three points in 35 games with Victoria to 12 in 30 with the Raiders. He’s been described as speedy and having a good transition game, as you’ll see in this clip:
— Jeff D'Andrea (@Jeff_paNOW) January 23, 2017
Although he doesn’t use it often, he has a pretty wicked shot:
Brayden Pachal snipes to make it 5-0 Raiders, they score we'll have after 40 minutes of play. Raiders lead in shots as well 36-17 pic.twitter.com/MhTUx1TSsl
— Jeff D'Andrea (@Jeff_paNOW) March 5, 2017
Pachal is one of the younger members of the draft class (and one of the most under the radar, so there’s very little written about him), so with some development time, he could definitely be a major force in the WHL by next season.
|6’4″||185 lbs||L||Jan. 14, 1999||Malmo Redhawks J20 (Superelit)||38-2-10-12||5.18|
The big Dane has been a surprising piece of the Malmo U20 team, finishing third in defensive scoring, and the second youngest of all regular defencemen on the team.
He’s been described as a very calm, very smart defensive player. Despite his hulking size, he’s known to be a quick footed and controlled skater. Although his offensive game is still quite limited (not featured on the Malmo powerplay) and his shot quite weak, he contributed mostly through smart break out passes and excellent play reading.
Setkov is likely a long-term project player, which makes him a smart choice in the later rounds. He still has a few pounds to add and could use some professional experience before he ever comes over to North America. But he’s definitely a smart pick to make in the sixth or seventh round. Perhaps one of the more underrated prospects in the draft.
Once again, here’s my projection of where these guys will likely be available
I feel the Flames are definitely going for a forward in round one, so they’re likely going to try and grab whatever defensive talent is left by the time they pick next. Fleury is certainly an interesting selection, and so is Lyle. They’re likely both familiar with them (Fleury is a WHLer, Lyle played with former Flames prospect Riley Bruce). Who knows what the team is looking at late in the draft, but they do have the opportunity to add some very underrated players, such as Christiansen (another prospect they are likely familiar with) and Gregoire.